Although Julius Caesar is traditionally divided into five acts, Shakespeare did not write it in acts, but in scenes, probably pretty much as the scene divisions appear in modern editions of the play. These are ‘English scenes’ — scenes that continue until all characters exit, leaving the stage clear for a new scene to begin. Although some disagreement is possible over scene division, especially for the rapid shifts of the battle in Act V, generally speaking an English scene, long or short, contains a complete episode. Yet for purposes of analysis (and probably for Shakespeare when writing), it is useful to consider what we now call ‘French scenes’ — scenes that continue only until any character leaves the stage, or a new character enters. Act I, scene i, for instance, is a single English scene but contains at least two French scenes (three if the commoners enter prior to Flavius and Marullus). The diference in stage activity, mood, rhythm, and content between the final French scene, with just the two anxious tribunes talking alone, and the preceding confrontation with the commoners, gives a clear sense of the importance of French scenes as units of playmaking and analysis. They are also usually the basic units of rehearsal of a play.
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