|This page contains resources for teaching Julius Caesar, a play that continues to inspire debate on who is the true hero: Brutus or Caesar. Below you'll find links to resources from Folger Education that include Julius Caesar lesson plans, teaching tools, a podcast, and more.|
|Lesson Plans |
Folger Education offers lesson plans on Shakespeare's frequently taught plays, as well as lessons on introducing Shakespeare. Try the two plans below, or, for more lesson plans on Julius Caesar, visit the Lesson Plans Archive.
"Pre-Reading for Julius Caesar"
In this lesson plan, you'll cover NCTE standards 1, 3, 4, 5, and 8. The lesson encourages students to discuss friendship as a concept in their lives and as a major theme in the play.
"The Secret Life of Minor Characters"
In this lesson plan, you'll cover NCTE standards 3, 4, and 12 as students explore motivation and create "back stories" for the minor characters in the play.
The Folger edition of Julius Caesar includes facing-page notes and illustrations throughout the play; background information on the play, Shakespeare's life, theater, and times; notes on unfamiliar language, or words that meant something different in Shakespeare's day; and a scholarly assessment of the plays in light of today's interests and concerns.
Shakespeare's speech rhythms may be unfamiliar to students. Use the how-to link at right to watch students explore "Iambic Pentameter" with Folger Education's acting troupe Bill's Buddies.
The Folger exhibition Now Thrive the Armorers: Arms and Armor in Shakespeare focused on how real-world military changes influenced many of Shakespeare’s plays, including Julius Caesar. Use the links at right to visit the exhibition online.
For many students today, reading Shakespeare's language can be a challenge. Things to pay attention to in Julius Caesar :
In the opening scenes, Julius Caesar builds a location and a past history. Some words are unfamiliar because they are no longer used. Others have meanings that have changed. For example, the workingmen are referred to as "mechanical," which means they are "working men."
- unfamiliar words or words whose meanings have changed
- unfamiliar word order
- implied stage action
In Julius Caesar Shakespeare often uses sentence structures that separate words that normally appear together. This is often done to create a particular speech rhythm, or emphasize a certain word. For example, Flavius separates subject and verb when he says “Go you down." Caesar uses the same construction in "therefore are they very dangerous."
In reading any of Shakespeare's plays, remember that you are reading a performance script, not a dialogue. Some stage directions are implied in the text, but much of the meaning is given by how the text is performed.
About the Play
Julius Caesar was first printed in the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays in 1623.
To learn more, explore our Discover Shakespeare online resource, including the sections highlighted at right.
From the Collection
Julius Caesar Photo Gallery
teaching in action
Living Iambic Pentameter
Read the Play
Folger Digital Texts:
Now Thrive the Armorers: Arms and Armor in Shakespeare