2 Matching Annotations
  1. Jun 2017
    1. CINNA. Truly, my name is Cinna. FIRST CITIZEN. Tear him to pieces! he’s a conspirator. CINNA. I am Cinna the poet, I am Cinna the poet. FOURTH CITIZEN. Tear him for his bad verses, tear him for his bad verses. CINNA. I am not Cinna the conspirator. FOURTH CITIZEN. It is no matter, his name’s Cinna; pluck but his name out of his heart, and turn him going. THIRD CITIZEN. Tear him, tear him! Come; brands, ho! firebrands. To Brutus’, to Cassius’; burn all. Some to Decius’ house, and some to Casca’s, some to Ligarius’: away, go!

      While not the most profound scene, the misunderstanding of Cinna's true nature adds humour to the play, and highlights the aftermath of Caesar's death.

      Mark Antony's speech at the Senate House ignited a passionate and bloodthirsty vengeance within the Plebeians. This vengeance is so intense that even when Cinna explains that he is a poet, the citizens choose to disregard the fact and instead "tear him for his bad verses!"

      The passion of the people is also a representation of Mark Antony's rhetoric, which is plausible to also be called manipulation. He appeals to the emotions and the values of society to catalyse his own ascension. This leaves the conspirators to flee for their safety in fear of being tortured by the 'firebrands'.

      While the impetus of the public's actions are fairly just, it can be argued that their excessive use of brutality, including attacking innocent citizens, removes some of the legitimacy behind their campaign.

    1. What trade, thou knave? Thou naughty knave, what trade?

      The scornful treatment of the Plebeians by the tribunes is a clear indication of the class distinction that was present during the Roman, and more appropriately, the Elizabethan eras. The noblemen's internal prejudices create perceptions of the commoners as 'naughty knaves', 'hard hearts' and the 'cruel men of Rome'.

      Flavius and Murellus' reprimand of the tradesmen for truanting a workday further solidifies their belief that a labourer's sole purpose is menial work. Shakespeare uses the context to express the irony of this hierarchy; the commoners are distinguished by stupidity, although it is the tribunes that fail to understand the meaning behind the cobbler's puns.

      Ultimately this scene serves to characterise the Plebeians and their purpose in the play. The constant defamation from the higher classes outline the insignificance of the commoners in regards to the more serious issues of the story.