William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
Lesson plans and other teaching resources
|For introductory, background and other resources, try Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Age. For links to other plays, try the Shakespeare Main Page.|
Julius Caesar E-Notes Lesson Plans
On this page, a quick summary of the play in tabloid style from the BBC. Follow links to learn how your students can produce something similar.
The Adder and the Ladder: Figurative Language as Persuasion in Julius Caesar
"Students will read, speak, and analyze Brutus's soliloquy of 2.1.10-36, where he uses figurative language to associate ambition (the "ladder") and poison (the "adder.") In doing so, they will gain a deeper understanding of Brutus as a character and, perhaps, a new sense of skepticism about persuasive language and oratory."
Cutting Antony's speeches: "I am meek and gentle with these butchers".
Students analyze Marc Antony's "scheming brilliance" in his speeches in the second half of Act III, scene i. Students will cut the speech in order to identify the main idea. Then they perform the speech chorally. Scroll down on the page to find links to handouts.
Students will focus on gathering support for and elaborating on ideas for an essay of definition on tyranny. This lesson is designed for use after reading the play.
Following the Blood
After reading Act III, scene i, "students will understand Mark Antony's mastery of manipulation by looking at how he manages stage direction and tableau, audience, and props in the assassination scene. ... [S]tudents will understand that though dialogue-driven, this powerful scene depends on a series of still images to achieve its full impact."
How to Move the Crowd: The Persuasive, Powerful Rhetoric of Mark Antony
This lesson will allow students an opportunity to do a close reading of the speeches of Brutus and Mark Antony in 3.2. They will identify the effects of the rhetorical appeals used and explore the variety of ways in which Antony might have delivered the speech.
Links to the play and a variety of resources related to both the Roman and Elizabethan eras.
Study guide questions for each act, two writing prompts.
Summary, theme openers, cross curricular activities, research assignments, with a theme of the breakdown of authority.
Extensive plot summary. Scroll down for themes, study questions, essay topics, more.
Act-by-act study guides, related links.
This music video offers an overview of the historical Caesar's life. It could serve as a good introduction to the unit or as a model for a student project.
Extensive post-reading activities.
Reading strategies, including an anticipation guide and a KWHL activity.
Translated by Dryden.
Pre-reading for Julius Caesar and Pre-reading, Day Two
Students will examine some of the issues of friendship and leadership that they will encounter in reading Julius Caesar. Through creating "friendship committees" to develop a class friendship constitution, they will begin to think about many of the issues they will read about in the play.
The Secret life of Minor Characters
Having students think about and flesh out the motivations of minor characters provides them with critical thinking and analytical skills that can be applied to other works of literature-not just Shakespeare.
Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: A Paraphrase
An act-by-act paraphrase of the play and a set of links related to both the play and the historical figure.
This strategy helps students deal with a soliloquy. Includes a handout; Adobe Reader or compatible application required for the handout.
Teacher's Guide to Julius Caesar
Overview, study questions, writing prompts, and more. Requires Adobe Reader or compatible application for access.
"Tear Him for his Bad Verses:" Cinna the poet and Shakespeare's Sonnets
This lesson asks students to examine what makes good poetry good. Students will analyze the language of some of Shakespeare's lesser-known sonnets (Cinna's "bad verses") through performance and decide whether or not to attack Cinna for them. The students will then perform the scene from Julius Caesar, incorporating their decision and discussing the effect that this decision has on the scene.
"Things that do presage"
This lesson will explore suggestive language and the use of symbols and foreshadowing in Shakespeare's plays.
The Tragedy of ?
This lesson allows students to examine the term "tragedy". It guides students to scrutinize each of the plays' characters and eventually leads them to discover what makes a character tragic.
Unlocking Soliloquies and Unleashing "the Dogs of War"
Students focus on Mark Antony's funeral soliloquy, talking through it to understand its patterns.
Vox Populi: Brutus's Speech and the Response of the Plebeians
This exercise will teach students to identify two rhetorical strategies (ethos and audience appeals) and to analyze their effects in Brutus's speech in 3.2. It will give students a chance to participate as members of Brutus's audience by assuming the roles of plebeians. Finally, it will give them a means of assessing the effects of this pivotal speech so they can determine how it contributes to the ultimate outcome of the play.
Writing about Irony
Following a brief discussion of irony, each student will display his/her understanding of this literary concept by identifying at least one example of each type of irony and discuss the role each example of irony plays in Julius Caesar.
Students use an online concordance to explore patterns of imagery.