ICSE Julius Caesar Workbook Answer : Act 1 Scene 1

Welcome to our blog post dedicated to dissecting Act 1, Scene 1 of William Shakespeare’s timeless masterpiece, Julius Caesar. As avid learners and educators, we understand the importance of grasping the nuances of Shakespearean literature, and that’s why we’ve curated this comprehensive guide specifically tailored to the ICSE curriculum.

In this blog, we’ll delve into the depths of Act 1, Scene 1, utilizing the meticulously crafted workbook provided by Morning Star publishers. Our aim is to not only provide you with multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and long-form answers but also to empower you with a deeper understanding of the themes, characters, and language intricacies within this iconic play.

It’s important to note that while we offer structured responses based on the workbook, we encourage students to use this resource as a foundation for their own exploration. Shakespeare’s works are renowned for their richness and versatility, allowing ample room for interpretation and analysis. Therefore, feel free to adapt and modify our insights to suit your individual learning style and requirements.

So, whether you’re a student looking to ace your exams or a literature enthusiast eager to unravel the mysteries of Julius Caesar, join us on this enlightening journey through Act 1, Scene 1. Let’s embark on an adventure where words transcend time, and the legacy of Shakespeare continues to captivate minds across generations.

Table of Contents

Workbook Summary :

Caesar is at the height of his power and glory. He has extended the boundaries of Roman rule, defeated Pompey in a civil war and is now the master of Rome. He is celebrating a triumphal procession in Rome after he has defeated Pompey’s sons, thus putting an end to civil wars. There is stiff opposition to Caesar’s authoritative rule.

The play opens with the street scene in Rome. The common Roman citizens are thronging the streets of the capital in holiday attire. The day is February 15th, 44B.C., and they are all anxious to witness Caesar’s triumphant return to the city, following his successful campaigns against Pompey’s sons. Their holiday mood is rudely interrupted by the Tribunes — Flavius and Marullus.

The Tribunes ask some citizens to name their trades and to explain their absence from work. The first commoner answers straightforwardly, but the second  commoner answers with a string of puns that he is a cobbler and that he and his fellow workmen have gathered to see Caesar and to rejoice in his triumph.

Marullus accuses the workmen of forgetting that they are desecrating the great Pompey, whose triumphs they once cheered so enthusiastically. He blames them for wanting to honour the man who is celebrating a victory in battle over Pompey’s sons. He commands them to return to their homes and to ask forgiveness of the gods for their offensive ingratitude. Flavius orders them to assemble all the commoners and take them to the banks of the Tiber and fill it with their tears of remorse for the dishonour they have shown to Pompey.

The common citizens, ashamed of their behaviour, go away. The two Tribunes decide to strip all adornments and decorations from the statues of Caesar. Marullus doubts whether it is legal to disrobe these images on the Feast of the Lupercalia. Flavius reassures him and points out that if such steps are not taken, Caesar will soon have them all living “in servile fearfulness.”

julius caesar icse

Workbook MCQs :

1. What is the rule that Marullus refers to?
(a) Workers ought to wear signs of their trade
(b) A carpenters foot rule
(c) Citizens should bow before officials
(d) All of the above

Answers : (b) A carpenters foot rule

2. What sarcastic reason does the cobbler give Flavius for leading citizens on the
(a) To get himself more work (b) To rejoice in Caesar’s Triumph

(c) To celebrate the feast (d) Both (b) and (c)

Answers : (a) To get himself more work 

3. What does the cobbler say to show that he is a master craftsman?
(a) He is a surgeon of old shoes
(b) He mends soles
(c) Every shoe-wearing gentleman has worn his handiwork
(d) He needed more work

Answers : (c) Every shoe-wearing gentleman has worn his handiwork

4. Why, according to Marullus, would there be a plague?
(a) Due to the crowding in the sheets
(b) Due to the ingratitude of citizens
(c) Due to the hollow banks of the Tiber
(d) Due to the flowers strewn on the way.

Answers : (b) Due to the ingratitude of citizens

5. Why did Flavius consider it necessary to remove all the decorations with
Caesar’s statues?
(a) To turn the people against him
(b) To replace them with new decorations
(c) To quell Caesar’s ego and popularity
(d) None of the above

Answers : (c) To quell Caesar’s ego and popularity

6. According to Marullus for whom had the citizens of Rome waited patiently earlier?
(a) Caesar (b) Brutus
(c) Pompey (d) Antony

Answers : (c) Pompey

7. What did Marullus ask the commoners of Rome to do?
(a) To pray for Caesar’s well-being
(b) To run away to their houses
(c) To pray to God to avert their punishment
(d) Both (b) and (c) 

Answers : (d) Both (b) and (c) – To run away to their houses and To pray to God to avert their punishment

8. Why did Flavius ask the commoners to shed tears of remorse?
(a) For the dishonor shown to Pompey
(b) For the rise of a dictator
(c) For the loss of their liberty
(d) For making Caesar too powerful

Answers : (a) For the dishonor shown to Pompey

9. Which quality of the common man is reflected in this scene?
(a) Admiration for Caesar (b) Fickleness
(c) Hatred for Caesar (d) Fear of Caesar

Answers : (b) Fickleness

10. Which type of atmosphere in Rome is seen in Act I, Scene 1 of the play?
(a) Peace and happiness (b) Confusion and chaos
(c) Strife and disunity (d) None of the above

Answers : (b) Confusion and chaos

11. What is the central theme of the play reflected in this scene?
(a) Conflict between monarchists and republicans
(b) Conflict between anarchy and democracy
(c) Conflict between dictatorship and democracy
(d) None of the above.

Answers : (a) Conflict between monarchists and republicans

12. The opening scene of the play reflects on which of the following causes that let to the development of the play?
(a) Caesar’s triumph over Pompey’s sons
(b) Caesar’s suspicions
(c) Mounting hostilities to Caesar’s rule
(d) Fear of Caesar

Answers : (c) Mounting hostilities to Caesar’s rule

Workbook Questions :

Question No: 1

Hence! home, you idle creatures, get you home.
Is this a holiday? What, know you not.
Being mechanical, you ought not walk
Upon a labouring day without the sign
Of your profession? Speak, what trade art thou?

First Citizen
Why, sir, a carpenter.

Where is thy leather apron and thy rule?
What dost thou with thy best apparel on?
You, sir, what trade are you?

(i) Who are Flavius and Marullus? Where are they and what are they doing there? Why?

Answer :- Flavius and Marullus are characters from William Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar.” They are tribunes of Rome, officials appointed to protect the rights of the common people. In the opening scene of the play, Flavius and Marullus are in a public place in Rome, specifically on a street. They are there to observe the citizens and ensure order, as well as to express their disapproval of the citizens’ behavior.

Flavius and Marullus are perturbed because they see commoners celebrating Julius Caesar’s recent victory and return to Rome. They are concerned about the citizens’ sudden change in loyalty and their forgetfulness of previous loyalties to Pompey, Caesar’s rival. They question why the citizens are not working and are instead out on the streets celebrating as if it were a holiday. Flavius and Marullus consider this behavior disrespectful to Pompey’s memory and dangerous for the stability of Rome.

 (II) Who are the “idle creatures”? Why are they called so? What makes the speaker ask if it is a holiday?
Answer :- The “idle creatures” referred to by Flavius are the common citizens of Rome who are out on the streets celebrating Caesar’s return and victory. They are called “idle creatures” because Flavius sees them as neglecting their duties and responsibilities by not working and instead indulging in festivities. Flavius considers their behavior irresponsible and disrespectful, particularly because it is a regular working day, not a holiday.
The speaker asks if it is a holiday because he finds it perplexing and inappropriate that the citizens are roaming the streets and celebrating as if it were a special occasion. He questions whether the citizens are aware that it is a regular laboring day and suggests that their behavior is not fitting for such a day. Flavius is astonished by the sight of the citizens neglecting their work and responsibilities, hence his inquiry about whether they think it’s a holiday.

(iII) Give the meaning of the following:

(a) Being Mechanical – In this context, “being mechanical” refers to being a worker or laborer who is involved in manual labor or trades that require physical work. It suggests that the citizens should be engaged in their respective professions or trades rather than idly wandering the streets.

(b) A Labouring Day – This phrase refers to a regular working day, a day when people are expected to engage in their occupations or labor. Flavius questions why the citizens are out celebrating when it is a day meant for work and productivity.

(c) Sign of Your Profession – This phrase indicates the characteristic items or attire associated with a particular occupation or trade. For example, a leather apron and a rule (measuring tool) would be typical signs of a carpenter’s profession. Flavius asks the citizens about the symbols or indicators of their trades to emphasize that they should be visibly engaged in their work rather than idling about.

(iV) Whom does Marullus address in the last line of the extract? What reply does he get? How does he react to the reply?

answer:- Marullus addresses a citizen in the last line of the extract. The citizen replies that he is a carpenter. Marullus reacts by questioning why the carpenter is not wearing his leather apron and carrying his rule, which are typical symbols of his profession. Marullus is surprised and disappointed by the citizen’s lack of adherence to the expectations of his trade.

(v) Giving an example each, show how Flavius and Marullus are men in authority. Who among them, do you think, exercises greater authority? Why?

Answer:- Flavius and Marullus both exhibit authority in their interactions with the citizens of Rome. An example of Flavius exercising authority is when he commands the citizens to “Hence! home, you idle creatures, get you home.” He demonstrates his authority by ordering the citizens to return home and not behave inappropriately.

Similarly, Marullus exercises authority when he questions the citizens about their professions and criticizes their behavior. For instance, he asks the carpenter why he is not wearing his leather apron and rule, indicating his expectation that citizens should visibly represent their trades.

In terms of greater authority, Marullus appears to exercise more direct authority in this particular scene. He is more assertive in his questioning and commands, while Flavius mainly echoes Marullus’s sentiments. However, both characters represent the authority of the tribunes in maintaining order and upholding the traditions of Rome.

Question No: 2

Second Citizen

A trade, sir, that I hope I may use with a safe conscience; which is, indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles.


What trade, thou knave? thou naughty knave, what trade?

Second Citizen

Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me: yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you.

(i) What is meant by a “trade”? Of which trade is the second citizen? What is the pun involved with the word “soles”?

Answer :- a) A “trade” refers to a particular occupation or profession that a person practices to earn a living. The Second Citizen mentions that he is a “mender of bad soles,” indicating that he is a cobbler or shoemaker who repairs damaged shoe soles.

b) The pun involved with the word “soles” is that it sounds like “souls.” While the Second Citizen is referring to repairing shoe soles, there’s a playful suggestion that he is also metaphorically “mending” or repairing souls, implying a moral or spiritual dimension to his work.

(II) Why does the Second Citizen think that he “may use” the trade with a safe conscience?
Answer :- The Second Citizen believes he can use the trade with a safe conscience because he is engaged in a morally upright profession. Cobbling, or repairing shoes, is not considered a dishonorable or unethical occupation. Therefore, the Second Citizen feels that he can practice his trade without compromising his morals or ethics, hence the expression of using the trade with a safe conscience.

(III) What is meant by “naughty knave” ? What does this expression tell us about the attitude of the Romans towards artisans? Give two more examples of such expressions from the scene.

 Answer:- “Naughty knave” is an expression used to reprimand or scold someone, in this case, the Second Citizen. “Naughty” implies mischievous or disobedient behavior, while “knave” is a term used to address a dishonest or untrustworthy person. In this context, Marullus uses the expression to express his frustration and disdain towards the Second Citizen’s response.

This expression suggests that the Romans, or at least Marullus in this instance, hold a somewhat condescending attitude towards artisans or commoners. The use of “naughty knave” indicates a dismissive and derogatory perception of the Second Citizen’s occupation as a cobbler.

Two more examples of such expressions from the scene are:

  1. “What, know you not, being mechanical, you ought not walk upon a labouring day without the sign of your profession?” – Flavius questions the citizens’ lack of adherence to their trades, implying that they are neglectful and unworthy of their occupations.
  2. “You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!” – Marullus insults the citizens, likening them to inanimate objects devoid of intelligence or understanding, further demonstrating a disdainful attitude towards them.

(iV) Give the double meaning intended in the following expression:

……..be not out with me: yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you.

answer:- The double meaning intended in the expression “be not out with me: yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you” is as follows:

Literal meaning: The Second Citizen is pleading with Marullus not to be angry or upset with him. He suggests that even if Marullus is indeed “out” or angry, the Second Citizen can mend or repair the situation, perhaps by offering his services as a cobbler.

Figurative meaning: The phrase “if you be out” can also be interpreted as meaning “if you are lacking or deficient,” suggesting that if Marullus is in need of improvement or repair, the Second Citizen can mend or improve him in some way. This interpretation adds a humorous and somewhat cheeky tone to the Second Citizen’s response.

(v) Give two characteristic traits, each with an example, of the common people in this scene.

Answer:- Two characteristic traits of the common people in this scene, along with examples, are as follows:

1. Fickleness:

   – Example: The common people, who were previously loyal to Pompey, quickly shift their allegiance to Caesar upon his return to Rome. They celebrate Caesar’s triumph without considering their previous loyalties, demonstrating their fickleness in their loyalties and allegiances.

2. Defiance:

   – Example: Despite being questioned and scolded by Flavius and Marullus for their behavior, the common people show defiance and cheekiness in their responses. For instance, the Second Citizen responds to Marullus’s questioning with a witty retort, indicating a reluctance to comply with authority and a willingness to stand up for themselves.

Question No: 3

Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?
What tributaries follow him to Rome,
To grace in captive bonds his chariot wheels?
You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!
O you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,
Knew you not Pompey?

(i) Who speaks these lines? To whom are these words addressed? What type of rejoicing is referred to in the extract?

Answer :- a) The lines are spoken by Marullus.
b) Marullus addresses the common people of Rome.
c) The rejoicing referred to in the extract is the celebration of Caesar’s return and victory.
(iI) Who is “he” referred to in the first line of the extract? What message does the speaker want to convey to his listeners through these questions?
Answer :- a) The “he” referred to in the first line of the extract is Julius Caesar.
b) Through these questions, the speaker (Marullus) wants to convey to his listeners that they are celebrating Caesar’s return and victory without understanding the implications of their actions. He questions the reasoning behind their rejoicing and aims to make them reflect on their loyalty and allegiance.

(iII) What is the conquest refered to in the extract? Why has the conqueror not brought any territory to Rome by his conquest?

 Answer:- a) The conquest referred to in the extract is Caesar’s victory over his adversaries, particularly Pompey.

b) The conqueror, Caesar, has not brought any territory to Rome by his conquest because he has not conquered any foreign lands or enemies. Instead, his victory is over his fellow Romans, including Pompey, in a civil war.

(iV) Give the meaning of :

What tributaries follow him to Rome,

To grace in captive bonds his chariot wheels?

answer:-  a) “What tributaries follow him to Rome, to grace in captive bonds his chariot wheels?” refers to Marullus questioning whether any defeated enemies or conquered territories are following Caesar to Rome as captives or offerings.

b) The phrase “tributaries” here refers to conquered people or territories that would traditionally pay tribute or submit to the victorious leader. Marullus wonders if Caesar’s triumph includes the display of captives or spoils of war being paraded in chains behind his chariot as a symbol of his victory.

(v) Who are referred to as “the cruel men of Rome”? Why are they called so ?

Answer:- a) “The cruel men of Rome” refers to the citizens of Rome who are celebrating Caesar’s return without regard for their previous allegiance to Pompey.

b) They are called “cruel” because they are deemed to be heartless and ungrateful for forgetting Pompey, who was once a revered leader of Rome. Marullus implies that their celebration of Caesar’s triumph is a betrayal of Pompey’s memory and a display of callousness towards their former loyalty.

Question No: 4


And when you saw his chariot but appear,
Have you not made an universal shout,
That Tiber trembled underneath her banks,
To hear the replication of your sounds
Made in her concave shores?
And do you now put on your best attire?
And do you now cull out a holiday?
And do you now strew flowers in his way,
That comes in triumph over Pompey’s blood?

(i) Whose chariot was seen? When? What did “you” do on seeing the chariot ?

Answer :- a) The chariot seen was Caesar’s.

b) It was seen at some point in the past, likely during Caesar’s previous triumphs or victories.

c) Upon seeing Caesar’s chariot, “you” (the common people) made a universal shout.

(iI) What is meant by “universal shout”? State in your own words what happened as a consequence of the shout.
Answer :- a) “Universal shout” refers to a loud and widespread outcry or cheer that is heard everywhere.
b) In this context, the consequence of the universal shout is depicted metaphorically as causing the Tiber River to tremble underneath its banks. It suggests that the people’s loud and enthusiastic cheering reverberated so strongly that it appeared to shake the very foundations of Rome, as symbolized by the river trembling.

(iII) What is meant by “Pompey’s blood”? Who comes now in triumph?

 Answer:- a) “Pompey’s blood” refers to the bloodshed and defeat of Pompey, a prominent Roman general and political rival of Caesar.

b) The person who comes now in triumph is Caesar himself, returning victorious over Pompey and his supporters.

(iV) How do the people now prepare for the triumphal entry of the person?

answer:-  The people now prepare for the triumphal entry of Caesar by putting on their best attire, declaring a holiday, and strewing flowers in his way. These actions are typically associated with celebrating and honoring a victorious leader’s return to Rome in triumph.

(v) What does the speaker want to achieve by his speech given in the extract ?

Answer:- The speaker, Marullus, wants to achieve several things through his speech in the extract:

  1. He wants to remind the common people of Rome of their previous allegiance to Pompey and the bloodshed that occurred during the civil war between Pompey and Caesar.
  2. He aims to criticize and rebuke the people for their sudden change in loyalty and their extravagant celebrations of Caesar’s triumph, which he sees as disrespectful to Pompey’s memory and Rome’s traditions.
  3. He intends to provoke the people to reflect on their actions and reconsider their support for Caesar, highlighting the fickleness and ungratefulness of their behavior.

Question No: 5


May we do so?
You know it is the feast of Lupercal.


It is no matter; let no images
Be hung with Caesar’s trophies. I’Il about,
And drive away the vulgar from the streets.
So do you too, where you perceive them thick.
These growing feathers pluck’d from Caesar’s wing
will make him fly an ordinary pitch;
Who else would soar above the view of men
And keep us all in servile fearfuln

(i) “May we do so?” What was Marullus supposed to do? Why?

Answer :- a) Marullus was supposed to decorate the city with images and decorations in celebration of the Feast of Lupercal.

b) He was supposed to do so because the Feast of Lupercal was a significant Roman festival, and it was customary to decorate the city on this occasion.

(iI) What was the feast of Lupercal? How was the feast normally celebrated?
Answer :- a) The Feast of Lupercal was a Roman festival celebrated on February 15th to honor Lupercus, the god of fertility and shepherds, as well as to purify the city and ward off evil spirits.
b) The feast was normally celebrated with rituals involving the sacrifice of goats and dogs, the smearing of blood on the foreheads of young men, and the running of a race around the boundary of the ancient Palatine Hill while whipping bystanders with strips of goat hide, known as “februa.”

(iII) What is meant by “trophies”? Why does Flavius say that no images should be hung with Caesar’s trophies?

 Answer:- a) “Trophies” refers to symbols or representations of Caesar’s victories or achievements.

b) Flavius says that no images should be hung with Caesar’s trophies because he opposes the glorification of Caesar and believes that Caesar’s rise to power should not be celebrated or embellished. He wants to discourage any display of reverence or adoration towards Caesar, as he fears that it could lead to Caesar becoming too powerful and oppressive.

(iV) Who are “the vulgar”? Why are they so called?

answer:-  a) “The vulgar” refers to the common people or the masses.

b) They are called “vulgar” because they are perceived as lacking refinement or sophistication, and they are considered to be easily swayed or influenced by populist leaders like Caesar.

(v) How does the scene (from which the above extract is taken) reflect the changing fortunes of men in power and how does it indicate the behaviour of the common people in Rome?

Answer:- The scene reflects the changing fortunes of men in power by illustrating the tension between traditional authority figures like Flavius and Marullus and the rising influence of Caesar. Flavius and Marullus represent the old guard who are wary of Caesar’s growing power and seek to restrain his influence. Meanwhile, the common people of Rome are depicted as fickle and easily swayed, initially celebrating Caesar’s triumph but later being influenced by Flavius and Marullus to question their allegiance. This indicates the behavior of the common people in Rome as being susceptible to manipulation and easily influenced by charismatic leaders or persuasive rhetoric.

24th April 2024
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