Activity Overview

In this activity, students will compare and contrast two characters in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. Students will use the text to compile a list of motivations, traits, and beliefs for each character. With a T-Chart or Venn Diagram, students will describe and illustrate the similarities and differences between the two characters of their choice, focusing on beliefs, actions, motivations, and traits for each character. This activity can be done after completing a character map in order to provide a starting point for character research. It can also be a perfect way to gather evidence and examples for an essay or paper.

As an extended activity, have students research the historical counterparts of characters like Caesar or Marc Antony and have them compare and contrast how the character is portrayed in the play to how they actually were in real life.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a storyboard identifying the similarities and differences between two characters in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Label each column header with the characters of your choice.
  3. In each cell header, type "Beliefs", "Traits", "Power", "Motivation", or any other aspect you are comparing.
  4. Describe the aspects for each character. If they're similar, feel free to drag a textable shape down to cover both columns.
  5. Illustrate each example with appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
  6. Save and exit when you're done.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/3] Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/9] Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work (e.g., how Shakespeare treats a theme or topic from Ovid or the Bible or how a later author draws on a play by Shakespeare)
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/9-10/6] Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Compare and Contrast
Create a storyboard that compares the similarities and differences between two things.
Proficient Emerging Beginning
Comparison Analysis
Text and images include a clear explanation of similarities and/or differences between the categories or topics. These comparisons go beyond superficial elements and show strong understanding.
Text and images include an explanation of similarities and/or differences between the categories or topics, but the explanation may lack clarity or show only superficial understanding in some squares.
Text and images may include no explanation of similarities and/or differences, or they may make only superficial or inaccurate comparisons.
Storyboard Image and Effort
Student clearly shows effort to convey the setting, characters and specific scene of the book. The scene is clearly identifiable based on the graphic depiction.
Student attempts to convey the setting, characters, and specific scene through use of graphics, but the depiction may be confusing, disordered, or lack some detail.
Student does not clearly convey the setting, characters, and scene.
Spelling and Grammar
Student uses exemplary spelling and grammar. There are no errors.
Student makes one or two minor errors in spelling and grammar.
Student makes multiple errors in spelling and grammar.

How To Use Different Elements For Character Comparison

1 Pick Characters

Ask the students to make a list of potential and main characters for comparison. Divide the class into different groups and ask each group to pick two or more than two characters.

2 Use Basic Elements

Students can start the comparison by using essential elements such as character traits, motivations, goals, and beliefs. Later they can move on to more complex and abstract concepts.

3 Analyze Language and Dialogue

Examine the verbal and nonverbal cues that characters use. Do they employ any particular linguistic tics, timbres, or rhetorical strategies? How do interactions and personalities come through in their communication?

4 Investigate Arcs and Development

Analyze the development of each character throughout the narrative. Do their attitudes, habits, or beliefs change? Do they increase or decrease? Think about how their character development impacts the story as a whole.

5 Encourage Collaborative Projects

After a thorough analysis, students can use the acquired information to make interesting and engaging projects based on the differences between characters. For instance, if a group picked Brutus and Anthony for comparison, they can write two poems on the same topic but from the point of view of two different characters.

6 Organize a Gallery Walk

Create a gallery walk where students can exhibit their artistic interpretations, projects, and character evaluations. Students can wander about the classroom, share knowledge, and ask questions. This will create an interesting platform for discussion in a much more engaging way.

Frequently Asked Questions About Comparing Characters in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

What shared traits did Mark Antony and Julius Caesar have?

Julius Caesar and Mark Antony were both charming and powerful leaders who won their supporters' allegiance. They have passion and are effective public speakers who can influence large audiences. Both people are also very important to Rome's power structure and history.

How can I evaluate the rhetorical strategies used by Brutus and Antony's characters?

Students can examine how Brutus and Antony use rhetoric to further their objectives. Encourage them to think about how they address the crowd's emotions, how they employ Ethos, Pathos, and Logos in their speeches, and how their words affect the attitudes of the Roman populace.

What distinguishes Brutus and Cassius' personality from one another?

Brutus is shown as a noble and idealistic individual who struggles with his role in Caesar's murder. On the other hand, Cassius is more pragmatist, cunning, and motivated by self-interest. Students can examine how these variations impact their behavior and relationships.

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