Explanatory Notes for Act 3, Scene 3
From Julius Caesar. Ed. Samuel Thurber. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
This scene, which shows us the rage of the mob in its lawless violence, evidently follows directly after Antony has left the citizens to run their riot of burning and killing.
1. to-night: last night, -- as in II, 2, 76, where Caesar said that Calpurnia "dreamt to-night she saw my statue."
2. things unlucky charge my fantasy: things of bad omen
weigh on my imagination.
3. forth of doors: out of doors.
9. directly: clearly, explicitly. Do you remember where Marullus said to one of this same group of Roman citizens, "Answer me directly"?
18. you'll bear me a bang for that. That is, you'll get a whack from me for saying that.
27. Cinna. The conspirator was Cornelius Cinna; this is Helvius Cinna.
34. turn him going: let him go.
How to cite the explanatory notes and scene questions:
Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar. Ed. Samuel Thurber. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1919. Shakespeare Online. 26 Feb. 2013. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/julius_3_3.html >.
Scene Questions for Review
1. Is this scene necessary to the development of the plot? Would you omit it on the stage today?
2. Explain how this scene might be made the conclusion of Scene 2.
3. What is there rather grim and even a bit humorous in this short scene?
4. Can you see how this scene may serve as a means of "comic relief" in the unbroken course of tragedy? (Compare this with the famous Porter's Scene in "Macbeth.")
Plutarch's Julius Caesar... "There was one of Caesar's friends called Cinna, that
had a marvellous strange and terrible dream the night before.
He dreamed that Caesar bad him to supper, and that he refused
and would not go: then that Caesar took him by the hand, and
led him against his will. Now Cinna, hearing at that time that
they burnt Caesar's body in the market-place, notwithstanding
that he feared his dream, and had an ague on him besides, he
went into the market-place to honour his funerals. When he
came thither, one of the mean sort asked him what his name
was? He was straight called by his name. The first man told it
to another, and that other unto another, so that it ran
straight through them all, that he was one of them that
murthered Caesar: (for indeed one of the traitors to Cæsar was
also called Cinna as himself) wherefore taking him for Cinna
the murtherer, they fell upon him with such fury that they
presently dispatched him in the market-place." -- Plutarch.