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Act I The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. On your noteguide, write your own definition for the word “pun.”. Examples of Puns.
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Now, look down the center of your noteguide at each of the sentences marked by a diamond. Each one of these sentences will be a pun--when you have filled in the blank to complete the sentence.
Now, you try the other puns on your own.
In democracy your vote counts. In feudalism your count ____.
In democracy your vote counts. In feudalism your count votes.
A midget fortune-teller who escapes from prison is a small ________ at large.
A midget fortune-teller who escapes from prison is a small medium at large.
Did your definition of “pun” allow for each of the previously cited examples?
PUN A rhetorical wordplay in which the writer surprisingly reveals that words with totally different meaning have similar or even identical sounds
Remember the one thing that Shakespeare and other Elizabethan playwrights HAD to take care of right at the beginning of their plays:
fight In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare uses a _______ to get their attention. ghost In Hamlet, he uses a ___________ to get their attention. witches In Macbeth, he uses ___________ to get their attention.
In The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, however, Shakespeare uses _______ to get the attention of this rowdy bunch. puns
In your notes, identify the puns that the plebeians use to get the best of the tribunes.
Lines 10 and 11 • “workman” verses “cobbler” The word “workman” implies that the cobbler is a skilled worker; however, a “cobbler” (besides being someone who repairs shoes) is somebody who messes up everything he tries to do.
Lines 13 and 14 • “safe conscience…mender of bad soles” The wordplay here is on the homophone “soles”—which, when used after the word “conscience,” sounds like “souls”; however, we know that since the speaker is a cobbler, he speaks in reality of the soles of shoes.
Lines 17 and 18 • When the cobbler tells Flavius to “be not out with him,” he actually means for Flavius to not be angry with him; however, when he says “yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you,” he speaks of fixing the soles of the shoes that are worn out.
Line 21 • When Marullus asks what the cobbler means when he says that he can “mend him,” the cobbler replies by saying “Why, sir, cobble you.” Taken in the connotative meaning of the word, the cobbler is saying that he’s “messing up” the tribune—which he’s doing verbally.
Lines 23 through 28 • The pun in the lines is with the word “awl,” which is a tool. But the way it was heard would have been “all.” • In addition, he says that he meddles with no “women’s matters,” which is an off-color pun.
Lines 31 through 33 • When Flavius asks why the cobbler leads the men about the streets, he tells them that he’s trying to get himself more work by wearing out the men’s shoes.