Julius Caesar (play)
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The ghost of Caesar taunts Brutus about his imminent defeat. (Copperplate engravingby Edward Scriven from a painting by Richard Westl: London, 1802.) The Tragedy of 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. Contents [hide] * 1 Characters * 2 Synopsis * 3 Date and text * 3.1 Deviations from Plutarch * 4 Analysis and criticism * 4.1 Interpretations * 4.1.1 Protagonist debate * 5 Performance history * 6 Notable performances * 6.1 Stage performances * 6.2 Screen performances * 7 Adaptations and cultural references * 8 See also * 9 References * 9.1 Footnotes * 9.2 Secondary sources * 10 External links| -------------------------------------------------
* 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)| * Cinna: A poet, who is not related to the conspiracy * Lucilius, Titinius, Messala, Cato the Younger, Volumnius, Strato: Friends to Brutus and Cassius * Varro, Clitus, Claudius: Soldiers in the armies of Brutus and Cassius * Labe, Flavius: Officers in the army of Brutus * Lucius, Dardanius: Servants to Brutus * Pindarus: Servant to Cassius * A second poet, the unnamed Marcus Favonius * A messenger * A cobbler * Other soldiers, senators, plebeians and attendants.| -------------------------------------------------
Marcus Brutus is Caesar's close friend and a Roman praetor. Brutus allows himself to be cajoled into joining a group of conspiring senatorsbecause of a growing suspicion—implanted by Caius Cassius—that Caesar intends to turn republican Rome into a monarchy under his own rule. Traditional readings of the play maintain that Cassius and the other conspirators are motivated largely by envy and ambition, whereas Brutus is motivated by the demands of honour and patriotism. One of the central strengths of the play is that it resists categorizing its characters as either simple heroes or villains. The early scenes deal mainly with Brutus's arguments with Cassius and his struggle with his own conscience. The growing tide of public support soon turns Brutus against Caesar (this public support was actually faked; Cassius wrote letters to Brutus in different handwritings over the next month in order to get Brutus to join the conspiracy). A soothsayer warns Caesar to "beware the Ides of March," which he ignores, culminating in his assassination at the Capitol by the conspirators that day....