Wednesday 12th June 2024

The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

LO: To consider what Tragedy means in Drama, and what we can infer

Write down three words you associate with the word Tragedy.

What does it make you think of?

CHALLENGE: "It is a tragedy that England has not won a World Cup since 1966."

↗️ Is this the right usage of the word? What does it tell you about the person using it?


In 2024, Netflix has more than 27,000 genres of film and TV available to watch.

But Shakespeare's audiences in 1600 only had three genres to choose from.


With you partner, brainstorm why you think there were only three genres of play in Shakespeare's time.

The Three Genres of Play

TASK: Based on the names of the genres, and the emoji clues, what would you expect to see in each type of play?

The mood, what the audience should feel, what happens to the characters etc...

πŸ‘°β€β™€οΈ πŸ‘‘ πŸ—‘οΈ

Copy down the boxes, adding your ideas. (Save Tragedy for later!)

Research and add examples of each genre


  • Mood: lighthearted
  • Audience should: laugh
  • The protagonist: gets married


  • Mood: serious
  • Audience should: cheer
  • The protagonist: becomes king


  • Mood: ?????
  • Audience should: ????
  • The protagonist: ?????
Wednesday 12th June 2024

Defining Tragedy

Which genre do you think each of these plays falls into?

Can you guess which play each line refers to?

  1. Star-crossed lovers, feuding families, sad end.
  2. Heir to throne becomes heroic king, conquers France.
  3. Mistaken identities, hilarious mix-ups, eventual reconciliation.
  4. Prince seeks vengeance, family conflicts, many perish.
  5. Aging king divides kingdom, family discord, heartbreaking downfall.
  6. Shipwrecked sorcerer, magical island, reconciliation and restoration.
  7. Cunning royal seizes throne, ruthless actions, new monarch defeats him.

Etymology Exploration




Meet Aristotle, the father of Drama

  • Lived in Ancient Greece, in the 4th Century BC (nearly 2000 years before Shakespeare)
  • Wrote widely on philosophy, science and literature
  • Invented theories for what good stories and drama should look like
  • Shakespeare would have studied his philosophy and plays at school

Aristotle's Rules (from The Poetics)

A tragedy, then, should be:

  • an imitation of events that are serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude;
  • in the form of action, not of narrative;
  • able to create feelings of pity and fear in the audience.
  • an exploration of a character's shocking reversal of fortune

Using the information above, fill in the blank TRAGEDY box from earlier.

Making predictions

PLENARY: If our play this term is called The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, what do we expect to see in it?

Wednesday 12th June 2024

Tragic Heroes

In your own words, define what a good tragedy should include (according to Aristotle)

What job do you think Aristotle would have if he were alive in 2024? Why?

Like and subscribe for more TRAGEDY

Write a script for a guide on how to make a great tragedy.

Record your guide in the style of a YouTuber.

  • What should your audience feel?
  • What should you write it about?
  • What sort of characters?
  • What events should take place?
Wednesday 12th June 2024

Populism and its enemies

LO: to consider why we might be afraid of what's popular

If something is popular, does that mean it's automatically good? Think of some examples!

"Fortnite has the most players, therefore it's the best game." Is this a logically correct way to think?

Republic versus Monarchy


  • Rule by kings and queens
  • Power is inherited
  • The king's son becomes the next king, and so on...
  • All power rests in the one ruler: the monarch

REPUBLIC πŸ‘­πŸ‘¬πŸ—³οΈ

  • Rule by 'the public'
  • Rulers are chosen, sometimes with votes
  • No one inherits power
  • Ultimately, power rests in the people (in theory...)

Write down two advantages and two disadvantages for each system. Think from the perspective of the ruler, the people and the country as a whole!

Wednesday 12th June 2024

A Brief History of Rome

LO: To consider the historical context for Shakespeare's play

Define the main differences between Monarchy and a Republic

If you were a poor Roman, which would you prefer? Why?

From Kings to Consuls

πŸ‘‘ The Romans kicked out their final king (Tarquin Superbus), and founded the Roman Republic.

πŸ—³οΈ The Republic was led by The Senate, a sort of Parliament made up of all the powerful men in Rome, voting on decisions.

πŸ‘¬ They decided the laws of the city, and appointed consuls - temporary leaders - to help run things.

⌚ Consuls had strict limits on how long they could be in charge, and on what they could do.

😈 Above all, the Senate wanted to avoid one man having all the power in the city: a tyrant.

The Roman Republic was very successful; conquering its neighbours and expanding its control across the Mediterranean.

Its army of Legionaries was the strongest in the world.

The city grew rich and prosperous on the treasures its generals brought home.

Hail Caesar!

400 years after the last King of Rome had been kicked out, the Senate started worrying about a new man...

Julius Caesar

Caesar was a great general who'd led Rome's armies to conquer much of what we'd now call France.

The Roman people loved his victories, his speeches, and his generous gifts most of all.

Why would this worry the Senate?

Wednesday 12th June 2024

"Should Caesar be a Tyrant?"

LO: To consider how Shakespeare presents the conflict of Senate vs Caesar

Why was the Roman Republic set up? What did they want to avoid and how would they do it?

If you were the average Roman, would you like Caesar or the Senate more? Why?

The Triumphal Arch

Whenever a general like Caesar won a great victory, they would parade through the city. The parade would include:

  • Soldiers from the victorious army
  • Prisoners captured from the defeated army
  • Gold, treasures, etc looted from the defeated
  • ...and the general at the front, riding a horse.

Write a four sentence descriptive paragraph from the perspective of a Roman, watching Caesar's victorious march into the city.

The play begins

  • Shakespeare's play starts in Rome
  • Julius Caesar has just returned from another victorious war
  • The Roman people are in the streets, celebrating and calling him a hero
  • Two senators - Brutus and Cassius - can hear the shouting, and they are worried...

Write two sentences of stage directions, telling a director what the stage should look like in this first scene.

BRUTUS: Another general shout?
I do believe that these applauses are
For some new honours that are heap’d on Caesar.
Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs, and peep about
To find ourselves dishonourable graves.
Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

What phrase is used to describe Caesar? What does it suggest about how he's seen in Rome?

Wednesday 12th June 2024

The Language of Power

LO: To consider how Shakespeare uses language to present the attitudes of the characters

What methods did the Roman Republic have in place to stop individuals becoming tyrants?

What methods do you think we have today?

And why should Caesar be a tyrant then?
Poor man! I know he would not be a wolf,
But that he sees the Romans are but sheep...
What trash is Rome,
What rubbish, and what offal, when it serves
For the base matter to illuminate
So vile a thing as Caesar!

Which three words here are the most important? Copy them down, with a little note about why each word matters and what it means.

How would the People feel if they heard what Brutus and Cassius were saying?

Zooming in on language

Poor man! I know he would not be a wolf,
But that he sees the Romans are but sheep

Copy down this quote.

Then, answer these questions:

  1. Who does Cassius compare to which animals in this section?
  2. What does each of these comparisons suggest about the people?
  3. Is Cassius being serious when he says 'poor man'?

Write a reply to this comment for Brutus

Plenary: The People or The Republic?

Should the senators try to stop the rise of Caesar, if the people love him? Surely the people are more important than the idea of the Republic?

Write a short speech from Cassius, addressing the crowds of Romans.

Wednesday 12th June 2024

Caesar's Dreams

LO: to consider how Shakespeare presents Caesar's uncertainties

Summarise what you remember about Julius Caesar from earlier in the term.

Can you remember any of the lines of Cassius and Brutus?

Hints of what's to come


A technique used in fiction, when there are clues and references to future events.

Pathetic Fallacy

A technique used in fiction, when the environment reflects the emotions of the story.

Without using your devices, what do you think each of these terms means?

Can you think of an example from a film/TV/book?

PREMONITION = Noun; a feeling that something (bad) is going to happen
Wednesday 12th June 2024

Caesar's Premonitions

LO: To consider how Shakespeare uses language to present the character of Caesar

Why might Caesar be worried about the Senators?

If you were Caesar, would you return to Rome after your latest conquest?

Can you remember what pathetic fallacy means?

Caesar in Rome

  • Caesar has been praised by the people, but the senators are suspicious
  • Cassius, Brutus and other senators have started a conspiracy to murder Caesar
  • Caesar is now at home with his wife, Calpurnia, but cannot sleep...

Are the senators justified in plotting to kill Caesar?

SCENE II. A room in Caesar’s palace.

Thunder and lightning. Enter Caesar, in his nightgown
CAESAR: Nor heaven nor earth have been at peace tonight:
Thrice hath Calpurnia in her sleep cried out
β€œHelp, ho! They murder Caesar!”

Why does Shakespeare start the scene with "Thunder and Lightning"? What does it make the audience think or feel?

How would an audience in 1600 have felt different, compared to an audience today?

Calpurnia: What mean you, Caesar? Think you to walk forth?
You shall not stir out of your house today.
CAESAR: Caesar shall forth. The things that threaten’d me
Ne’er look’d but on my back; when they shall see
The face of Caesar, they are vanished.
Calpurnia: Caesar, I never stood on ceremonies,
Yet now they fright me... I do fear them!
CAESAR: What can be avoided
Whose end is purpos’d by the mighty gods?
Yet Caesar shall go forth

Describe Calpurnia's emotions here, and use two quotations to show how you know this.
Do the same for Caeasar