Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene 1: A lesson is dramatic effectiveness

Act 2 scene 1 of Julius Caesar, from lines 1-69, is terribly important as it marks a turning point in the play. The two characters appearing are Brutus and his servant, Lucius. Brutus, having had the notion of murdering Caesar planted in his mind by Cassius, ponders and explores the idea here and, through self-applied rhetoric combined with the effect of Cassius' scrolls praising his nobility, Brutus decides to take action and kill Caesar.

The passage is extremely effective in dramatic terms: although Brutus is alone for much of the scene, with great potential for ensuing dullness and boredom, Shakespeare maintains the drama throughout and sustains audience interest through a variety of means. The line, 'I cannot, by the progress of the stars, give guess how near to day', provides a reminder of the storm and odd happenings of the night, which signify both the political turmoil of Rome and the inner turmoil of Brutus; whether or not public interest is more important than private friendship. The storm itself, at the discretion of the director, would no doubt be created using theatre lighting and sound, adding to the excitement and creating tension.

Brutus orders his servant Lucius to fetch a torch, and then begins...

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