English Literature / Drama GCSE: Julius Caesar - Act I, Scene 2 - Cassius and Brutus (workshop)

Paterson Joseph, playing Brutus, and Cyril Nri, as Cassius, explore in detail what each character is trying to achieve in this early confrontation.

This short film is from the BBC series, Shakespeare Unlocked.

Teacher Notes

As a warm-up exercise before watching the clip, introduce the idea that words and phrases can be said in a variety of ways.

Ask your students in groups to see how many ways that they can deliver a line, e.g. "Into what dangers would you lead me, Cassius" or "Then, Brutus, I have much mistook your passion" said as though proud, scared, angry, loving, joking and so on.

After watching, ask students to evaluate which emotions they think are predominant in each section.

Paterson Joseph speaks eloquently about how his exaggerated expression of pride in the exercise remained in his final interpretation.

Which elements for their lines do they think should remain in a final version?

The discussion about honour is an interesting one.

Ask students to select from the scene (by highlighting or underlining), as many words and phrases as they can that relate to the idea of honour; then to highlight or underline as many as they can that mention shame or dishonour.

Can they see a pattern? Then ask them to see if they can detect any other semantic fields in the scene (e.g. love, fear, war).

Curriculum Notes

This short film is suitable for teaching GCSE English literature and drama in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4/ 5 in Scotland.

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