Shakespeare's Julius Caesar Act 3 Scene 3 - I am Cinna the poet
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Julius Caesar

Please see the bottom of the page for full explanatory notes and helpful resources.

 Enter CINNA the poet. 
CINNA THE POET I dreamt to-night that I did feast with Caesar, 
 And things unlucky charge my fantasy: 
 I have no will to wander forth of doors, 
 Yet something leads me forth.
 Enter Citizens. 
First Citizen What is your name? 5 
Second Citizen Whither are you going? 
Third Citizen Where do you dwell? 
Fourth Citizen Are you a married man or a bachelor? 
Second Citizen Answer every man directly.
First Citizen Ay, and briefly. 10 
Fourth Citizen Ay, and wisely. 
Third Citizen Ay, and truly, you were best. 
CINNA THE POET What is my name? Whither am I going? Where do I 
 dwell? Am I a married man or a bachelor? Then, to
 answer every man directly and briefly, wisely and 
 truly: wisely I say, I am a bachelor. 
Second Citizen That's as much as to say, they are fools that marry: 
 you'll bear me a bang for that, I fear. Proceed; directly. 
CINNA THE POET Directly, I am going to Caesar's funeral. 20
First Citizen As a friend or an enemy? 
CINNA THE POET As a friend. 
Second Citizen That matter is answered directly. 
Fourth Citizen For your dwelling,--briefly. 
CINNA THE POET Briefly, I dwell by the Capitol. 25
Third Citizen Your name, sir, truly. 
CINNA THE POET Truly, my name is Cinna. 
First Citizen Tear him to pieces; he's a conspirator. 
CINNA THE POET I am Cinna the poet, I am Cinna the poet. 29 
Fourth Citizen Tear him for his bad verses, tear him for his bad verses.
CINNA THE POET 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. 34 
Third Citizen Tear him, tear him! Come, brands ho! fire-brands: 
 to Brutus', to Cassius'; burn all: some to Decius'
 house, and some to Casca's; some to Ligarius': away, go! 

Next: Julius Caesar, Act 4, Scene 1


Explanatory Notes for Act 3, Scene 3
From Julius Caesar. Ed. Samuel Thurber. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.



Scene 3

This scene, which shows us the rage of the mob in its lawless violence, evidently follows directly after Antony has left the citizens to run their riot of burning and killing.

1. to-night: last night, -- as in II, 2, 76, where Caesar said that Calpurnia "dreamt to-night she saw my statue."

2. things unlucky charge my fantasy: things of bad omen weigh on my imagination.

3. forth of doors: out of doors.

9. directly: clearly, explicitly. Do you remember where Marullus said to one of this same group of Roman citizens, "Answer me directly"?

18. you'll bear me a bang for that. That is, you'll get a whack from me for saying that.

27. Cinna. The conspirator was Cornelius Cinna; this is Helvius Cinna.

34. turn him going: let him go.


How to cite the explanatory notes and scene questions:
Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar. Ed. Samuel Thurber. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1919. Shakespeare Online. 26 Feb. 2013. < >.

Scene Questions for Review

microsoft images 1. Is this scene necessary to the development of the plot? Would you omit it on the stage today?

2. Explain how this scene might be made the conclusion of Scene 2.

3. What is there rather grim and even a bit humorous in this short scene?

4. Can you see how this scene may serve as a means of "comic relief" in the unbroken course of tragedy? (Compare this with the famous Porter's Scene in "Macbeth.")


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Plutarch's Julius Caesar... "There was one of Caesar's friends called Cinna, that had a marvellous strange and terrible dream the night before. He dreamed that Caesar bad him to supper, and that he refused and would not go: then that Caesar took him by the hand, and led him against his will. Now Cinna, hearing at that time that they burnt Caesar's body in the market-place, notwithstanding that he feared his dream, and had an ague on him besides, he went into the market-place to honour his funerals. When he came thither, one of the mean sort asked him what his name was? He was straight called by his name. The first man told it to another, and that other unto another, so that it ran straight through them all, that he was one of them that murthered Caesar: (for indeed one of the traitors to Cæsar was also called Cinna as himself) wherefore taking him for Cinna the murtherer, they fell upon him with such fury that they presently dispatched him in the market-place." -- Plutarch.


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