English Literature / Drama GCSE: Julius Caesar - Act 3, Scene 1 - The Murder

The conspirators isolate Caesar on the way to the Senate and, as they have planned, Metallus Cimber presents his petition.

Caesar’s egocentric refusal sets off the brutal assassination.

PLEASE NOTE: This scene contains prolonged violence which some people may find upsetting. Teacher review is recommended prior to use in class.

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

Teacher Notes

Before watching the scene, ask your students to watch out for the moment where they feel that the murder becomes inevitable.

What signs and signals does Caesar miss in terms of foreshadowing? How does he misread the mood of his companions? Is there anything that it seems he could have done to prevent his murder?

The dramatic tension that Shakespeare creates is important here - the sense of tension that suggests another outcome is possible is essential for tragedy.

After watching, ask students for their reaction to the staging.

How does the use of the escalator help to emphasise the themes of the play at this point? What other kind of staging could help to emphasise the ideas of status and power in the scene?

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.

More from Shakespeare Unlocked: Julius Caesar

Act I, Scene 2 - Cassius enlists Brutus
Act I, Scene 2 - Cassius and Brutus (workshop)
Act I, Scene 2 - Persuading Brutus (workshop)
Act I, Scene 2 - Marking the words (workshop)
Act 3, Scene 1 - Leader or dictator (workshop)
Act 3, Scene 1 - Killing Caesar (workshop)
Act 3, Scene 2 - The Orations
Act 3, Scene 2 - Rhetoric and politics (workshop)
Act 3, Scene 2 - Brutus reasons with the crowd (workshop)
Act 3, Scene 2 - Mark Antony moves the crowd (workshop)