The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

In this Academic Expedition, students survey the politics and government of ancient Greece and ancient Rome as foundations for reading, interpreting, analyzing and enacting William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar.

Students will survey the foundations of democracy and survey tragedy as an art form that originates in ancient Greece. Students will further evaluate the play as a celebration of and/or violation of democratic principles. Students will also survey the context in which Julius Caesar was written, explore who Shakespeare was, consider why he is considered the leading dramatist of all times, and investigate the relevancy of his art and, in particular, this work to our culture and our language.

Since plays are designed to be performed, students are required to participate in drama exercises and performance. This expedition culminates in a PBAT.

Readings: 
The Tragedy of Julius Caesar
The U.S. Constitution (excerpted)
Media Used: 
“In Search of Shakespeare” PBS Home Video (excerpted)
"The Romans” PBS; Home Video (excerpted);
"The Greeks” PBS; Home Video (excerpted);
Julius Caesar (taped staging – if live performance is not possible)
Interim Assessments: 

Some of the PBAT questions below may also serve as interim assessments during the length of the course.

Significant Assignments: 

Weekly Journal Assignments. PBAT Drafts and Revisions.

Significant Activities or Projects: 

Student Self Assessment

Sample PBATs: 
Is The Tragedy of Julius Caesar an expression of the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of a democracy?
Can Julius Caesar be read as critique of the Elizabethan period?
Does civic duty outweigh personal loyalty or does personal loyalty outweigh civil duty?
Are citizens obligated to defend the rule of law through violence?
Should a society impose limits on its extraordinary citizens?