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SHAKE SPE ABE
The Droeshout Engraving Memorial Painting
The D'Avenant Bust
The Chandos Portrait The Stratford Bust
By WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
EDITED, WITH NOTES
EDWIN L. MILLER, A.M.
PRINCIPAL OF THE DETROIT NORTHWESTERN HIGH SCHOOL
EVA MAY KINNEY, A.B.
INSTRUCTOR IN ENGLISH, IBID
LYONS & CARNAHAN
CHICAGO N EW YORK
COPYEIGHT - 1915
LYONS & CASNAHAN
AUG 20 1915
I. Life and Works of William Shakespeare 7
II. Julius Caesar, History and Theme.
Date of Composition and Publication 9
Sources of the Play 9
Theme of the Play 10
III. The Characters of the Play 12
IV. The Psychology of Dramatization. 13
V. Julius Caesar on the High School Stage 15
VI. Suggestions for Acting a Type Scene (Act IV,
Scene 3) 16
Julius Caesar 23
Explanatory Notes and Comments 123
Questions on the Play . . . â€ž 139
The Life and Works op William Shakespeare
Authentic information concerning the life of
Shakespeare is decidedly meager; but perhaps we
voice the real significance of his life and dramatic
achievement if with DeQnincey we say that he lived
and that he died, and that he was a little lower
than the angels. It matters little when, where,
why, or by whom the plays were written; the all-
important fact for us is that the plays themselves
form a glorious portion of our literary heritage.
The greatest of dramatists was born at Strat-
ford-on-Avon, in the county of Warwick, England,
in 1564. His father, John Shakespeare, was a pros-
perous tradesman and a citizen of such consequence
that he finally secured the office of high bailiff or
mayor of Stratford in 1564. His mother, Mary
Arden, belonged to a good old Warwickshire fam-
ily. It was probable that Shakespeare was sent to
the free Grammar School at Stratford and there
received all the regular schooling he ever had.
Even in later life he never became a great scholar
or bookish man; he read men instead, and so be-
came a powerful interpreter of human character.
In 1582, when he was only eighteen, he married
Anne Hathaway, a woman eight years his senior.
It was very likely with a view to seeking his for-
tune that in 1586 he went to London, where he
began his career as an actor. In this profession he
won little fame; but he soon gained distinction as
a playwright. The financial prosperity which ac-
companied his literary successes enabled him to
purchase New Place, the largest house in Stratford,
for, in spite of the honors bestowed upon him in
London, he still regarded Stratford as his home.
In 1611, therefore, he settled down in his native
town to spend his declining, years in peaceful re-
tirement, and there he died, April 23, 1616.
Shakespeare's literary life may be divided into
four periods as follows:
I. The period of apprenticeship, before Shakes-
peare had reached his full power. In this
period belong King Henry VI, Parts I, II,
III; Titus Andronicus; Love's Labor Lost;
The Comedy of Errors ; The Two Gentlemen
of Verona; A Midsummer Night's Dream;
Romeo and Juliet ; Richard II ; Richard III ;
II. The period of great histories and sunny com-
edies. The Merchant of Venice ; The Tam-
ing of the Shrew; King Henry IV, Parts
I Â»and II ; King Henry V ; Twelfth Night ;
Much Ado About Nothing; Merry Wives of
Windsor; As You Like It; All's Well That
Ends Well; Troilus and Cressida; Measure
III. The period of the great tragedies. Julius
Caesar; Hamlet; Macbeth; King Lear;
Othello; Antony and Cleopatra; Timon of
IV. The period of romances. Cymbeline ; A Win-
ter's Tale; The Tempest; Pericles; King
I. Date of Composition and Publication.
Critics vary as to the date of composition, set-
ting it between 1599 and 1608. The period 1599
to 1601 is accepted by many as the probable time
of composition. The play was first published in
the Folio of 1623 (the first collection of Shakes-
peare's plays), where it occupied pages 109-130 in
the division of Tragedies.
II. Sources of the Play.
Shakespeare apparently drew most of his mate-
rial from Sir Thomas North's translation of Plu-
tarch's Lives, published in 1595 under the title, The
Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans. However,
although Shakespeare undoubtedly built up his
plot from incidents related in North's Plutarch, he
did not confine himself strictly to the types of char-
acter there presented. For instance, North's Plu-
tarch represents Caesar as a highly noble and ad-
mirable character, strikingly different from the
vain and arrogant Caesar of Shakespeare's trag-
edy. Nor did Shakespeare hesitate to suit time to
action, regardless of chronology. As a matter of
fact, three weeks intervened between the first en-
counter at Philippi and the death of Brutus. The
poet, however, for dramatic reasons, compressed
these incidents into the space of one day.
III. Theme of the Play.
"The triumph of Caesarism" might be called the
theme of the play, for, although Caesar the man is
overthrown and disappears from the play at the
beginning of the third act, still his spirit, more po-
tent after death, is the unseen presence that domi-
nates the action until the catastrophe. Championed
by the people of Rome, the spirit of imperialism
inevitably conquers the conspirators. Thus it is
that, although Brutus is the more attractive figure,
Caesar is the dominant force. The sympathies of
the ordinary reader are drawn to the character of
Brutus, and his interest is bound to follow closely
the conflict between Brutus ' love of country and his
personal regard for Caesar; his decision to sacri-
fice Caesar on the altar of patriotism ; and finally
his tragic death. But nevertheless, Caesar, whether
alive or dead, holds the real center of the stage and
is the triumphant force. Therefore the play is
rightly called Julius Caesar.
Time. The time of the opening of the play is 44 B. C. ;
Caesar 's assassination was on the Ides of March of that year.
The Characters op the Play
Brutus is morally sound but intellectually defi-
cient. He thinks, but does not think far or fast
enough. In spite of the purity of his motives and
his scholarly habits, in mental stature he is infe-
rior not only to Antony, Caesar, and Octavius, but
even to Cassius. At the beginning of the play, he
is the one piece of sound old-fashioned Roman man-
hood unsubmerged by the rising flood of degen-
eracy that has overflowed the republic; at the end
the deluge is complete. The pathos of his situa-
tion is overwhelming, because he stands so utterly
Like Hamlet, he is in a situation that is out of
joint. He tries to set it right but cannot. His
well-meant but ill-judged efforts, like those of nu-
merous modern reformers, result only in making
bad worse. He can act effectively with Cassius no
more than fire can mix with water. The unnatural
alliance ruins both. Their efforts to reform the
Roman state remind one of a clergyman and a high-
wayman combining to mend a watch. Their plot
results only in substituting for. Julius Caesar the
less noble Antony and the less experienced Augus-
tus, and in plunging the nation into civil war. It
does not alter the final result. As D 'Israeli says,
assassination has never changed the course of his-
Shakespeare's Caesar is not the great man of
history. It was not the dramatist's place or pur-
pose to represent him as he was, but as he appeared
to his enemies. To them he seems peevish, arro-
gant, weak. In reality he is the manifestation of
an irresistible tendency that has its roots deep in
The Psychology of Dramatization
The keen observer of children, especially in their
unhampered play-life, must come to the conclu-
sion that no game is more entrancing and absorb-
ing than the game of "pretend." The greatest
interpreters of child life have always taken this
truth into account in their portrayals of children.
Frances Hodgson Burnett, for example, has given
us the appealing and natural characterization of
Sara Crewe, a little London waif, who, in spite of
the abuse and insults heaped upon her by the un-
feeling Misses Minchin, and in spite of the dis-
comfort and dreariness of her lonely garret, went
on "pretending" to the end of the story. The
following quotation is illustrative :
"One of her chief entertainments was to sit in
her garret, or walk about it, and 'suppose' things.
On a cold night, when she had not had enough to
eat, she would draw the red footstool up before the
empty grate, and say in the most intense voice :
" 'Suppose there was a great, wide steel grate
here, and a great glowing fire â€” a glowing fire â€”
with beds of red-hot coal and lots of dancing, flick-
ering flames. Suppose there was a soft, deep rug,
and this was a comfortable chair, all cushions and
crimson velvet : and suppose I had a crimson velvet
frock on, and a deep lace collar, like a child in a
picture ; and suppose all the rest of the room was
furnished in lovely colors, and there were book-
shelves full of books, which changed by magic as
soon as you had read them ; and suppose there was
a little table here, with a snow-white cover on it,
and little silver dishes, and in one there was hot,
hot soup, and in another a roast chicken, and in
another some raspberry- jam tarts with criss-cross
on them, and in another some grapes ; and suppose
Emily [her doll] could speak, and we could sit and
eat our supper, and then talk and read; and then
suppose there was a soft, warm bed in the corner,
and when we were tired we could go to sleep, and
sleep as long as we liked.' "
The poet Robert Louis Stevenson recognizes also
the part that imagination plays in child life. In
his delightful little volume, A Child's Garden of
Verses, we find one entitled ' ' Pirate Story " : â€”
"Three of us afloat in the meadow by the swing, *
Three of us aboard in the basket on the lea.
Winds are in the air, they are blowing in the spring,
'And waves are on the meadow like the waves there are
"Where shall we adventure, today that we're afloat,
Wary of the weather and steering by a star?
Shall it be to Africa, a-steering of the boat,
To Providence, or Babylon, or off to Malabar?
Hi ! but here 's a squadron a-rowing on the sea â€”
Cattle on the meadow a-charging with a roar!
Quick, and we '11 escape them, they 're as mad as they can be,
The wicket is the harbour and the garden is the shore."
This innate love of the dramatic is an element in
the child's nature which must be recognized and
In his school life, too, the pupil craves the oppor-
tunity to "play a part." Personal experience has
proved that there is no class exercise in English
which makes a wider appeal to the students ' inter-
est than the presentation of some dramatic sketch.
Aside from the fact that dramatic work gratifies
the student's natural desire to act a part, it is fur-
ther justified for the reason that such perform-
ances afford the finest sort of training in public
speaking, the primary objects of which are to de-
velop self-control, natural grace, and effectiveness
in speech. Therefore dramatic work in the class-
room is both psychological and pedagogical.
Julius Caesar on the High School Stage
This play is admirably adapted to high school
production. In the first place, its diction is remark-
ably clear and simple, there being fewer textual
obscurities than in any other Shakespearian play.
For classes or larger groups of boys it is especially
adaptable. The introduction of the Roman mob
and the contending martial forces affords an oppor-
tunity for many boys to take an active part; the
play is full of real action as well as mental con-
flict, and the high school boy delights in action;
and, finally, every act provides a magnificent strug-
gle of one sort or another, and what is more inter-
esting to a boy than to watch a contest, except to
participate in one? What a variety of conflicts
this play presents! Act I stages the struggle be-
tween plebeians and patricians; Caesar's struggle
with personal ambition; Cassius striving to win
Brutus. In Act II we find a series of mental
combats: Brutus' patriotism struggling with his
love for Caesar; Brutus' conflict with Portia;
Caesar's conflict with Calpurnia; Caesar's contest
with Decius; Portia's struggle with her own fears.
Act III first shows Caesar in conflict with the con-
spirators; then Antony matching his oratory
against that of Brutus, and his wit against the
ignorance of the mob. Act IV shows Antony in
conflict with Octavius, and Cassius and Brutus
engaged in a bitter quarrel. Act V brings the
fortunes of the opposing parties to a final test in
the battles which result in the defeat of Brutus,
and his suicide.
Suggestions for Acting a Type Scene
AcflV, Scene 3
This scene is admirable for class work and rich
in the variety of incidents and emotions. It may
be made vividly impressive if careful attention is
paid to the following points: the varied intona-
tions of voice and angry gestures accompanying the
quarrel; Cassius baring his breast for Brutus to
strike ; the touching reconcilation ; the interrup-
tion of the poet ; the revelation of Portia 's death ;
the entrance of Lucius with wine and taper; the
suppressed emotion during the conference with
Messala; the fine feeling of fraternity shown in
the good-night scene ; the entrance of Lucius with
the gown; Lucius falling asleep over his instru-
ment ; Brutus, weary and disheartened, turning to
his book for respite from his bitter and sorrowful
thoughts; the waning candle light; and the terri-
fying ghost of the dead Caesar uttering its mourn-
I. Study the Scene
After the teacher has assigned the parts accord-
ing to his best judgment and before there is any
attempt to act it, there should be a detailed and
intensive study of the scene. The pupils will be
glad to interpret the scene in this way if they know
that such analysis is the stepping-stone to dramatic
The notes, comments, and questions in this edi-
tion have been selected and formulated with the
prime purpose of bringing out the dramatic values
of the incidents and guiding the student to a truth-
ful estimate of the characters. Therefore a careful
study of notes and questions is the first step pre-
paratory to acting the scene, for no one can success-
fully portray an incident or character which he
does not understand.
II. Speak Deliberately
Rapid reading has two ill effects : it gives the
impression that your understanding of the passage
is shallow and superficial; it results in a number
of stumblings and errors in enunciation that utterly
destroy the phonetic beauty of the poetry. On the
other hand, the reader should not dwell unduly on
every word, but rather he should study the effect
of judicious pausing. Having mastered the mean-
ing, he will know instinctively where and how long
to pause. Refer to the note on Act II, Scene 1,
line 184, for the value of one particular pause.
Study the following line (157) from our type
scene : â€”
Brutus. Speak no more of heiv â€” Give me a bowl of wine.
The failure to pause after the first statement in
this line would represent Brutus as an utterly
heartless husband, even ready, it would seem, to
drink in celebration of Portia's death. On the
other hand, a skillful pause at the point in question
would represent Brutus in a heartbreaking strug-
gle with a sorrow too deep and harrowing to be
flaunted in public.
Study your part, then, with the special purpose
of finding significant pauses.
Class Exercise. Let several students read aloud
in turn the speech of Cassius (92-106), each trying
to express the spirit of the lines by observing cer-
tain pauses, and reading with proper emphasis and
deliberation. The rest of the class may act as
critics and decide which reading is most effective.
III. Speak Distinctly
In order to convey the message of the lines to
the audience you must attend carefully to the clear
enunciation of words. Each syllable must be given
its separate value, and especial care should be
taken to voice the terminating syllables. Be sure
to speak the final words in a sentence as clearly
as any of the others.
Class Exercise. Let several members of the class
read in turn Brutus' speech (18-28) with the con-
scious effort to enunciate clearly, separating the
words carefully and bringing out clearly the final
words in each thought-division. Endeavor to con-
vey ideas to your listeners by a natural moderate
tone and distinct enunciation rather than by a loud
voice. As before, let the class criticise the reading.
IV. Observe the Dramatic Value of Climax
Shakespeare knew well that, without climax,
sentences, speeches, scenes, acts, or plays would
lack dramatic power. Therefore in order to render
his lines well you must observe the fine climaxes
he provides. Having noted the point of climax in
a speech, the student should read it in a way
that will indicate the gradual rise in feeling or
Class Exercise. Let several students read
Brutus' speech (65-82) to see which can best
express the climax by a gradually increasing
earnestness of tone.
V. Read with Expression
It is said that when Sarah Bernhardt, the great
French actress, was to undertake a new role, she
lived in the part for days, weeks, and months be-
fore she acted it. Like little Sara Crewe, she kept
on "pretending" and assuming the new person-
ality until it was second nature to act it realis-
tically. In acting a part, assume to be the character
you represent. In order to express an emotion you
must try to feel the emotion. Instead of wonder-
ing how you look on the stage, how your voice
sounds, or how you are to manage your hands and
feet, forget yourself as completely as possible and
devote every energy, physical and mental, to the
purpose of picturing to your audience the charac-
ter you represent.
The best guide to a vivid portrayal of character
or incident is to see mentally what is taking place.
For example, if the boy reading Brutus ' speech
(151-155) pictures to himself the impatient loneli-
ness and grief of Portia, and the final distraction
resulting in her tragic death, will he not express
more feelingly the repressed sorrow of Brutus ?
Cultivate this power to visualize what you are
reading and not only will you express the charac-
ter and action with finer and deeper feeling, but
the proper gestures and facial expressions will
suggest themselves, and natural grace will, with-
out conscious effort on your part, take the place
of mechanical or awkward gestures. Therefore see
vividly yourself whatever you wish your audience
If the class studies any scene by the five methods
here outlined for Act IV, Scene 3, they will
undoubtedly grasp the dramatic values of the
speeches and be thoroughly prepared to render
them on the high school stage with intelligence
and spirit. The amount of analysis necessary must
depend, of course, upon the mental calibre of the
Finally, let all youthful actors remember Ham-
let 's sage advice to players : â€”
Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you,
trippingly on the tongue: but if you mouth it, as many of
your players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines.
Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but
use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I
may say, whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget
a temperance that may give it smoothness. O, it offends
me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow
tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of
the groundlings, who for the most part are capable of
nothing but inexplicable dumb-shows and noise: I would
have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant; it
out-herods Herod; pray you, avoid it.
Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion be
your tutor: suit the action to the word, the word to the
action; with the special observance, that you o'erstep not
the modesty of nature: for anything so overdone is from
the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and
now, was and is, to hold, as 't were, the mirror up to nature ;
to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and
the very age and body of the time his form and pressure.
triumvirs after the death of Julius Caesar.
>-consoirators against Julius Caesar.
M. iE.MILIUS Lepidus,
Flavius and Marullus., tribunes.
Artemidorus of Cnidos, a teacher of rhetoric
Cinna, a poet. Another poet.
LUC I US;
Pindarus, servant to Cassius
friends to Brutus and Cassius.
^-servants .to Brutus.
Calpurnia, wife to Caesar.
Portia, wife to Brutus.
Senators, Citizens, Guards, Attendants, &c.
Scene : Rome ; the neighborhood of Sardis ; the neighborhood of
THE TRAGEDY OF JULIUS CAESAR
Scene I. Rome. A street.
Enter Flavius, Marullus, and certain
Flav. Hence ! home, you idle creatures, get you
Is this a holiday ? what ! know you not,
Being mechanical, you ought not walk
Upon a laboring day without the sign
Of your profession? Speak, what trade art thou? 6
First Com. Why, sir, a carpenter.
Mar. Where is thy leather apron and thy rule ?
What dost thou with thy best apparel on ?
You, sir, what trade are you ?
Sec. Com. Truly, sir, in respect of a fine work-
I am but, as you would say, a cobbler.
Mar. But what trade art thou? answer me
Sec. Com. A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may use
with a safe conscience; which is indeed, sir, a
mender of bad soles. 15
Mar. What trade, thou knave? thou naughty
knave, what trade ?
24 JULIUS CAESAE [Act I
Sec. Com. Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out
with me : yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you.
20 Mar. What mean'st thou by that? mend me,
thou saucy fellow !
Sec. Com. Why, sir, cobble you.
Flav. Thou art a cobbler, art thou?
Sec. Com. Truly, sir, all that I live by is with
25 the awl : I meddle with no tradesman 's matters,
nor women's matters, but with awl. I am indeed,
sir, a surgeon to old shoes ; when they are in great
danger, I re-cover them. As proper men as ever
trod upon neat's leather have gone upon my handi-
Flav. But wherefore art not in thy shop to-day ?
Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?
Sec. Com. Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes,
to get myself into more work. But, indeed, sir, we
35 make holiday, to see Caesar and to rejoice in his
Mar. Wherefore rejoice ? What conquest brings
What tributaries follow him to Rome,
To grace in captive bonds his chariot-wheels ?
40 You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless
you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,
Knew you not Pompey ? Many a time and oft
Have you climb 'd up to walls and battlements,
To towers and windows, yea, to chimney-tops,
45 Your infants in your arms, and there have sat
The live-long day with patient expectation
To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome :
Scene I] JULIUS CAESAK 25
And when you saw his chariot but appear,
Have you not made an universal shout,
That Tiber trembled underneath her banks 50
To hear the replication of your sounds
Made in her concave shores?
And do you now put on your best attire ?
And do you now cull out a holiday ?