Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare


Summary: Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare is a play about the death of Julius Caesar on the Ides of March and the battles that ensue after.

Characters
Julius Caesar - honored and victorious leader of Rome
Octavius Caesar - adopted son of Caesar
Marcus Antonius - A leader following the assassination of Caesar
M Aemilius Lepidus - Powerless Triumvirs
Cicero - Senator
Publius - Senator who travels with Caesar on the day of his assassination
Popilius Lena - Senator
Marcus Brutus - Assassinates Caesar "for the good of Rome"
Cassius - conspirator against Caesar
Casca - conspirator and first to stab Caesar
Trebonius - conspirator against Caesar
Ligarius - reluctant at first but follows others in killing Caesar
Decius Brutus - convinces Caesar to go to Senate
Metellus Cimber - conspirator against Caesar
Cinna - helps in enlisting Brutus, conspirator against Caesar
Flavius - tribune
Marullus - tribune
Artemidorus - provides and unread letter to Caesar that would have saved his life
Cinna  - conspirator, poet
Lucilius - friend to Brutus and Cassius
Titinius - friend to Brutus and Cassius
Messala - friend to Brutus and Cassius
Young Cato - friend to Brutus and Cassius
Varro - servant to Brutus
Clitus - servant to Brutus
Claudius - servant to Brutus
Strato - servant to Brutus
Lucius - servant to Brutus
Dardanius - servant to Brutus
Pindarus  - servant to Cassius, messenger
Calphurnia - Caesar's wife
Portia - Brutus' wife
Senators, Citizens, Guards, Attendants, &c.

Act I, Scene I (Rome, A Street)

  • Flavius and Marullus interact with a few commoners and discuss the trade of a cobbler and a carpenter
  • Marullus tells of his disatisfaction that the commoners would rejoice the triumph over Pompey and he tells them to run to their houses and "pray to the gods to intermit the plague that needs must light on this ingratitude"
  • Flavius tells Marullus to go to the Capitol and "let no images be hung with Caesar's trophies"

Act I, Scene II (Rome, A Public Place)

  • Caesar leads a procession in Rome
  • Caesar is warned by a soothsayer to "Beware the ides of March" even when asked to stand before the light of Caesar's eyes; the soothsayer is also not taken seriously even though this is the prediction of Caesar's date of death; Caesar says, "He is a dreamer; let us leave him"
  • Brutus says to Cassius that "I  would not [have Caesar for king]" and Cassius implies that Caesar may be getting powerful by saying "Why should that name [Caesar]  be sounded more than yours?"
  • 'Marullus and Flavius, for pulling scarfs off Caesar's images, are put to silence" said Casca to Cassius
  •  Brutus questions Cassius' intent but says "To-morrow, if you please to speak with me, I will come home to you; or, if you will, Come home to me, and I will wait for you." which meant he would have a comment for Cassius the next time they speak
  • Under the notion that Caesar may be becoming more ambitious, Casca says, "Caesar's ambition shall be glanced at"

Act I, Scene III (Rome, A Street)

  • Cassius convinces Casca to join him by telling him about the ragged future of Caear by pointing out strange activity by Caesar.
  • Cinna stresses the fact that the "noble" Brutus must be won to the party
  • Cinna places on behalf of Cassius' cause fake letters where Brutus will find them to convince him of the cause; Cassius says,"Good Cinna, take this paper, and you lay it in the praetor's chair, where Burus may but find it

Act II, Scene I (Rome, Brutus' Orchard)

  • Not able to sleep, Brutus during the night (Brutus:"I have been up this hour, awake all night; Cassius:"I think we are too bold upon your rest) tells Lucius to go back to bed because the ides of March is "to-morrow"
  • Brutus finds a letter that says for him to "awake and see thyself. Shall Rome, &c. Speak, strike, redress! Brutus,thou sleep'st: awake!"
  • Shortly after finding the letter, a group of conspirators (Cassius, Casca, Decius, Cinna, Metellus Cimber, and Trebonius) come to discuss the assissination of Caesar
  •  Mark Antony is not to harmed; Brutus:"And, for Mark Antony, think not of him; for he can do no more than Caesar's arm when Caesar's head is off"
  • Portia is suspicious of Brutus and says that he is not sick but has a sick offense within his mind
  • Caius Ligarius follows Brutus to do a deed; Brutus:"What is it, my Caius, I shall unfold to thee as we are going to whom it must be done";Caius:"And I will strive with things impossible; yea, get the better of them. What's to do?"

Act II, Scene II (Rome, Caesar's House)

  • Calphurnia has a nightmare and in her sleep cries "'Help, ho! They murder Caesar!' Who's within?"
  • Calphurnia tells Caesar that he should not go the senate and say that he is ill because of her dream that fears her
  • Decius Brutus convinces Caesar to go as not to look cowardly; Decius Brutus:"If Caesar hide himself, shall they not whisper 'Lo! Caesar is afraid?'"

Act II, Scene III (Rome, A Street Near the Capitol)

  • Artemidorus stands in the street and waits for Caesar to pass, the paper warns Caesar of the "conspiracy"
  • Artemidorus:"If thou read this, O Caesar! thou mayst live; If not, the Fates with traitors do contrive."

Act II, Scene IV (Rome, Another Part of the same Street, before the House of Brutus)

  • Portia asks Lucius to "run to the Capitol" and "return to" her after finding not of what Caesar doth
  • The Soothsayer says that she shall "beseech him to befriend himself" and hopes to save Caesar from his impending doom
  • Portia asks the heavens to "speed thee in thine enterprise"

Act III, Scene I (Rome. Before the Capitol; the Senate sitting above)

  • Caesar says to the Soothsayer that the ides of March are come 
  • The Soothsayer says "Ay, Caesar; but not gone" meaning that the day is not yet over
  • Popilius says "I wish your enterprise to-day may thrive"
  • Cassius relays Popilius' message to Brutus and says "I fear our purpose is discovered" which means that their plans are discovered
  • Decius Brutus prevents Artemidorus from warning Caesar of the conspirators' plans 
  • When Caesar refuses to lift the banishment order of Metellus Cimber, the conspirators kill Caesar
  • Caesar says unto Brutus:"Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar!"
  • Mark Antony flees
Act III, Scene II (Rome. The Forum.)

  • The true feelings of Mark Antony are released unto those who will listen; Mark Antony:"I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them..."
  • It is realized by Mark Antony that Octavius is at Caesar's home in Rome and asks to  be brought to him

Act III, Scene III (Rome. A Street.)

  • Cinna is wrongly identified as a conpirator and citizens go to tear him and burn down the dwellings of Brutus, Cassius, Decius, Casca and Ligarius, the true conspirators.

Act IV, Scene I (Rome. Aroom in Antony's House.)

  • Mark Antony, Octavius and Lepidus decide who is to die including Lepidus' brother and Mark Antony's nephew
  • Mark Antony and Octavius make plans to make divide the world between the two of them and leave Lepidus out of the power loop: Mark Antony:"The three-fold world divided, he should stand One of the three to share it?"
  • Mark Antony and Octavius plan to spearhead against Brutus and Cassius, "the levying powers": Mark Antony:"Therefore let our alliance be combin'd"

Act IV, Scene II (Camp near Sardis. Before Brutus' Tent.)

  • Cassius arrives and discusses issues with Brutus which have made Cassius angry with Brutus;Cassius:"Most noble brother, you have done me wrong."
  • Brutus tell Cassius to speak softly about his issues until they meet in his tent at which time he could "enlarge" his "griefs" and "give" him "audience"
  • Titinius and Lucius guard the door

Act IV, Scene III (Within the Tent of Brutus.)

  • Brutus scolds Cassius for taking bribes; Brutus:"You yourself are much condemn'd to have an itching palm; to sell and mart your offices for gold to undeservers."
  • Cassius condemns Brutus for issues concerning Lucius Pella:Cassius:"You have condemn'd and noted Lucius Pella for taking bribes here of the Sardians"
  • Brutus forgives Cassius:Brutus:"And my heart too."
  • Mark Antony and Octavius is preparing to spearhead Brutus' and Cassius' troops
  • Senators are being slaughtered by Triumvirs
  • Brutus asks Lucius to play his instrument for him and Lucius says it is his duty to play, however, Brutus says "I should not urge thy duty past thy might; I know young bloods look for a time of rest."
  • Brutus' wife, Portia dies
  • Caesar's ghost tells Brutus that Caesar will be seen at Philippi

Act V, Scene I (The Planes of Philippi.)

  • The troops of Cassius and Brutus clash with that of Mark Antony and Octavius; Octavius:" Come come, the cause: if arguing make us sweat, the proof of it will turn to redder drops. Look; I draw a sword against conspirators"
  • The troops of Octavius and Mark Antony exit but not without and exultation by Octavius; Octavius:"If you dare fight to-day, come to the field; If not, when you have the stomachs"


Act V, Scene II (The Planes of Philippi. The Field of Battle.)

  • Brutus sends messenger, Messala to send bills (orders) to the other side;Brutus:"Ride, ride, Messala, ride, and give these bills unto the legions on the other side."
  • Brutus senses a lull in the forces of Octavius and wants to take advantage of the situation

Act V, Scene III (Another Part of the Field.)

  • As predicted by Brutus, he has defeated Octavius in battle; Brutus' forces now collect "spoil"(s) instead of helping Cassius' forces who have now become "enclos'd" by Mark Antony
  • Cassius sends Pindarus to verify "yond" troops as friend or enemy; Pindarus is now free and runs far away so no "Roman shall take note of him."; Titinius searches for Pindarus
  • Cassius dies and his body is meant to be sent to Thassos by Brutus' orders

Act V, Scene IV (Another Part of the Field.)

  • Lucilius is mistaken for Brutus and when he is discovered as not being Brutus Licilius says that "Brutus is safe enough: I dare assure thee that no enemy shall ever take alive the noble Brutus"
  • Mark Antony says to "Go on, and see whe'r Brutus be alive or dead"

Act V, Scene V (Another Part of the Field.)

  • Brutus, war torn, finds "peace" and a chance to breathe with few followers beneath him
  • Asking his followers Clitius, Dardanius and  Volumnius to kill him, they refuse and in the end he falls upon his own sword to kill himself:Brutus:"I kill'd not thee with half so good a will"
  • Octavius, Antony, Messala, Lucilius, and Army have arrived. 
  • Stratos tells Messala that "Brutus only overcame himself, and no man else hath honour by his death"
  • Mark Antony says this about Brutus:"This was the noblest Roman of them all"
  • Octavius says,"So, call the field to rest; and let's away, to part the glories of this happy day."


Other Notes

  • The ides of March is the name of March 15 in the Roman calendar. The term "ides" was used for the 15th day of the months of March, May, July and October. The Ides of March was a festive day dedicated to the god Mars. In modern times, the term Ides of March is best known as the date that Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C.
  • "Backstabbing" comes from the time when Julius Caesar was assassinated



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