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Introduction to “Julius Caesar”
By William Shakespeare
Julius Caesar terms
• Monarch- a person who reigns over a
kingdom or empire, usually for life and by
hereditary succession
• Republic- government in which power
resides in citizens who are entitled to vote.
• Dictatorship-government in which absolute
authority or power resides in one man.
Terms cont.
• Patricians- nobles; wealthy people
• Plebeians- commoners; poor people
• Groundlings- the poor, commoners within
a society while attending the plays at the
Globe Theater
Terms cont.
• Legions- a very large number or multitude
of devoted followers.
• Tribunes- Roman official under the
monarchy and the republic
• Triumvirate- a group, party, or association
of three
Terms cont.
• Conventions- a formal meeting or
assembly, as of a political party
Shakespeare/ Caesar
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
• Birthplace: Stratford-on-Avon, near
London
• Prominent family
• Married Anne Hathaway-had 3 children
• Lived during the Elizabethan era
• Career: actor, playwright, poet
businessman
Shakespeare cont.
• Acting troupe:
– The Chamberlain’s Men (Lord Chamberlain)
– The King’s Men (King James I)
• Globe Theater- 1599
• Retired to hometown –died on his birthday
Shakespeare’s Epitaph
Good friend, for Jesus’ sake
forbear, to dig the dust
enclosed here. Blest be the
man that spares these stones,
and curst be he that moves my
bones.
Shakespearean Stage
• Plays performed in daylight in traveling
wagons
• Globe Theater
Globe Theater
Globe Theater
•
•
•
•
•
Octagon shape
Balcony seats for wealthy
Standing room for groundlings (poor)
Two backstage doors-dressing rooms
Back stage-behind curtain-caves, bedrooms,
tombs
• Upper balcony
• Minimal scenery/props, but lavish, expensive
costumes
Globe Theater today
Shakespearean Audience
• Monarchy form of government
– Rulers chosen by God
– Superior
– Source or order, stability
• Believed in ghosts
• Believed in nature responded to human
moods
Language Poetry
• Early Middle English
– Thee, thou, thine
– What, know ye not?
– Old contractions: ‘tis
– Epithets: Ye gods
• Poetry rather than prose
• Blank verse, unrhymed iambic pentameter
History
• Caesar born in 100/102 BC
• Rome founded in 753 BC by King
Romulus
• Ancestor of Brutus overthrew the last
Tarquin family kings, which ended the
monarchy
History
• Rome formed a Republic (power shared
by two groups)
– Patricians (nobles)
– Plebeians (commoners)
• Rome became leader of Mediterranean
world
Map of the Mediterranean World
• http://www.uncg.edu/cla/maps/mediterrane
an.htm
History
• First century BC-Republic began
crumbling
– Civil wars
– Government wavered between a monarchy,
republic, and dictatorship
– Julius Caesar rose to power
History
• 85 BC- Caesar’s only legitimate child, a
daughter, Julia, was born
• 60 BC- Caesar formed a triumvirate (a
ruling authority of 3 people)
– Original triumvirate:
• Caesar, Crassus, Pompey
History
• 59 BC-Caesar arranged a marriage
between his daughter, Julia, to Pompey to
consolidate their triumvirate alliance
• 58 BC-Caesar made governor of Gaul,
doubling Rome’s empire
• 54 BC- Crassus killed in battle
• Senate and Pompey ordered Caesar’s
return, fearing growing power
History
• Caesar attacked Italy, then Greece
• Pompey fled to Egypt in fear
• Caesar’s rise to dictator
– 48 BC: dictator for 1 year
– 46 BC: dictator for 10 years
– 45 BC: dictator for life
• This is the situation in Rome when play
begins