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Julius Caesar Act II Study Guide

Vocabulary Words:


1. taper (n) a candle


2. spurn (v) to reject


3. base (adj) lowly, unrefined


4. augmented (adj) grown larger


5. insurrection (n) a rebellion


6. visage (n) face


7. affability (n) friendliness


8. redress (n) repayment or retaliation


9. constancy (n) faithfulness


10. imminent (adj) about to happen



1. What is the setting of Act II, Scene 1? (date, time, place)

Before dawn on March 15, Brutus’ orchard



2. What reasons does Brutus have for thinking that Caesar should be killed even though Caesar has not done anything wrong yet?

He could be like a serpent’s egg – don’t let it hatch or it will be deadly. He also says that with new power, Caesar may forget where he came from and abandon his old friends and values



3. What letter does Lucius bring to Brutus? What does it say?

It is the letter that Cassius wrote; it is very vague, but tells Brutus to stand up and right a wrong



4. How are Cassius and Brutus related?

Cassius is married to Brutus’ sister


5. Why is it suggested that Cicero not be asked to join the conspiracy?

He will want to be in charge

6. Why does Brutus say that the conspirators should not kill Antony? (2 reasons)

He is like Caesar’s limb – when they cut off the head, the limb is useless

Also, the conspirators need to restrain themselves so they do not look like murderers


7. Why does Portia suspect that something is wrong with Brutus?

He hasn’t been eating or sleeping, and when she asks what’s wrong, Brutus doesn’t say anything.


8. What reason does Brutus give Portia for his strange behavior?

He says that he’s been sick.


9. Portia tries to convince Brutus to tell her his secret. How does she try to convince him?

She stabs herself in the thigh. She says that if she could bear that pain, then she can keep a secret.


10. Who comes to see Brutus at the end of scene 1? Why does Brutus want to talk to him?

Caius Ligarius comes; Brutus wants to get him to join the conspiracy.


11. In scene 2, who else has had trouble sleeping? Why?

Caesar has; Calpurnia was crying out in her sleep



12. What does Calpurnia want to convince Caesar to do? What are her reasons?

She wants him to stay home. She says that the gods are sending signs through her dreams and through the storm that it is dangerous for Caesar to be out.


13. Who arrives at Caesar’s house? Why is he there?

Decius comes to convince Caesar to go to the capitol (through flattery)


14. What is Calpurnia’s dream? How does Decius interpret it?

She dreamt that Caesar’s statue spouted blood like a fountain. Decius says that it’s a sign that Caesar will provide lifeblood for Rome.


15. Identify an instance of dramatic irony at the end of scene 2.

Caesar talks to the conspirators like friends, but we know that they are about to kill him.

Decius flatters Caesar – we know that it was all a trick, but Caesar fell for it


16. In scene 3, what does Artemidorus’ letter say?

It warns Caesar about the conspirators


17. Whom does Portia meet in scene 4? What is he doing?

The Soothsayer; he is going to warn Caesar


18. What task does Portia give to Lucius at the end of Scene 4?

She tells him to check in on Brutus and see if he is well. She also wants him to report what people seem to be crowding around Caesar.


Identify who said each of the following quotes. Also make sure you know what the speaker is talking about.



“In the early stages of ambition, that humility is a ladder,

on which the climber mounts with his face turned upward.

Once he gets to the top rung, however,

He turns his back to the ladder.”

Brutus talking about why Caesar is dangerous


“O let us have him, because his silvery hair

will win us everyone’s good opinion

and buy men’s speeches to praise our deeds.”

A conspirator talking about Cicero and why he would be a good addition to the conspiracy


“Antony is only a limb of Caesar.”

Brutus saying why Antony should not be killed.

“We shall be called purgers, and not murderers.”

The same as above


“I have made strong proof of my constancy,

Giving myself a voluntary wound

Here in the thigh.”

Portia saying why she can be trusted

“I am not sick any longer if Brutus has

some action worthy of the name of honor.”

Ligarius saying that he will join the conspiracy


“What do you mean to do, Caesar? Are you thinking of going out?

I won’t allow you to stir from the house today.”



“Adjourn the Senate to another time

when Caesar’s wife has better dreams.”

Decius trying to appeal to Caesar’s pride


“Beware of Brutus; take heed of

Cassius; come not near Casca; have an eye to Cinna…”

Artemidorus reading his letter


“How weak a thing the heart of woman is!”


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