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Cicero in Julius Caesar

Instructor: Bryan Cowing

Bryan is a freelance writer who specializes in literature. He has worked as an English instructor, editor and writer for the past 10 years.

Cicero is a Roman Senator in William Shakespeare's play ~'Julius Caesar.~' In this lesson, we will take a close look at Cicero's lines as well as what the other character's say about him.

Cicero The Man

'Calm down.' 'You are over reacting.' This is the kind of person Cicero is. He is calm and intelligent. By looking at Cicero's lines and what the other characters say about him, we can gain a good understanding about him. Even though he only speaks four times, we can see he is a well-respected and wise man.

Cicero Tells Casca to Chill Out

Casca. What can we say about him? He is super dramatic. About everything. A storm? Oh no! The gods are angry. An owl? Oh no, the gods are angry. Cicero comes upon Casca while he is having one of his freak-out sessions. Casca is worried about the storm and when Cicero sees that Casca is acting strangely he asks 'Good even, Casca: brought you Caesar home? / Why are you breathless? and why stare you so?' In other words, Cicero is asking why Casca is out of breath and why he has a frightened look on his face. There is a storm raging outside and Cicero can clearly see that Casca is upset, and yet he simply asks Casca what's going on. This calm demeanor shows Cicero's ability to withhold his reactions until he has the whole story.

In response to Cicero's question, Casca goes into a description of the storm and how scary it is that the sky is 'dropping fire.' Cicero asks if that is all Casca has seen. Casca then tells Cicero of a few more scary omens he supposedly saw, including a owl being out during the day and a man's hand catch on fire. Cicero responds by saying ' Indeed, it is a strange-disposed time: / But men may construe things after their fashion, / Clean from the purpose of the things themselves.' In other words, Cicero is telling Casca, that there are indeed strange things going on, but remember that people often overreact and are interpret things very far from their true meaning. With this, Cicero says goodbye and tells Casca that he should not be out in such bad weather. This half of Cicero and Casca's exchange show very clearly just how logical Cicero is. He clearly thinks that Casca is overreacting and tells him as much. In the midst of the storm, and of Casca's goofy behavior, Cicero reminds Casca that it is easy to misinterpret omens.

Brutus's Comment About Cicero

Aside from the exchange where Cicero speaks with Casca, he has no more lines in the play. The rest of the audience's understanding comes from what others say about him. In the beginning of the play, Cicero's name comes up after Caesar has an epileptic fit in public. Brutus and his friend see Cicero, Caesar, and Caesar's supporters enter the capital. Brutus notices that everyone looks upset and observes 'Cicero / Looks with such ferret and such fiery eyes / As we have seen him in the Capitol, / Being cross'd in conference by some senators.' Brutus is saying that Cicero looks as upset and concerned as he does when he is debating a politician at a meeting. This paints Cicero as someone who takes his opinions and the opinions of others seriously. The first comment in the play about Cicero involves his mind and thinking ability.

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