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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Beware the Ides of March


Who do you think the people are in the picture above? What do you think is happening?


"Beware the Ides of March!" a fortune teller warned Julius Caesar in Shakespeare's play named after the Roman emperor.

The play tells of the assassination of Caesar by his colleagues. It has given us many famous sayings. Match the saying to it's meaning or use:

By the way, what ARE "The Ides of March"? Rome used a solar calendar, but it is believed that the ides was a reminder of the full moon on an old lunar calendar. So march 15 is the Ides of March; some months it is the 15th day, and others the 13th; but that calendar is not used anymore.

a. But, for my own part, it was Greek to me
b. A dish fit for the gods
c. Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.
d. Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar!
e. Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears…."

1. used when a friend "betrays" us, usually jokingly
2. used when we don't understand something
3. used at the beginning of a speech
4. describes delicious foods
5. a person who is not brave suffers from his fear


The "people" in the picture above are the ghost of Julius Caesar and his former friend, Brutus. Caesar is haunting Brutus because he is one of the people who killed Caesar.


What would you say when:

1. when someone uses a big word
2. when your friend says he or she won't explain to your husband / wife / boyfriend / girlfriend why you were out late last night
3. when your host serves you something special
4. when testing a microphone
5. when your friend says he can't come to your party, and many others have also said "no thanks"


1. Have you read any plays by Shakespeare? What do you think of the language?
2. What do you know about Julius Caesar? Describe his life.
3. Make up stories to use the expressions above.


1. d; the words Caesar said as his friend Brutus stabbed him.
2. a; just as we can't understand many foreign languages
3. e; the beginning of the speech Marc Antony gave after Caesar was dead
4. b; better than human food
5. c; because the coward (fearful person) can imagine terrible things happening to him


Suggested answers:

1. What? That's Greek to me!
2. Wow. "Cowards die many times before their deaths," ya know.
3. That looks great! A dish fit for the gods!
4. "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!"
5. "Et tu, Brute?" Man, NObody's coming!

This lesson is ©2012 by James Baquet. You may share this work freely. Teachers may use it in the classroom, as long as students are told the source (URL). You may not publish this material or sell it. Please write to me if you have any questions about "fair use."

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