Grade 12 AP Language

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Plutarch’s Marcus Brutus (Reading and Questions for Thursday, 7/3)

February 28, 2013 by nathan · 8 Comments · Uncategorized

Please read Plutarch’s “Life of Marcus Brutus” for monday:

Please write down three things that are consistent between Plutarch’s work and Shakespeare’s work and three things that are inconsistent between the two.

8 Comments so far ↓

  • kylieapbuddyrox

    One of the most apparent similarities between the two texts is the sequence of the story line. It is clear that Shakespeare based his play almost exclusively on Plutarch’s narrative of “Lives of Julius Caesar” and “Marcus Brutus”. However, some differences are noticeable such as the change in language and dramatic format of the play. Humor and Irony are placed into context to make it more appropriate for his audience. Plutarch on the other hand is more factual and informative.

    • apsuiseidl

      In Plutarch’s very long, informative and verbose biography of Marcus Brutus, he sticks to what he knows: facts. When Brutus was born, who his father was, what was his role in the assassination of Caesar- all elements which Shakespeare also mentions in his play, and in addition to that, adding a personality and emotions to Brutus (one of the reasons why Julius Caesar is a work of fiction. The same way Capote did with the Clutter family in his novel In Cold Blood: he took facts and added details from his mind). The emotion behind the characters and the relationship between them (Plutarch did not mention Brutus’ love for Caesar the way Shakespeare did) is definetly the major inconsistency. Another good example of inconsistency is Shakespeare’s lack of following a precise timeline. In Plutarch’s work, he walks the reader through the life of brutus (hence he title of the work), whilst in Julius Caesar, Shakespeare bombards his readers with anachronisms. Finally, the last factor that contrasts these two pieces of writing is each author’s style of writing- Shakespeare is subject and romantic, while Plutarch is objective and realistic. The three common denominators of each texts are:
      1) The importance of Brutus and his life
      2) His role in Caesar’s death
      3) The outcome of the consiparicy.

  • kylieapbuddyrox

    One of the most apparent similarities between the two texts is their sequence of the story line. It is clear that Shakespeare based his play almost exclusively on Plutarch’s narrative of “Lives of Julius Ceaser” and “The Life of Marcus Brutus”. However, some differences are noticeable, such as the change in language and dramtic format of Shakespeare’s play. Humor and Irony are placed into context to make it more appropriate for his audience. Plutarch, on the other hand, is more factual and informative.

  • Carolina Velloso


    – Cassius wanted to conspire against Caesar because, as a fierce supporter of republicanism, he hated the idea of a tyrant in power.

    – Cicero is left out of the conspiracy in both the play and the biography.

    – Brutus’s last-minute uncertainty, evidenced by his nightmares and his wife Portia’s subsequent concern, is mentioned in both works.

    – In both works, Cinna the poet is slain after he is mistaken for Cinna the conspirator.

    – Both works confirm that, in his funeral oration, Antony uses his exceptional oratorical skill and a hint of melodrama to sway the public in Caesar’s favor: “his words moved the common people to compassion.”


    – In the play, Brutus is hesitant for a while about joining the conspiracy, while Plutarch affirms that he was an enthusiastic member from the start.

    – Plutarch states that Caesar adjourned the discussion of important issues in the Senate on the day of his assassination because “he was afraid of the unlucky signs of the sacrifices,” and even pretended to be sick. However, Shakespeare’s version holds that Artemidorus actually tries to warn Caesar of the conspiracy, but that Caesar dismisses him as crazy.

    – Although both works state that Antony (or “Antonuis”) was not killed because Brutus thought that it would not “be honest,” Plutarch goes further and says that Brutus also felt that there was “hope of change in him.”

  • Giordano Estevao


    - Plutarch seems more caring towards Caesar and does not depict him as someone bad, however Shakespeare shows him as a more selfish being.

    - Shakespeare emphasizes more on Antony’s importance than Plutarch does.

    - Caesar and Brutus’s relationship is better shown in Plutarch’s work, while for Shakespeare this relationship is there, but it’s never really shown concretely.


    - In both cases Brutus has a moment of hesitation because of this previously mentioned relationship between him and Caesar

    - Even though there are changes in the way this is shown in both works, Cleopatra and the God Cupid appear.

    - The story is kept pretty much the same, though its written in different ways, Plutarch seeming more informative and Shakespeare more entertaining.

  • anavmasterofferrets


    -Brutus is described as someone really virtuous in Plutarch’s work
    -The sighting of the spirit before the battle
    -The strife between Cassius and Brutus in the army camp


    -Cassius is actually married Brutus’ sister
    -They are moving around Europe and Asia in Plutarch’s work
    -Antonius defended Brutus’s purpose in killing Caesar

  • matiasalmeida

    -Porcia´s preocupation of her husband´s health is shown clearly in both texts.
    -The conspirators need, and display of secrecy is portrayed accuraetly in both
    -The eloquence of Brutus and Anthony in both texts is revealed in its full potential

    -During the attack on Caesar, brutus recieves a wound on his hand due to a badly directed blow from a fellow conspirator.
    -all of the conspirator´s in Plutarch version agree to kill Brutus, in Shakespeares version only Cassius spoke of it.
    - Cinna the poet, in Plutarch´s version has a dream about Caesar before he is killed the next day.

  • caiocaldas


    -In both works, there are innumerous signs that foreshadowed the assassination of Caesar, and warned him about it.

    -The major characteristics and virtues of both Brutus and Cassius are consistent in both works.

    -Antony’s persuasive oratory skills are mentioned in both works.


    -Caesar’s last words before he dies are not the same in the two works. In Plutarch’s he mentions Casca, while in Shakespeare’s he mentions Brutus.

    -In Plutarch’s version, we are given more details about other members of the conspiracy, while Shakespeare speaks mainly of Cassius and Brutus.

    -While Shakespeare describes the assassination of Caesar simply, as a quick death as the conspirators stab him, Plutarch tells more details, such as the fact that all conspirators wanted to take part in killing him, so they all stab Caesar in a tumult, even after he had already been killed by the first blows.

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