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Transcript
Julius Caesar
by William Shakespeare
Introduction
The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, also known simply as Julius Caesar, is
a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in
1599. It portrays the 44 BC conspiracy against the Roman dictator
Julius Caesar, his assassination and the defeat of the conspirators at the
Battle of Philippi. It is one of several Roman plays that Shakespeare
wrote, based on true events from Roman history, which also include
Coriolanus and Antony and Cleopatra.
Although the title of the play is Julius Caesar, Caesar is not the central
character in its action; he appears in only three scenes, and is killed at
the beginning of the third act. The protagonist of the play is Marcus
Brutus, and the central psychological drama is his struggle between the
conflicting demands of honour, patriotism, and friendship.
The play reflected the general anxiety of England over succession of
leadership. At the time of its creation and first performance, Queen
Elizabeth, a strong ruler, was elderly and had refused to name a
successor, leading to worries that a civil war similar to that of Rome
might break out after her death.
Summary of the play
Julius Caesar is a highly successful but
ambitious political leader of Rome and his
goal is to become an unassailable dictator.
Caesar is warned that he must "beware the
Ides of March" . The prophecy comes true
and Caesar is assassinated. Marcus Brutus is a
well respected Roman senator who helps plan
and carry out Caesar's assassination which he
believes will rid Rome of a tyrant. Caesar's
friend Mark Antony provides the famous
funeral oration ("Friends, Romans, and
countrymen…") Brutus and Cassius meet
their inevitable defeat. Brutus, the noble
Roman, whose decision to take part in the
conspiracy for the sake of freedom, plunges
his
country
into
civil
war.
Characters
• Julius Caesar
• Calpurnia: Wife of Caesar
• Octavius Caesar, Marcus Antonius, M. Aemilius
Lepidus: Triumvirs after the death of Julius Caesar
• Cicero, Publius, Popilius Lena: Senators
• Marcus Brutus, Cassius, Casca, Trebonius, Ligarius,
Decius Brutus, Metellus Cimber, Cinna: Conspirators
against Julius Caesar
• Portia: Wife of Brutus
• Flavius and Marullus: Tribunes
• Artemidorus: a Sophist of Cnidos
• A Soothsayer (Also called Fortuneteller)
Descriptions
About the Main Characters
Calpurnia
 Born 75 BC
 Daughter of Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus and
sister of Lucius Calpurnius Piso,
 A Roman woman and the third and last wife of Julius
Caesar.
 The great-granddaughter of a lieutenant of Lucius
Cassius Longinus, whose name was Lucius Piso.
 The grandfather of Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesonius
was killed by the Tigurini during the Gallic Wars, as
was Lucius Cassius Longinus.
Brutus
 Of Noble Heritage Brutus is a Roman nobleman, as
was his father
 Sincere: Brutus truly believes that his role in the
assassination is for the good of Rome
 Honest: He refuses to take bribes
 Naive: He believes in the essential goodness of those
around him
 Philosophical: His philosophies guide his actions and
decisions.
Cassius
Envious: Cassius has contempt for Caesar and envies Caesar's
position
Fearful: Cassius is afraid that Caesar has ambitions to be king. He
fears what might become of Rome in such an instance.
Politically Astute: He advises Brutus to assassinate Antony along
with Caesar. Understanding what can happen, he advises Brutus not to
allow Antony to speak at Caesar's funeral.
Corrupt: Prior to the battle at Philippi, he is accused by Brutus of
taking bribes
Military Strategist: His battle plan for Philippi is well thought out
and based on sound military principles
Marc Antony
Loyal to Caesar: Antony loved and admired Caesar
Clever: Antony pretends to befriend the conspirators and
asks that he be allowed to speak at Caesar's funeral
A skilled orator: Antony's speech at Caesar's funeral
sways the crowd
Hard: Antony's role in condemning men to death shows
he can be as cold hearted as he is passionate
 A skilled military leader: Antony has an equal voice in
planning the war against the legions of Brutus and Cassius
Julius Caesar
July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC
His Name
Gaius Julius Caesar
Julius was the
family name.
Gaius was his given
name, one of only
eight names which
could be given to
boys.
The name of Gaius’
branch of the Julius
family was “Caesar,”
which originally meant
“hairy.”
Hair.
The Julius family claimed to be descended from
Romulus, Aeneas, and thence Venus, which would
make them all partly divine.
However, his immediate family
was anything but godlike.
Although patricians, the
Caesars were so poor that
they lived among the
plebeians in an insula (bad
apartment) in the Subura, a
very poor part of Rome.
Apart from this, Caesar had a
healthy family life. Historians
say that he had a very good
mother, Aurelia, whom he
loved very much.
His father was
something of a
nobody, though he did
serve as praetor, and
he died when Caesar
was 15.
It is likely that Caesar was
beaten as a child, but this
was not uncommon, as
strict obedience was
extremely important to the
Roman family at the time.
THEMES
Major Themes
The major theme of Julius Caesar is that misused power is a
corruptive force. This is seen in the fact that Caesar is a dictator
suspected of being tyrannous, that Cassius is so power hungry that
he assassinates Caesar, hoping to become more powerful himself,
and that Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus become a dictatorial and
tyrannical Triumvirate, worse than Caesar ever hinted at being.
Minor Themes
• goodness of loyalty, honor, and friendship;
• the evil of pride, conspiracy, and anarchy;
• the logic of political order;
• and the viability of republicanism as a form of government.
His Antagonists
• Caesar's antagonists are Brutus, Cassius, and the other
conspirators who do not want him to become the head
of the Roman Empire.
• They plot to overthrow Caesar and assassinate him
outside the Capitol; he is an easy target because of his
fatal flaw - his extreme "hubris" or pride.
• Many times, Caesar is nearly saved by omens and
warnings, but he disregards them, thinking himself
infallible.
• He is so proud that he is easily flattered, leading him to
think less strategically and placing himself in grave
danger.
Famous Quotes / Quotations
"Friends, Romans, countrymen lend me your ears; I come to
bury Caesar, not to praise him". - (Act III, Scene II).
"But, for my own part, it was Greek to me". - (Act I, Scene
II).
"Cry "Havoc," and let slip the dogs of war". - (Act III, Scene
I).
"Et tu, Brute!" - (Act III, Scene I).
"Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more". (Act III, Scene II).
"Beware the Ides of March". - (Act I, Scene II).
"This was the noblest Roman of them all". - (Act V, Scene V).
Information provided about the
play
William Shakespeare never published any of his plays and
therefore none of the original manuscripts have survived.
Eighteen unauthorized versions of his plays were, however,
published during his lifetime in quarto editions by unscrupulous
publishers (there were no copyright laws protecting Shakespeare
and his works during the Elizabethan era). A collection of his
works did not appear until 1623 (a full seven years after
Shakespeare's death on April 23, 1616) when two of his fellow
actors, John Hemminges and Henry Condell, posthumously
recorded his work and published 36 of William’s plays in the
First Folio. Some dates are therefore approximate other dates are
substantiated by historical events, records of performances and
the
dates
plays
appeared
in
print.
About the Author
The English writer and poet William Shakespeare is considered the
greatest playwright of all time. Unfortunately, we don’t know many
details about his biography.
There are no portraits, pictures or drawings of Shakespeare while he
was still alive. Shakespeare married at 18 and wrote his first known play
when he was 25 years old; he also acted in some of the plays.
Shakespeare only finished grammar school and never studied in the
university.
There are over 80 different translations of his plays and poems. The
number of translations of Shakespeare’s works all over the world is
second only to the Bible.
More than 25,000 different words are used in the works of Shakespeare,
including many that he created. Most people use only 2,000 or 2,500
words in speaking and writing: so, Shakespeare used ten times the
normal amount of words!
A really surprising fact: the great writer’s wife and children were all
illiterate!
The Globe Theatre
This is the Globe Theatre, London. It’s a modern reconstruction
of the ancient theatre where Shakespeare’s company acted.
Unfortunately, a fire destroyed the original theatre in the 17th
century. The new Globe Theatre was opened to public in 1997.
The End