Melissa Hagan English 12 Mrs. Bagwell 18 August 2003 William Shakespeare’s- Julius Caesar William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar tells about the tragic life of Rome’s dictator, Julius Caesar. This play was the first of its kind. Before, most plays had been comedies. Shakespeare was the first to attempt to write tragic plays. The tragic play Romeo and Juliet, ends with the death of the main characters.
Unlike Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar ends two acts after the death of the main character. The play is very unique because of this fact. William Shakespeare was born, at Stratford-on-Avon, in April 1564. He married Ann Hathaway in 1582. William and Ann had three children: a daughter and twins, a boy and girl (Masefield ix).
His family having little money to survive on, Shakespeare moved to London to find a job.
In London, Shakespeare established himself as an excellent playwright and actor. Within two years of moving to London, he had become the owner of an acting company known as Lord Chamberlin’s Men (Safier, “English” 164).
“In 1599, Shakespeare’s company built the famous Globe theater, where most of the best-known plays were performed” (Safier, “English” 164).
... the public wants justification. Act III Scene ii of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar begins with Brutus’ speech that attempts to ... validate his murderous act. He claims that Caesar was a tyrant ... funeral oration. This oration is said to be some of Shakespeare’s finest writing. The meticulous lucubration that encompasses ...
In theater is where Julius Caesar was first performed (Safier, “Appreciation” 537).
Over the next eleven years several plays were performed in this theater. In 1610, Shakespeare retired and moved back to Stratford.
“He died in Stratford on April 23, 1616” (Safier, “Appreciation” 537).
What inspired Shakespeare to write the play Julius Caesar? Only Shakespeare himself can answer this question. One author believes that .”.. a door (was) opened to a power such as no poet has known” (Masefield 4).
“Critics and scholars are in fair agreement that it was with this play (Julius Caesar) that the new power was first shown” (Masefield 4).
No one really knows why Shakespeare wrote this play.
The source of his information is known, though. Shakespeare used a translated version of Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans to write the play Julius Caesar (Safier, “Appreciation” 535).
“Plutarch was a Greek historian who wrote during the first century A. D.” (Safier, “Appreciation” 536).
The first publication and performance is crucial to any play. The play Julius Caesar is no different. When the play was first performed in The Globe, it showed a side of Shakespeare that no one had seen before (Masefield 4).
No one knows the date when the play was first performed.
Historians believe that the play was one of the first plays performed in the Globe, because of the date it was written (Safier, “Appreciation” 537).
The play was written in 1601, the same year that Shakespeare’s father died (Masefield xix).
The play was published in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death (Masefield 3).
There are several main characters in the play Julius Caesar.
The main characters include Caesar, Rome’s Dictator; Brutus, a conspirator of against Caesar; and Antonius, Caesar’s friend and a senator (Safier, “Appreciation” 543).
Other characters include Caesar’s wife, Calpurnia; senators, Cicero and Publius; conspirators, Cassius and Casca; a poet, C inna; Caesar’s friend, Mark Antony; and a soothsayer (Safier, “Appreciation” 543).
... has no conscience and betrays many people. Cassius is the one who convinces Brutus that Caesar is being unjust and has too much ... just about the only friend that did not betray Caesar. In the play Brutus trusted many people too. He placed his trust ... was inevitable. Betrayal changed the play drastically. If Brutus never betrayed Caesar then there would have been no play. Caesar would still be alive and ...
Shakespeare mixed history with poetry to bring the life’s of these character alive on stage. Act one opens on a street in Rome, where the festival Lupercalia is taking place. Caesar, who recently returned from defeating Pompey, attends the race at the festival.
Exiting from the race, Caesar is warned by the soothsayer “Beware the ides of March (March fifteenth) .” Caesar laughs at the thought. After Caesar exited, Cassius tries to turn Brutus against Caesar. When Caesar sees Cassius and Brutus talking, he expresses his dislike in Cassius to his friend Antonius. Casca tells Cassius and Brutus of Caesar’s rejection of the crown. Hearing this Cassius and Brutus agree to meet on March fourteenth. The night of the fourteenth a terrible storm is brewing.
Casca believes that the storm, along with the other strange things that happen that night were “signs.” Cassius is convince that the signs mean the end of Caesar. Cassius, Casca, and Chinn a use the “signs” to convince Brutus to conspire against Caesar. (Safier, “Appreciation” 544-560) Act two opens on March fifteenth, in Brutus’ garden. He is in the garden contemplating his decision to conspire against Caesar.
While in the garden he receives an anonymous letter from Cassius. The letter urges him to act on Rome’s behalf. Shortly after receiving the letter, Brutus is visited by the conspirators. The conspirators convince Brutus to join them. While all this is going on, Caesar and his wife are awakened by the storm. Caesar gets ready to go to the capitol, but his wife urges him not to.
He agrees not to go to the capitol. When the conspirators hear of this, they send Decius to convince him not to listen to his wife and go the capitol. Caesar agrees to go to the capitol. (Safier, “Appreciation” 564-581) Act three opens with the soothsayer and Artemidorus (Caesar’s friend), trying to warn him of his death. Caesar refuses to listen to the warnings and enters the Capitol. In the Capitol, he is surrounded by the conspirators pretending to plead a case and is stabbed to death.
Mark Antony leaves the capitol for he fears he will be killed too, because he is a senator and friend of Caesar. Antony returns to the capitol and he pretends to be an ally of the conspirators. The conspirators do not know that Antony has contacted Octavius. Antony plans to get revenge on the conspirators with the help of Octavius. Brutus speaks to the people at the capitol, then leaves.
... Flourish. Enter CAESAR, BRUTUS, CASSIUS, CASCA, DECIUS BRUTUS, METELLUS CIMBER, TREBONIUS, CINNA, ANTONY, LEPIDUS, POPILIUS, PUBLIUS, and others CAESAR [To ... BRUTUS Great Caesar, -- CAESAR Doth not Brutus bootless kneel? CASCA Speak, hands for me! CASCA first, then the other Conspirators and BRUTUS stab CAESAR CAESAR ... Act 3, Scene 1 Rome. Before the Capitol; the Senate sitting above. [ previous scene ...
Thinking that Antony is on the conspirators’s ide, he leaves him to speak to the people. Antony convinces the people that the conspirators were wrong. Hearing of Antony’s speech at the capitol and finding out that Octavius is his way, Brutus and Cassius flee Rome. The Roman people rush through the town looking for Caesar’s killers. In their rush, they accidentally kill the wrong man. (Safier, “Appreciation” 584-604) Act four opens with the meeting of Antony and Octavius.
They meet to discuss what should be done about Brutus and Cassius. Antony and Octavius decide to go after Brutus and Cassius. Brutus and Cassius hearing of this, decide to confront the enemy in Philippi. Brutus and Cassius gather up their armies and head to Philippi. (Safier, “Appreciation” 607-621) Act five opens with the two armies meeting in Philippi. The armies begin to battle.
Antony’s army is defeating Cassius’ armies. Fearing his defeat, Cassius orders his servant, Pindar us, to kill him. Brutus hears of Cassius death and heads into battle. Knowing he will be unable to defeat the enemy he decides to kill himself. Antony and Octavius find Brutus’ body.
Antony convinces Octavius to give Brutus an honorable burial. (Safier, “Appreciation” 624-636) William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar tells about the tragic life of Rome’s dictator, Julius Caesar. The play ends with the burial of Brutus, Caesar’s murderer. This known fact makes this play different than most. Most tragic plays end with the death of the main character (s).
Some believe that this play was the birth of a new Shakespeare (Masefield 4).