NCERT Class X- Julius Caesar — para by para explanation

December 16, 2014 at 10:33 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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Julius Caesar 

 1a. Difference between ‘killing’,‘murder’ and ‘assassination’.

Killing …It means an act of causing death, especially deliberately.
a. The killing of large number of cows became necessary after Mad Cow Disease spread in the area.
b. Killing of Maoists will not be very effective to curb their menace. Some innovative political approach would perhaps be more fruitful.
Murder .. It means the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.
a. The murder of the lonely couple caused heightened anxiety in the entire hill town.
b. Rigging an election is nothing but murder of democracy.
Assassination …It means the murder of an important person for political or religious reasons.
a. The assassination of President Kennedy had plunged the entire America in grief.
b. The ring of armed guards could not prevent the assassination of the prime minister.

2. List of assassinated leaders..
Rajiv Gandhi, Benajeer Bhuto, Benigno Aquino of Philippines

3. Why they were assassinated ..
Rajiv Gandhi .. He was shot in point blank range by a LTTE supporter. It was an act of revenge by the Sri Lanka-based insurgency organization for India’s armed intervention against it.
Benajeer Bhutto. .. She was assassinated by un-known groups. Taliban was suspected to be involved in the act because she had taken firm stand against it.
Benigno Aquino …
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Introductory note…
Julius Caesar (100BC – 44BC)

Caesar was a politician and general of the late Roman republic, who, through his daring conquests, extended the borders of the Roman Empire greatly. His meteoritic rise and the public adulation helped him to seize power and make himself dictator of Rome. This paved the way for the imperial system.

Julius Caesar was born in Rome on 12 or 13 July 100 BC into the prestigious Julian clan. His family had close connections with the Marian faction in Roman politics. Caesar himself progressed within the Roman political system, becoming in succession quaestor (69 BC), aedile (65 BC) and praetor (62BC). In 61-60 BC he was appointed governor of the Roman province of Spain. After a triumphant return to Rome in 60 BC, Caesar made a pact with Pompey and Crassus, who helped him to get elected as consul for 59 BC. The following year he was given the assignment of governor of Roman Gaul. He discharged this responsibility for eight years, annexing the whole of modern France and Belgium to the Roman empire. This effectively preempted Gallic invasions against Rome, thus, ensuring safety for its citizens. He made two expeditions to Britain, in 55 BC and 54 BC.
Caesar then returned to Italy without the consent of the senate. In a show of defiance and hubris, he crossed the Rubicon river without disbanding his army. His defiance brought him in direct conflict with the republican forces. Caesar defeated them. Pompey, their leader, fled to Egypt where he was assassinated. Caesar followed him to Egypt where he met the queen Cleopatra. He fell in love with her.
Caesar was now the supreme ruler of Rome, the master of its destiny. He became the dictator. This gave him the opportunity to show his noble vision and administrative skills in peacetime. He leveraged his power to carry out much-needed reforms. The poor were given respite from chronic indebtness. The senate was enlarged to make it more representative. The calendar was revised.
Dictatorship was always regarded a temporary position for Julius Caesar. But in 44 BC, Caesar took it for life. This caused much disquiet to the people around him. His success and ambition alarmed the republican senators. A group of these, led by Cassius and Brutus, assassinated Caesar on the Ides (15 BC) of March 44 BC.
Cesar’s demise triggered the final round of civil wars that ended the Republic and brought about the elevation of Caesar’s great nephew and designated heir, Octavian, as Augustus, the first emperor.
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Explanation of text [Act II, Scene II]

1. Julius Caesar has got up a bit late. He paces up and down the palace verandah in his night gown immersed in some very disturbing thought. His wife Calipurnia had cried out in her sleep, ‘Help, ho! They murder Caesar’. Caesar knew it portended something awful.

2. Caesar summons a servant and asks him to rush to a soothsayer, and ask him to do a sacrifice to make some good omen appear. The bad omen tormenting Calipurnia had to be dispelled.

3. Calphurnia has left her bed. With the dreadful dreams still lingering in her mind, she beseeches her husband not to venture out of the palace that day. She appears unusually firm in her demand. The boastful Caesar declines to heed her request. In his usual air of defiance and hubris, he says that danger can’t look him in the eyes.

4. Calphurnia is insistent. She wants to keep her husband out of harm’s way – at any cost. She’s not a superstitious lady, but she’s seen some very ghastly dreams. She saw lions walking around, the dead rising from their graves, and warriors in the sky, and the Capitol drenched in blood. Angst sweeps her mind.

5. Caesar wants to have his ways. He reasons with her distressed wife saying what is ordained by God must happen. Here he delivers the famous line, “Cowards die many times before their deaths; the Valiant never taste of death, but once.” He sees it to be quite unbecoming for a valiant warrior like him to fear death, since death spares no one born in this world.

6. News of the soothsayer’s efforts to make some good omen to appear has gone awry. The beast that was killed for the sacrifice had no heart! Caesar, in his obsessively proud and confident manner discounts the incident as something irrelevant. He concludes that he would have no heart (or courage) if he stayed home that day. It is a wishful distortion by Caesar that feeds his ego. He then claims he’s more dangerous than danger itself.

7. Calphurnia is the least convinced. She pleads with Caesar to stay home. For those who cared to know the reason behind his absence, he could take the alibi that he stayed home not out of his own volition, but at his wife’s behest. She goes down on her knees to make her husband accede to her request. He doesn’t agree until she’s gotten down on her knees. He decides to humor her and says that his friend Antony will say that Ceaser is ill.

8. It is morning. As planned earlier, Decius turns up to escort Caesar to the Capitol. Calphurnia asks Decius to tell the Senate that Caesar is sick. Decius has ulterior motives. He tries to deceive her by saying that Caesar had conquered nations and can not be worried about some old insignificant senators knowing why he had to stay back in the palace.

9. Caesar tells Decius to just tell the Senate he won’t come. This much should suffice. He does not owe anyone any explanation as to why he has not come. In a huge blunder, Caesar wants to confide in the devil Decius, whose true motive is still under wraps. Caesar is unsuspecting of Decius and loves him. Caesar decides to tell Decius why he is not going.

10. He tells Decius that Calphurnia had an awful dream in which Caesar’s statue spewed blood from a hundred spouts, like a fountain. Rejoicing Romans washed their hand in the blood with great glee.

11. Decius is a master manipulator. He knows he has to take Cesar to the Capitol so that the plot to kill him can come to fruition. Quite deftly, he starts his attempt misinterpret the dream. He says surely Caesar had blood spilled all over his loyal applauding Romans. Decius claims the dream means Rome will be resurrected by Caesar’s blood, and everybody will want a little token of that wonderful sacrificial act. Decius engages in double-talk here. What he really has in mind is that Rome will be saved with the demise of Caesar, but twists his words to give it a positive spin.

12. Decius proceeds to use his master stroke. He says that the adoring Senate is planning to crown Caesar the King. Cesar must seize the moment and go and be crowned. A delay now might make the Senate change its minds. Heeding his wife’s dreams would be cowardly, reasoned Caesar. He did not want to diminish his stature as the invincible hero. Quite innocently, the crooked Decius avers that he does not want his beloved friend to be subject to any ridicule by not showing up.

13. In a move that would cost Caesar his life, he fails to see through Decius’s platitudes and wicked mis-representation of Calipurnia’s dreams. He ignores the fervent appeals of his dear wife and steps forward to the Capitol. It was a fatal error which was a consequence of Caesar’s vain pride and self-confidence.

 14. It’s 8 in the morning. All other conspirators have gathered, each trying to pretend that it is business as usual.

15. Caesar is all grace as he always is while in the midst of Senators. He offers them a welcome drink. Brutus reflects on the fact that Caesar is hosting his assassins. The thought disturbs him.

16. Artemidorius, a soothsayer, reads aloud to himself a note of caution for Caesar. In the note, he lists all the would be perpetrators who are out to fell him. He warns Caesar to shun them, and gives a detail account of their plot. Artemidorius plans to pass this note to Caesar as he walks to the Capitol. He hopes Caesar will read it and will save himself. It was an move to preempt the assassination.

17. Portia, Brutus’s wife, is disoriented and confused. She tells her servant Lucius to make a dash to the Capitol. She is delirious as she shouts at her servant for not having left, although she is yet to brief him.

18. Portia is worried and confused. She can’t decide what Lucius has to do when he reaches there. Brutus appeared unwell and lost when he left for the Senate that morning. She wants Lucius to be at her husband’s side. She instructs Lucius to keep an eye on Caesar and the people standing by his side. Though not privy to the murder plan, she senses something dreadful is going to happen.

19. Acutely apprehensive of a catastrophe about to happen, Portia hears imaginary sounds in her imagination. Lucius claims he heard nothing.

20. A soothsayer arrives at Brutus’s house to tell Portia that Caesar hasn’t come to the Capitol yet. The soothsayer hopes to accost him on the way so that he pass on the warning note to him.

21. This only worsens Portia’s fearful thoughts. She wants to know if some plot is being hatched to imperil Caesar. The soothsayer feigns ignorance, but says some earthshaking event is going to happen.

22. The soothsayer sets out with the hope to get a vantage point along the way where he can approach Caesar elbowing his way through the crowd.

23. Portia’s nerves are frayed at the turn of events. She prays to ensure that Brutus emerge from the turmoil unharmed. She terms the plot an ‘enterprise’. Lucius happened to be within a earshot of Portia when the latter made this prayer. This makes her worry if her servant overheard this. She makes a silly attempt to cover it up. She says that the ‘enterprise’ pertains to a small request her husband had made to Caesar, which, in any case, is not going to be granted. She undoubtedly is in the know of the deadly plot, but she holds the secret close to her chest.

24. Portia tries to regain her composure. She asks Lucius to tell Brutus that she is “merry”. She wants her servant to bring back news of Brutus. She is actually very perturbed and apprehensive.

25. The crowd of the scheming senators and a few onlookers surround Julius Caesar just in the perimeter of the Capitol. Decius, one of the masterminds of the plot, proffers a “suit” or a request from Trebonius to Caesar.

26. Artemidorius, the soothsayer with the message, gets to meet Caesar, and urges him to read his ‘suit’ (letter) first, as it is very important to his adored leader Caesar. Caesar, good-naturedly, avers that Rome’s affairs are more important to him than his own. He says he will read the note later.   the picture of humility, says that, because he puts the affairs of Rome before his own, he’ll read Artemidorius’s suit last. Artemidorius presses him unsuccessfully, as Caesar dismisses him saying “What, is the fellow mad?

28. Caesar is oblivious of the fact that he has committed a fatal error of judgment. He is ushered in to the Capitol by Cassius. Cassius advises Caesar not to waste time in meeting the commoners in the streets of Rome, but hurry to the Capitol.

As Caesar enters the Capitol, Senator Popilius wishes Cassius good luck in “today’s enterprise.” It is a cynical and wicked statement.

  29. Popilius, apparently aware of the plot, is busy in small talk with Caesar. Brutus, remains cool and composed despite the knowledge of the imminent calamity. He tries to instill a feeling of normalcy in those who appeared to be a bit edgy. Popilius exchanges smiles with Caesar. Obviously, even a whiff of the murder plot has not reached his mind.

30. Meanwhile, Trebonius does his part. He tries to make Caesar walk into the trap. The plot is proceeding as planned. Metellus will soon cozy up to Caesar, pretending to make a request. The wolve-senators would soon pounce upon Caesar from vantage positions. Cinna says Casca will strike first.

31. Metellus approaches Caesar bending forward reverentially. Caesar disapproves of such show of subservience. Referring to himself in third person, Caesar says lesser men may get flattered by extreme loyalty, but he has no place for such docile behavior in his mind. Caesar turns down Metellus’s request for revocatrion of the banishment order on his son. Giving vent to his exaggerated sense of pride and vanity, Caesar chides those who stoop to get their requests granted. He says such conduct is demeaning and akin to those of beggars. Such statements do not go down well with the audience. Caesar’s boasts jar their minds.

32. As Metellus makes his appeal for his brother Publius, Brutus steps forward to kiss Caesar’s hands. The bemused Caesar frown upon such display of loyalty and reverence from his dear friend. At this point, Cassius falls to Caesar’s feet.

33. Caesar has the conspirators surrounding him in deferential manner in order not to arouse his doubt. Intoxicated with the adulation showered on him, Caesar further jades everyone saying he won’t change the law to accommodate Publius. In a statement that reveals his vainglorious mood, Caesar declares himself to be “as constant as the northern star.” Caesar wants to make a point here about his stubborn adherence to his principles and decisions, his invincibility and indestructibility. He wants to drive home the point that he is not going to accede to any request even if it is made by a close friend.

34. The conspirators keep trying to prevail upon Caesar to accept their request, but Caesar asks them to move away. He says their protestations are of no avail. It is like trying to lift Olympus, the mountain of the gods.

35. Caesar is shocked when Brutus decides to kneel. Suddenly Casca impels his dagger into Caesar. Brutus is quick to stab him too.

 36. Caesar utters the last words of his life. In a tone chocked with anguish and surprise, he moans, “Et tu, Brute? [You too, Brutus?] – Then fall, Caesar!” Brutus dagger caused Caesar much more pain than that of all others. After all, Brutus was Cesar’s wise and most trustworthy friend. Brutus’s knife breaks Cesar’s mind more than it breaks his body. Resigned to being betrayed by Brutus decides to give up. He decides to fall.  Quite ironically, this momentous moment comes close on the heels of the Cesar’s defiant speech, ‘I am the North Star…..!”

 37. Soon after Caesar falls in a pool of blood, Cinna declares triumphantly, “Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead!” and tells everybody to spread the ‘liberating’ news among the masses.

38. Brutus senses the mood of shock and revulsion in the minds of the people who witnessed the ghastly act. He asks them to reconcile to Caesar’s demise with circumspection and equanimity. “Ambition’s debt is paid,” Brutus wants his fellow citizens to believe. He wants them to understand that Caesar’s unbridled ambition brought about his downfall. eaning Caesar’s death is the cost and consequence of Caesar’s ambition.

39. Casca signals Brutus and Cassius to step on the pulpit apparently to clear the air about Cesar’s assassination so as to preempt any confusion and violent backlash. Brutus could mollify the crowd with a formal address. At this point, Brutus notices he can’t find Publius. Cinna points out that Publius is still struck by the gruesome murder. He is on an edge trying to fathom the repercussions of the mutinous senators’ act. Metellus urges the conspirators to close their ranks and brace for a possible confrontation with the angry Caesar loyalists standing near the Capitol.

 40. Brutus then sternly urges everyone to remain calm and reflect. He wants to cool the nerves of the tense crowd there. Sensing a violent storm gathering, he wants to make everyone reconcile to whatever has happened. The realization has dawned in Brutus that the expected applaud might soon turn to anger and retribution. 

 41. Trebonius enters to break the dreadful news. Antony has fled to the safety of his house. There are angry crowds in the streets. Clearly, Caesar’s murder has roiled them. A sense of gloom and doom has gripped the people. They are crying out for vengeance.

 42. Brutus lapses into a retrospective mood. He says death is inevitable for all. The journey to the grave starts the day one is born. Life is the time one needs to spend between birth and death.  Brutus knows the crowd will soon turn on the masterminds of the conspirators and he will meet his death.

 43. Quite intriguingly, Brutus calls upon the perpetrators to smear their hands up to their elbows in Caesar’s blood and to drench their swords with it, so they can walk out into the streets and the marketplace boldly declaring the ushering in of peace, freedom, and liberty in the land. This is so disturbingly akin to Calphurnia’s dream.

 44. Cassius professes that history will treat this assassination kindly, and even hail it as a noble one. He suggests that Brutus should lead the debriefing mission to the streets to explain to the agitated crowd why they did such an act.   

45. Just then, Antony’s servant enters, disrupting the proceedings.

 46. Antony is distraught. He has sent his servant as emissary to convey his deep regard to Brutus for his wisdom, valour, honesty and foresight. The servant tells Antony that his master adores Caesar as much as he adores Brutus. Antony implores Brutus to tell him if it is safe enough to venture out. He wants to hear, first hand, how Brutus justifies the assassination.   he can get some assurance that it’s safe to come around for a visit sometime and hear the story of why Brutus thought it was OK to kill their leader. Regardless, he’ll be faithful to Brutus from now on.

 47. Brutus assures Antony’s servant that he sees no danger for his master to come to the Capitol. Brutus is elated because he will soon be among his friends in this hour of crisis.

 48. Misgivings about Antony still plague Cassius’s mind. Being the chief architect of the plot, he is distrustful  of everyone around him. Antony, too, attracts Cassius’s suspicion.

49. Antony comes to the spot where Caesar’s body lies. He is devastated almost to the point of being delirious. He breaks down and tears roll down his eyes.  In a voice shaking with rage, he says the murderous conspirators could soon target others.

50. With a gush of hurtful sentiments overpowering him, Antony pleads with the conspirators to fell him right there if they want him annihilated. He avers dying with the sword still dripping with Caesar’s blood would be the most honourable death ever.

51. Brutus starts to mollify Antony. He wants to douse the rage in his friend’s mind. He says that, the conspirators’ hands are bloody, but their hearts are filled with remorse and pity. After all, someone had to eliminate Caesar to save Rome’s republican character. The assassination is vile, but the intentions are noble. There was no way to protect Rome from dictatorial rule except by getting rid of the dictator. Brutus assures Antony that the public would laud the assassins.

52. Brutus promises to waste any more time to explain the compulsions behind the murder. Right now, though, they’ve got to venture out and confront the enraged public with cold logic. The public’s wrath against those with Caesar’s blood in their hands must be countered with dispassionate reasoning.

53. Antony, out of deep regard for Brutus’s character and wisdom, begins to feel that there was indeed some compelling reason to kill Caesar. Antony shakes the bloody hands of the conspirators all around. He then looks on Caesar’s corpse and begins a long-winded speech eulogizing Caesar. He repentantly admits that by siding with the conspirators, he has betrayed his idol, Caesar.

54. Cassius senses danger here. He is very upset with Antony taking the high moral ground on the issue. He interrupts this dramatic public speech of Antony and asks him if he shares or opposes their stand.

55. Antony’s mind is caught in a dilemma. He says he sides with the  conspirators. In the next moment, he takes a pitiful look at Caesar’s dead body lying so miserably on the ground. His mind wavers. He feels the murder of Caesar does not stand moral scrutiny. Annihilating a leader who had done so much for Rome can only be the handiwork of people who are mean. He steps back from endorsing the assassination. Still, Antony feels he can support the assassination if the perpetrators can come up with sound reasons for it. They have to prove that Caesar was too dangerous for Rome to be left alive occupying the throne.

56. Antony now makes another request that appears too innocent to be turned down.  He wants to be permitted to take the body to the marketplace and to address the congregation at Caesar’s funeral.

57. Brutus accedes to the request as Antony has done little to belie his trust. Cassius is suspicious. He is not comfortable with the idea of Antony speaking to the audience. He wants to alert Brutus and pulls Brutus aside.

58. Cassius had a premonition that Brutus might speak disparagingly about the perpetrators inflame the passions of the already volatile citizens further. He urges Brutus to stop Antony from speaking at the funeral.

59. Brutus decides on a middle path. He proposes to climb to the pulpit ahead of other speakers and with calm well-reasoned logic, explain to the agitated crowd why they killed Caesar. This decision is, no doubt, a huge error of judgment. The crowd boiling in anger, has little patience for cold reason. They are crying for retribution. Brutus plans to explain that the conspirators have authorised Antony to speak implying that he is not an adversary. Brutus is to declare that Caesar will have all the befitting burial ceremonies. Brutus is so naïve here. He foolishly assumes that this gesture will go down well with the audience, dousing their rage. 

60. To preempt Antony making any critical comment, Brutus made Antony promise not to say anything to add to surcharged atmosphere at Caesar’s funeral. He was told not to castigate the killers. Instead, he had to laud Cesar’s contribution to Rome.

  1. Antony is now alone. He bends over Caesar’s body and speaks aloud the thoughts that rage in his heart. He says he will expose the conspirators to the angry crowd, so that they turn on the vile perpetrators of the murder. Antony can see the retribution and the bloodshed that would ensue as the crowd run amuck to avenge the death of their Hero. The scale of the mayhem and massacre will be so massive that Caesar would rise from the Hell with the Goddess of Discord by his side, and mothers smile to see their babies being mutilated in their presence. Antony’s intentions are clear. He wants a torrent of fire to rain down on the perpetrators.

 

  1. Just around this time, a servant comes in to break the news that Octavius, the adopted son of Caesar is on his way to Rome. Earlier, Caesar had sent words for him to come to Rome.

 

  1. Octavious is then a short distance away from Rome. Antony asks the servant to somehow persuade Octavius not to proceed further as the situation in the capital was too volatile. Antony wants Octavius to arrive only after he (Antony) finishes his address to the restive crowd laying bare the wicked plot that led to the murder of his father. The crowd will then be primed to pounce upon the murder plotters. Octavius’s presence would add fuel to the fire then.

 

  1. The servant helps Antony to move Caesar’s body out of the Capitol.

 

  1. Brutus and Cassius are in the streets virtually mobbed by inquisitive onlookers. They simply want to get an account of why, how and by whom Caesar has been killed.

 

  1. Cassius takes a section of the crowd away to explain the factors leading up to the assassination of Cesar. Some others from the crowd stay behind to listen to what Brutus has to say.

 

  1. Brutus ascends to the stage to begin his speech. Instantly, the commotion stops and people become silent to hear him. Brutus avoids rhetoric. Instead, he gives a short, solemn account of what had transpired.

 

  1. Brutus reaffirms his great love and regard for the fallen Hero. He asks the crowd if there was anyone among them who loves Caesar more than him. No one comes forward.

 

  1. Brutus says he loves Caesar in credibly, but his love for Rome overrides his love for the dead leader. Cesar had become autocratic. Romans simply can not live under a ruler who reduces them to the level of slaves. To preempt such a misfortune overpowering the common Romans, he and his fellow senators had to take this extreme step to eliminate Caesar.

 

  1. Brutus challenges the listeners to say they didn’t love Rome and freedom. Obviously, no one from the crowd raises a voice. ‘This was the motivation to kill Caesar,’ avers Brutus.

 

  1. Brutus appears to be swaying the angry crowd to his side of the story. But, at that point of time, Antony arrives with the dead body of Cesar. Brutus is about to close his speech by introducing Antony. As his parting words, he reiterates his stand that Caesar had to be killed for Rome’s shake. In an empty bravado, he says that he will kill himself if ever he is proved to have lied.

 

  1. Brutus seems to have carried the day with his eloquent declaration. The crowd is so thrilled that they want to make him the next Caesar and erect a statue in his honour. The lofty principle of democracy in choosing the supreme leader appears to be forgotten in the frenzy of adulation for Brutus.

 

  1. Brutus ushers in Antony asking him to address the crowd.

  2. Shouts of derision against Caesar rent the air as the volatile crowd begin to adore Brutus for his patriotic act!

 

  1. Antony begins his address saying, “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones; so let it be with Caesar.”

  2. With astute selection of words, Antony proceeds to make his point. He showers his praise on Brutus putting the crowd at ease. Then, he begins to demolish the claim of loyalty to Rome made by the perpetrators. He says, Ceasar brought humungous wealth and fame to Rome. He had thrice declined to be named the supreme leader and the lure of autocratic power had never influenced his action. He was a friend of the poor and the unquestionable king of all Romans’ hearts. The people who plotted to kill him had ulterior motives. They committed the egregious sin of assassinating such a great son of Rome out of jealousy. ‘Caesar’s murder was an act of vile scheming,’ asserted Antony.

 

  1. To bolster his argument, Antony proceeded to read the will of Caesar, simultaneously declaring that he was making public the private document with great reluctance.

 

  1. Almost at the same instant, the crowd that had lionized Brutus only moments before, begin to mourn the death of their leader.

 

  1. Exhibiting astute diplomatic skill, Antony states that Brutus is indeed a man of honour and unquestionable integrity. However, he delivers his fatal blow by pointing out to the wound inflicted by Brutus on Caesar’s body. He repeats his assertion over and over again to drive home the point that Brutus and his men had resorted to heinous treachery in stabbing their leader to death. Antony’s intention was to incite the crowd against Brutus and his henchmen to a point of no return.

 

  1. The crowd erupts with deadly frenzy. As they pause before unleashing their anger, Antony urges them to wait a while to hear out Antony’s will.

 

  1. As per the will, each citizen is to get a nice garden and 75 drachmas. This part of the will was the last nail in the coffin of the conspirators. The crowd decides to cremate Caesar in the holy place, and then torch the conspirators’ assets with the same flame. It was a very emotional outburst.

 

  1. Antony is elated to see the crowd setting out to wreck their vengeance on the conspirators. Mayhem and murder stat in a mammoth scale.

 

  1. Antony gets the news that Octavius has reached the palace with his friend Lepidus. The duo is waiting to see him.

 

  1. Antony, Octavius and Lepidus become the triumvirate to rule Rome.

 

  1. Brutus and Cassius flee for their lives leaving Rome for good.

 

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Of Discourse by Francis Bacon para by para explanation

December 15, 2014 at 4:30 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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OF DISCOURSE

SOME in their discourse desire rather commendation of wit, in being able to hold all arguments, than of judgment, in discerning what is true; as if it were a praise to know what might be said, and not what should be thought.

MeaningThere are some vainglorious speakers, who utilize their opportunity of joining a discourse to show off their gift of incisive intelligence. They strive to win all their arguments vis-a-vis other speakers, albeit more through aggression than by the power of their arguments. In the pursuit to project their mental prowess, they lose sight of the fact that the sole objective of a discussion is primarily to arrive at a sound judgment pertaining to an issue, and to discover the truth through careful participatory analysis. Such assertive and often, over-bearing speakers assume that the occasion to speak before a gathering is to win acclaim for their ability to guide others about what should be said and thought on the topic under discussion. They become the self-appointed ‘moderators’ of the confabulation.

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Some have certain common places and themes wherein they are good, and want variety; which kind of poverty is for the most part tedious, and when it is once perceived, ridiculous.

Meaning …..These individuals, no doubt, have their areas of specialization. A lawyer of eminence knows about laws much better than a doctor, the same way a doctor knows more about the human body than a philosopher does. But, the knowledge of these experts is one -track, and severely limited in scope and depth. This makes their talk lacklustre and monotonous. Other listeners in the group find such talks to be drab, shallow and ridiculous.

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The honorablest part of talk is to give the occasion; and again to moderate, and pass to somewhat else; for then a man leads the dance.

Meaning —-The model participant in a discussion has to be quite different from the above type of arrogant speakers. The ideal speaker must not try to steal the glory away by exhibiting over-bearing attitude. He must yield the floor to other speakers, and play his part as a polite moderator when the talk meanders away undesirably. He should lead the discussion to other relevant aspects of the issue, so as to bring forth different perspectives. For example, a discussion on abortion rights for women has legal, moral, medical and religious angles. A good speaker could steer the discussion seamlessly to all these aspects rather than allowing a participant to dominate the discussion. For example a speaker, who is a lawyer, might try to hammer the legal side of the matter endlessly. The speaker, who is intelligent, accommodative, and has the ability to look at an issue from all its angles is the ideal contributor. Such a person lets the other speakers present their sides with ease, and with no hindrance. He is the most ideal anchor.

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It is good, in discourse and speech of conversation, to vary and intermingle speech of the present occasion with arguments, tales with reasons, asking of questions with telling of opinions, and jest with earnest: for it is a dull thing to tire, and, as we say now, to jade, anything too far.

Meaning …. A model speaker must strive to intersperse his speech with a variety of thoughts, arguments, and relevant anecdotes. He should try to poke the minds of his listeners with searching questions followed by suitable and well-reasoned answers. By doing this, he effectively augments his own opinion. The ideal speaker’s enthusiasm to enlighten others and bring them on board must be matched with real earnestness to add value to the discourse. Instead of doing this, if he tries to impose himself on others by repetitive citation of his own way of thinking, the talk might test the patience of his listeners. Their reaction would be one of disgust and irritation.

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As for jest, there be certain things which ought to be privileged from it; namely, religion, matters of state, great persons, any man’s present business of importance, and any case that deserveth pity.

MeaningA spirited speaker speaking passionately on any matter must not be carried away to utter anything critical of religions, the royalty and the government, and eminent people enjoying considerable clout in the society. He should desist from passing derogatory remarks on anyone else’s profession, or condescendingly show pity on anyone, however distressed he might be.
During Bacon’s time, freedom of speech was severely restricted. Even mild criticism of the king or the monarch would incur his wrath resulting in incarceration of the speaker. Hence Bacon gave such words of caution.

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Yet there be some that think their wits have been asleep, except they dart out somewhat that is piquant, and to the quick.

Meaning …… There can, however, be some speakers who have a penchant for being provocative. [The late Khuswant Singh of India was one such intellectual who reveled in poking fun of others.] In their irresistible urge to express their inner feelings, they fail to rein in their sense of wit and humour. They stray to the ‘forbidden’ areas of discourse.
That is a vein which would be bridled: Parce, puer, stimulis, et fortius utere loris. [Spare, boy, the whip and tighter hold the reins.] And generally, men ought to find the difference between saltness and bitterness.
A judicious person must avoid any propensity to talk indiscreetly. He must hold his errant tongue with a tight leash. In the quest to lighten up his talk with some banter and well-meaning criticism, he must be very careful not to embitter others. He may land himself in considerable trouble by his off-the-cuff remarks or comments.

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Certainly, he that hath a satirical vein, as he maketh others afraid of his wit, so he had need be afraid of others’ memory.

Meaning …. A satirist might overawe others by his wit and intrusive insight, but he must remember that his satire is rarely taken kindly by his targets. They nurse grudge against the satirist for his barbs and might take revenge against him later out of malice.
He that questioneth much shall learn much, and content much; but especially if he apply his questions to the skill of the persons whom he asketh; for he shall give them occasion to please themselves in speaking, and himself shall continually gather knowledge.
A speaker, who is inquisitive and knows whom to direct his questions to, is a great learner and a very desirable listener. For example, when a bubbling listener directs his questions about heart ailments to a cardiologist (rather than a sociologist), he gets a treasure house of information from the heart doctor. The latter will willingly talk at length while answering the question. Finding a receptive and very attentive listener, the cardiologist will derive great joy from his talk. Thus, it becomes a win-win situation for both -the knowledge-hungry listener and the erudite speaker.

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But let his questions not be troublesome; for that is fit for a poser. And let him be sure to leave other men their turns to speak. Nay, if there be any that would reign and take up all the time, let him find means to take them off, and to bring others on; as musicians use to do with those that dance too long galliards.

Meaning ………. While asking questions, one should take care to ensure that the process does not deteriorate to look like interrogation. There should be no overt or covert hostile intent in the questions. The questions should not aim to test the knowledge of the person being asked. Additionally, the speaker must not drag on with his questioning and rob other speakers of their turn to take part in the discourse. Monopolizing tendencies to corner time and attention are not the attributes of a good speaker. Bringing in other speakers to the fore enlivens discourse just as musicians take their designated slots in appropriate intervals during a concert. For example, in an orchestra, a player of the sitar comes in and withdraws to give time to a violinist, and a guitarist yields place to a percussionist in the right moment. Such participative contribution by musicians gives the desired musical effect. Such planned and voluntary interludes cut monotony and add quality to the orchestra.

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If you dissemble sometimes your knowledge of that you are thought to know, you shall be thought another time to know that you know not.

MeaningAllowing gaps during speaking refreshes one’s memory and rekindles one’s ability to remember and recall. It helps to open new windows to one’s mind, thus, banishing intellectual arrogance and smugness.

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Speech of a man’s self ought to be seldom, and well chosen. I knew one was wont to say in scorn, He must needs be a wise man, he speaks so much of himself: and there is but one case wherein a man may commend himself with good grace; and that is in commending virtue in another; especially if it be such a virtue whereunto himself pretendeth.

Meaning ………. One should not take part in discourses too often. Such occasions should be few and far between. One should decide to speak in the opportune time and in opportune moments. A person, who grabs every opportunity to speak, invites derision and ridicule despite being a very wise man.
By praising the talent and virtue in another speaker generously, a speaker elevates, and never undermines himself. For example, a renowned mathematician will endear himself to other mathematicians during a discourse by heaping praise on another mathematician-speaker. Praising others liberally enhances one’s own standing.

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Speech of touch towards others should be sparingly used; for discourseought to be as a field, without coming home to any man.

Meaning ……… While mentioning others individually, one should be very circumspect and cautious. Discourse should not centre around any specific individual. Keeping the discourse issue- based and general in nature helps to keep controversies at bay.

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I knew two noblemen, of the west part of England, whereof the one was given to scoff, but kept ever royal cheer in his house; the other would ask of those that had been at the other’s table, Tell truly was there never a flout or dry blow given? To which the guest would answer, Such and such a thing passed. The lord would say, I thought he would mar a good dinner.

Meaning ……. Here Bacon talks about two noblemen hailing from the western part of England. One was a boastful, insensitive speaker with a rather abrasive style of speaking. But, he was a good entertainer too because his barbs were at the cost of others. The other person, his compatriot, enquired from guests about what his outspoken friend spoke. In his opinion, passing hurtful comments leaves the listeners jarred. Such inclination towards satire should, therefore, be shunned in order to maintain the congenial and joyous atmosphere during dinners and other such get-togethers.

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Discretion of speech is more than eloquence; and to speak agreeably to him with whom we deal, is more than to speak in good words or in good order.

Meaning ……… Civility, and discretion during speaking are the hallmarks of a good speaker. A flamboyant speech interspersed with high-sounding words and stylishly arranged sentences may get high rating in eloquence contests, but is a poor fit for inter-personal communication. Articulation and soft-speaking skills prove to be desirable traits while talking to our near and dear ones, our subordinates, friends and associates.

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A good continued speech, without a good speech of interlocution, shows slowness: and a good reply or second speech, without a good settled speech, showeth shallowness and weakness.

Meaning …… A long winding speech devoid of style and flourish appears slow, monotonous and boring. Similarly, a reply, however intelligent and befitting, loses its appeal, if it is low in oratory skill.

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As we see in beasts, that those that are weakest in the course are yet nimblest in the turn; as it is betwixt the greyhound and the hare. To use too many circumstances ere one come to the matter, is wearisome; to use none at all, is blunt.

Meaning ……… In the animal world, a comparison between the greyhound and the hare shows that the latter, being weak, is slow in taking evasive turns. On the contrary, the greyhound is both fast and agile making it a very dreaded predator of the hare. In the same vein, a speaker who gives a lengthy pompous introduction to his speech before formally starting it, fails to grip the attention of the audience. Similarly, a speaker, who starts his speech without even a short introduction to the topic, appears to blunt and curt.

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Good words and phrases used in this write-up
Pompous, Flourish, Intersperse, Flamboyant, Hallmark, Circumspect, Derision, Smugness, Interlude, Enliven, Erudite, Incarceration, Confabulation, Condescend, Meander, Lackluster, Penchant, Yield the floor

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NCERT Class X English literature – Ozymandias —

December 8, 2014 at 12:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Revised and up-graded version …….

Ozymandias  

by Percy Bysshe Shelley..

Introduction …The celebrated English poet P. B. Shelley once met an intrepid traveler who had gone around ancient Egypt. The traveler recounted his seeing two extra-ordinarily large trunkless legs made of stone which were, obviously, the remnants of a huge statue. The statue had crumbled into pieces and lay desolately in the desert sand. The head of the statue, a uniquely made one, lay half-buried in sand in disgrace. The face had the hallmarks of hubris, contemptuous disregard, and authority imprinted on it through the sculptor’s deft chisels. Even in its miserable state, it looked so royal and commanding. The statue belonged to the legendary ruler, King Ozymandias. The traveler’s vivid impression of the statue of King Ozymandias had left a profound impact on Shelley’s mind.

 What the poem says ….In a contemplative mood, Shelley reflects upon the helpless state of the remnants of Ozymandias’s statue.  Shelley gives a philosophical interpretation of his thoughts.

Ozymandias was an emperor of extra-ordinary valor, fame and wealth. Through his extra-ordinary feats on and off the battlefield, he had risen to great heights, virtually towering over his contemporaries. He was so intoxicated by his success and stature that he felt it necessary to etch his name in the sands of time. To satisfy such maniac obsession with greatness, he authorized an able sculptor to sculpt a giant statue of his figure. The statue would stand defiantly for all times to come proclaiming his greatness.

The sculptor did a fine job. In the face of the statue, the marks of superiority and authority of Ozymandias came out so real and alive. The twisted leaps, the sneer, and the disdainful authority with which he treated other subordinate members of the royalty were reflected in the masterly-sculpted face. He had ordered the following line to be inscribed on the base of the statue –

 ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: look upon my works, ye mighty and despair.’

 In utter arrogance and show of his vainglorious mind, Ozymandias had assumed that his gigantic statue would stand triumphantly in its place forever drawing curious visitors from far and wide. They would stand before the towering statue and recall his greatness with wide-eyed gaze. Seeing the boastful inscription in the pedestal of Ozymandias’s statue, they would feel belittled and small. A feeling of humiliation and despair would engulf their minds as they stand comparing their own accomplishments, stature and prowess with those of Ozymandias’s.

 Ozymandias had tried to defy time by having a grand super statue made. Little did he know that it would be ravaged in due course. His quest for immortality through a gigantic statue had been reduced to ruins.

 Time devours everything nibbling it relentlessly. Nothing can  escape unscathed after a journey through time. Time’s destructive potential treated Ozymandias’s statue with the same ruthlessness with which it treats everything else in this world. The statue crumbled and lay un-honoured and un-sung in the vast desert lamenting its sad fate.

The point Shelley wants to emphasize is that in this transitory world, attempting to immortalize a mortal through majestic statues and edifices is bound to fail. Nothing can escape the jaws of ‘time’. Everything that rises must fall, one day to mingle with dust.

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