English

Home > English > Advanced > Module C: Representation and Text > Elective 1: Conflicting Perspectives > Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar

Written by Louise Moulton, Oak Flats High School

Navigating Shakespeare’s world using the Internet
Navigating the rubric
Navigating extended responding
References

Your teacher will guide you through learning experiences that will demystify the module rubric and assist you in analysing Shakespeare’s representations of “…events, personalities or situations”. This material will support that learning with resources and activities that will challenge your thinking assist you in formulating a personal response and possibly fill in any gaps in your understanding of the concepts being studied. Work through each section separately or in chronological order, depending on your level of need.

Navigating Shakespeare’s world using the internet

By the time you study Shakespeare in Year 12, you will have undoubtedly explored his historical, social and cultural context on numerous occasions. However, in Module C, where there is a deliberate emphasis on the act of ‘representation’, a clear understanding of the conventions of tragedy, Shakespearean language, Elizabethan theatre, Elizabethan audiences and Shakespeare’s source material is essential.

Below are a series of links that will guide you through the essentials. Be a critical thinker – what site best suits your needs? Are you a Shakespearean beginner, intermediate or expert? How will you translate the combination of visual and written language into useful notes that could be used in an extended response?

Tragedy

Shakespeare and his world

Go To Top

Julius Caesar – History

A useful activity would be to compare two or more websites and their representations of the “historical facts” of Caesar’s life, especially the assassination. This activity will most certainly lead to the discovery of related text material.

Plutarch

Go To Top

Julius Caesar the play

Shakespearean Language

Go To Top

Film representation of the assassination of Julius Caesar

Significant world events, people and situations – a starting point for related texts other than texts that represent the events/personalities/situations of Julius Caesar

Enter each event into Google, or any other search engine, and compare the conflicting perspectives arising. Analyse the Internet as the medium of production: how does the composer position you as the responder? Consider audience and purpose. Is the composer biased?

Go To Top

Online Video Resources

Search for the following video clips:

Activity
All of the online videos referenced here allow you to comment on the quality and content of the video. Most of the respondents are English students. Contribute a thread to one of the discussions about your study of conflicting perspectives. Does your perspective conflict with anyone else?

Go To Top

Navigating the rubric

It is essential that you familiarise yourself with the module rubric. The rubric is where the HSC question will be formulated. Applying the language and meaning of the rubric to your prescribed text and related texts results in a thorough understanding of the texts and concepts, leaving little room for surprises or “trick questions” on the day of your examination. This will guide you through a deconstruction of the rubric that can be applied to Julius Caesar and related texts, an activity that you can modify for any of your modules.

What is the rubric telling you to do?
Below the rubric is represented as a checklist, instead of several paragraphs as it appears in the syllabus. This checklist also appears in the form of a summary table which you can expand as a tool for the summary of Julius Caesar and any related text material.

Rubric instruction What you have to do…
Students explore various representations of events.
  • Identifythe key events in Julius Caesar
    • assassination of Julius Caesar
    • Brutus’ funeral speech to the plebians
    • Antony’s funeral speech to the plebians

  • Analysethe ways in which Shakespeare represents these events focusing ontextual form, features and language.

  • Explorehow these events have been represented by other composers in differentcontexts and different textual forms (mediums of production).

  • Compareand contrast the conflicting perspectives of these events in terms of:Shakespeare’s perspective, character perspectives, and the perspectivesof other composers.
Students explore various representations of personalities.
  • Identifythe key personalities in Julius Caesar
    • Antony
    • Julius Caesar
    • Brutus
    • Cassius

  • Analysethe ways in which Shakespeare represents these personalities focusing ontextual form, features and language.

  • Explorehow these personalities have been represented by other composers indifferent contexts and different textual forms (mediums of production).

  • Compareand contrast the conflicting perspectives of these personalities interms of: Shakespeare’s perspective, character perspectives, and the perspectives of other composers.
Students explore various representations of situations.
  • Identifykey situations in Julius Caesar
    • Power
    • Democracy vs. Dictatorship
    • Politics

  • Explorehow these situations have been represented by other composers indifferent contexts and different textual forms (mediums of production).

  • Representationsof significant historical events that interest you, comparing these with Shakespeare’s method of representation.
Evaluate how:
  • medium of production
  • textual form
  • perspective
  • choice of language
influence meaning.
Medium – Julius Caesar is a play that was written to be performed, but you will be most familiar with the script. Over the course of your study you may see a theatre production and view a film version – how do these mediums of production influence meaning?

Textual form – Your prescribed text is a drama (play script), you must evaluate the consequences of performance choices such as staging, casting and appropriating.

Perspective – Your context, Shakespeare’s context, the context of the viewing public of any appropriation of the text or any text that deals with the same events/personalities/situations, the perspective of the characters within the text.

Choice of language – Shakespearean language needs to be considered in terms of verse, prose, iambic pentameter, imagery, allusion, figurative language, irony, etc.
The study develops students’ understanding of the relationships between representation and meaning.
  • Explore how the technical choices made by the composer have positioned you to understand what is going on in the play.

  • Question what you understand – do you think it is what Shakespeare intended or are you ‘reading’ the text alternately or in opposition? Being clear on your perspective will ensure you are personally responding.
In their responding and composing, students consider the ways in which conflicting perspectives on events, personalities or situations are represented in their prescribed text. Revisit the definitions from the Stage 6 English syllabus:
  • Responding – “The activity that occurs when students read, listen to or view texts. It encompasses the personal and intellectual connections a student makes with the texts. It also recognises that students and the texts to which they respond exist in social and cultural contexts” (p.143). As an Advanced English student, most of your responding will involve higher-order thinking such as analysing and evaluating. Don’t wait until the night before the exam to collect useful evidence, ensure each of your responses is justified by well-chosen quotes from the text as you progress through your study.

  • Composing – It ispossible to respond and compose simultaneously, don’t get confused that the two actions must always be separate.The distinction is the purpose of your text. A response can simply be an immediate verbal response to a question from your teacher asking what you believe is Antony’sperspective of Brutus. To compose, you are deliberately thinking of the structure of your written, spoken or visual text, your intended meaning and your intended audience. If time permits, you will reflect onyour composition and make refinements.

  • Conflicting Perspectives –A perspective can be defined as a way of regarding a situation or set of facts, often involving a level of judgment. Perspective is subjective; therefore,conflict inevitably arises. In reference to Julius Caesar,you need to consider a variety of perspectives within and around the text:

    • Shakespeare’s perspective of the historical events surrounding the assassination of Julius Caesar. An understandingof his perspective is only possible if you consider the possible influence of Plutarch’s historical records and the techniques used byShakespeare to represent these events to entertain an Elizabethan audience.

    • Conflicting character perspectives. What perspective (opinion, point of view) does each character have of each other, of the events and of the situations in the play?

    • In your search for related material, how do other composers’representations of the events, personalities or situations depicted in Julius Caesar conflict?

    • Does your perspective conflict with that of other students, evenyour teacher, in the class?

    • Explore the world you live in! Our society is information rich,information (especially news) can reach us almost instantly. How can events, personalities orsituations be represented differently resulting in conflicting perspectives? (remember the importance of medium of production, textual form and choice of language).
Go To Top

Text Summary Table

Rubric instruction Example from the text Analysis Quote/Evidence
Students explore various representations of events. E.g. The assassination of Julius Caesar. Brutus and Antony conflict in their perspectives as to what motivated Caesar politically. Brutus needs to convince the Plebians that the assassination was for the good of Rome and not a betrayal of Rome. Antony wants to convince the Plebians that Caesar was a good and noble leader and not an ambitious future dictator. Comparing the two speeches after the funeral of Caesar reveals the two perspectives. Shakespeare uses speech structure, irony, rhetorical questions, repetition, emotive language, pause, caesura/enjambment and listing of key events, to represent each character’s perspective of Julius Caesar and the reason for his assassination. Brutus: …As Caesar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as/ he was valiant, I honour him; but, as he was ambitious, I slew him… (Act III ii 21-23).

Antony: When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:/ Ambition should be made of sterner stuff;/ Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,/ And Brutus is an honourable man. (Act III ii 83-86)
Students explore various representations of personalities.      
Students explore various representations of situations.      
Evaluate how:
  • medium of production
  • textual form
  • perspective
  • choice of language
influence meaning.
     
The study develops students’ understanding of the relationships between representation and meaning.      
In their responding and composing, students consider the ways in which conflicting perspectives on events, personalities or situations are represented in their prescribed text.      
Go To Top

Navigating the extended response

As mentioned earlier, the key to being prepared for the HSC examination, is knowing your rubric. Secondly, paying attention to the assessment criteria at the top of each question in your examination booklet (usually two to three dot points), enables you to compose a response that addresses exactly what the examiner wants.

Below is the top part of page 8 of the 2006 HSC Advanced English examination. The two bullet points are the assessment criteria that tell you specifically what should be contained in your response. Addressing these and the key points in the question will ensure you maximise your chances at achieving the best results of which you are capable.

Section III — Module C: Representation and Text

20 marks Attempt ONE question from Questions 12–14. Allow about 40 minutes for this section.

Answer the question in a SEPARATE writing booklet. Extra writing booklets are available.

In your answer you will be assessed on how well you:

Sample Essay Questions

  1. Perspectives of an event, personality or situation may be manipulated by the ways in which a composer represents them.

    Evaluate the ways in which the composer manipulates perspectives in your prescribed text and in at least TWO other related texts of your own choosing.

  2. Who do you believe is the main protagonist in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar? How does representation affect the responder’s understanding of who the central personality is, or what the key event is, or what is the most significant situation?

    In your answer, refer to your prescribed text and at least TWO other related texts of your own choosing.

  3. Conflicting perspectives of any event, personality or situation are a result of the ways the composer represents them.

    Discuss this statement in reference to your prescribed text and at least TWO other related texts of your own choosing.

Bibliography

Board of Studies NSW (1999) Stage 6 Syllabus English Preliminary and HSC Courses.

Shakespeare, William (2004) Julius Caesar, Cambridge University Press, New Cambridge Shakespeare.

http://www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/hsc_exams/hsc2006exams/pdf_doc/english_adv_06.pdf (external website)

Websites
All website references are directly available and accessible throughout the body of the text. No information has been paraphrased from text available on these websites.

Go To Top

Neals logo | Copyright | Disclaimer | Contact Us | Help