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In the following case the three-syllabled feet seem to represent a hurried utterance:
Let me see, let me see ; | is not | the leaf | turn'd down?
— IV, iii, 271.
A very heavy three-syllabled foot occurs in the line, We'll along ourselves, and meet them at Philippi. -- IV, iii, 223.
Measures of one syllable.
Occasionally a measure seems to consist of a single syllable. In some of these cases a syllable is concerned that, as pronounced at the present day, hovers between one syllable and two, and we may be confident that Shakespeare had in mind the two-syllabled pronunciation. Some words that contain an r fall most plainly under this class.
I have an hour's talk | in store | for you. II, ii, 121.
The double use of fire in the last line is especially noticeable.
And with the brands | fire | the trai | tors' houses. III, ii, 253.
The word means seems to be prolonged to take the time of two syllables in the following line of four measures:
Our best friends made, our means stretch'd. — IV, i, 44.
There may be some error in the text here.
"Speak, strike, redress." Am I entreated? — II, i, 55.
admits of several interpretations. One is that the first two words are to be prolonged in speaking, so that each shall occupy the time of an entire measure; a second is that the unaccented syllable is wanting in each of the first two measures, being replaced by a pause. Since a pause of this
kind counts in the movement of the line, it has been termed a "silent syllable." But measures that seem to have only one syllable are less common in Shakespeare than lines containing only four measures. I therefore prefer to look upon the line as one of four measures.
Extra syllables. Shakespeare often varies the movement of his verse by adding an extra syllable at the end of the line, for example:
The live- | long day, | with pa | tient ex | pecta | tion.
·I, i, 41.
It seems better to say that, in some cases, two light extra syllables are allowed at the end of the line, though such lines can be looked upon as having six measures. Lines of this kind which end with the name Antony are especially
Popil ius Le | na speaks | not of | our pur | poses. III, i, 23. But here comes Ant | ony. | Welcome, Mark Ant | ony.
- III, i, 148.
Extra syllables also occur in connection with an important pause in the line. These are called "extra mid-syllables." In his earliest plays Shakespeare rarely made use of lines of this type. Examples from Julius Cæsar are:
That touches Cæ | sar near ❘ er: read it, | great Cæ | sar.
Alexandrines and short lines. Occasionally we find lines consisting of six measures. Such a line is called an "alexandrine."
The old | Anchi | ses bear, | so from | the waves | of Ti | ber.
Short lines containing one, two, three, or four measures, are occasionally met with. The following are examples:
Look. V, i, 50.
I have not slept. — II, i, 62.
Come hither, sirrah. — V, iii, 36.
Unto some monstrous state. — I, iii, 71.
Give me my robe, for I will go. — II, ii, 107.
Words pronounced in two ways. I have tried to distinguish in the printing participles in which the -ed is pronounced as a separate syllable. Compare enclosed, V, iii, 28, with enclos'd, 1. 8 of the same scene; and answered, IV, i, 47, V, i, 1, with answer'd, IV, iii, 78. In most cases, however, the difference between the full and contracted pronunciation of a word, or better, between the clear and the slurred pronunciation, does not appear in the spelling. The word opinion is used as four syllables in II, i, 145, as three syllables in II, i, 92, and elsewhere. Soldier is counted as three syllables in IV, i, 28, IV, iii, 51, and as two in IV, iii, 56. Cassius is used freely as either two or three syllables. Business is three-syllabled in IV, i, 22, and two-syllabled in V, i, 123. In the second of these lines it is possible to say that business is three-syllabled, and that one of the measures of the line has three syllables. Antony keeps repeating
Yet Bru | tus says | he was | ambi | tious,
but uses ambition as three-syllabled in the line, Ambition should be made of sterner stuff. — III, ii, 91.
Doubtful cases. We have already seen that the movement of a line may admit of more than one interpretation. In the following cases others may not entirely agree with the readings indicated:
Leave me with haste. | Luci | us, who's that knocks?
Lucilius, do you | the like; | and let | no man.
— IV, ii, 50 (see the note). Let me tell you, | Cassi | us, you | yourself. — IV, iii, 9.
Rhyme. Rhymed couplets are somewhat common in Shakespeare's earlier plays. Later, such a couplet is often used to mark the close of a scene; but this occurs only four times in Julius Cæsar, — at the close of I, ii, II, iii, V, iii, and V, v. At V, iii, 89-90 and V, v, 50-51, we have rhyme; and these couplets are logically the close of scenes, though not so counted. There is very little rhyme in Julius Caesar, only five of Shakespeare's plays having less of it. An interesting case of rhyme occurs in the speech of the intruding Poet, IV, iii, 129-130.
XII. QUESTIONS FOR STUDY
Suggestions to the teacher. When a class takes up the study of Julius Cæsar, the play should first be read through from beginning to end for the pure joy of it. This is the natural right of a healthy pupil, of which no teacher's method or system should deprive him. The more detailed study of the language, and the more important questions upon the individual scenes may then be taken up, a little at a time. The editor would suggest that the General Questions under A, be discussed during the first periods after the preliminary reading of the play is completed. Teachers should note that the general questions require much time for preparation, and that there is danger of making the lessons too long. The peculiarities of grammar and language found in the play are treated in the Notes; and the versification is discussed in Section XI of the Introduction: therefore no questions upon these subjects are given here. No ordinary class should try to take up all or even the greater part of the following questions. Some of the questions, also, are too difficult for high-school pupils in the form in which they are here presented; these may stimulate and help the teacher. An asterisk has been prefixed to some of the more difficult questions. The teacher may find it helpful to use some of the topics in class for offhand, unprepared comment and discussion, he being ready to point out the more important bearings of the question which the class may overlook. Some teachers will wish to frame their own questions; but those here given may be of some service to them.
A. GENERAL QUESTIONS
1. With what incident does the action really begin? 2. By what device does Shakespeare direct our attention to this incident and emphasize its significance? (See the third paragraph of Section III of the Introduction.) 3. With what incident does the resolution of the play begin, the movement of the action toward the fatal close? 4. Into what important groups can you divide the characters of the play? 5. Name the leader, or leaders, of each group. 6. What characters in the play are most sharply contrasted? 7. What incidents? 8. Is this element of contrast helpful to a play? 9. Point out the ways in which, before the death of Cæsar, our minds have been prepared for the important part that Antony is to play. 10. How have we been prepared, in particular, for the oratorical skill displayed in Antony's great speech? 11. How for the readiness and fervor with which the people turn against the conspirators? 12. How are our minds prepared for the defeat of the conspirators at Philippi? 13. What are the different reasons and influences that induce Brutus to join the conspiracy against Cæsar? 14.* Point out all expressions in the play which help us to determine the duration of the action. (This question and the next involve a great deal of work; and the teacher may find it best to take a part of the play at a time. Under 15, the pupil should try to prove each new day and each interval. A day is supposed to continue until a new one can be proved.) 15.* So far as possible, prove or disprove each statement in Daniel's "time analysis" of the play, given under Section VII of the Introduction. 16.* Point out the ways in which the time as indicated in the play departs from historic time (also given under VII). 17.* Give the best reason, or reasons, that you can why Shakespeare made each change from historic time.
B. INDIVIDUAL ACTS AND SCENES
Act I, Scene i.-1. An excellent scene for the class to read aloud. 2. Why did Shakespeare write this scene? What does it do for the play? 3. Why is this scene a good one to come first? 4. What connection has this scene with the later ones of the play? 5. Is this mixture of the humorous and the serious a good thing?