Julius Caesar (play)

Julius Caesar (play)

Overview

The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, also known simply as Julius Caesar, is a tragedy
Shakespearean tragedy
Shakespeare wrote tragedies from the beginning of his career. One of his earliest plays was the Roman tragedy Titus Andronicus, which he followed a few years later with Romeo and Juliet. However, his most admired tragedies were written in a seven-year period between 1601 and 1608...

 by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

, believed to have been written in 1599. It portrays the 44 BC conspiracy
Assassination of Julius Caesar
The assassination of Julius Caesar was the result of a conspiracy by approximately forty Roman senators who called themselves Liberators. Led by Gaius Cassius Longinus and Marcus Junius Brutus, they stabbed Julius Caesar to death in the Theatre of Pompey on the Ides of March 44 BC...

 against
the Roman dictator
Roman dictator
In the Roman Republic, the dictator , was an extraordinary magistrate with the absolute authority to perform tasks beyond the authority of the ordinary magistrate . The office of dictator was a legal innovation originally named Magister Populi , i.e...

 Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

, his assassination and the defeat of the conspirators at the Battle of Philippi
Battle of Philippi
The Battle of Philippi was the final battle in the Wars of the Second Triumvirate between the forces of Mark Antony and Octavian and the forces of Julius Caesar's assassins Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus in 42 BC, at Philippi in Macedonia...

. It is one of several Roman plays that Shakespeare wrote, based on true events from Roman history
History of Rome
The history of Rome spans 2,800 years of the existence of a city that grew from a small Italian village in the 9th century BC into the centre of a vast civilisation that dominated the Mediterranean region for centuries. Its political power was eventually replaced by that of peoples of mostly...

, which also include Coriolanus
Coriolanus (play)
Coriolanus is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1605 and 1608. The play is based on the life of the legendary Roman leader, Gaius Marcius Coriolanus.-Characters:*Caius Martius, later surnamed Coriolanus...

 and Antony and Cleopatra
Antony and Cleopatra
Antony and Cleopatra is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written sometime between 1603 and 1607. It was first printed in the First Folio of 1623. The plot is based on Thomas North's translation of Plutarch's Lives and follows the relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Antony...

.

Although the title of the play is Julius Caesar, Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 is not the central character in its action; he appears in only three scenes, and is killed at the beginning of the third act.
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Quotations

Beware the ides of March.

Soothsayer, scene ii

And it is very much lamented, Brutus,That you have no such mirrors as will turnYour hidden worthiness into your eye.

Cassius, scene ii

Into what dangers would you lead me, Cassius,That you would have me seek into myselfFor that which is not in me?

Brutus, scene ii

Men at some time are masters of their fates:The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

Cassius, scene ii

Let me have men about me that are fat;Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep o' nights.Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.

Caesar, scene ii

Indeed, it is a strange disposed time:But men may construe things after their fashion,Clean from the purpose of the things themselves.

Cicero, scene iii

Cowards die many times before their deaths;The valiant never taste of death but once.Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,It seems to me most strange that men should fear;Seeing that death, a necessary end,Will come when it will come.

Caesar, scene ii

Caesar: The ides of March are come.Soothsayer: Aye, Caesar, but not gone.

Scene i

Speak, hands, for me!

Casca, scene i
Encyclopedia

The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, also known simply as Julius Caesar, is a tragedy
Shakespearean tragedy
Shakespeare wrote tragedies from the beginning of his career. One of his earliest plays was the Roman tragedy Titus Andronicus, which he followed a few years later with Romeo and Juliet. However, his most admired tragedies were written in a seven-year period between 1601 and 1608...

 by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

, believed to have been written in 1599. It portrays the 44 BC conspiracy
Assassination of Julius Caesar
The assassination of Julius Caesar was the result of a conspiracy by approximately forty Roman senators who called themselves Liberators. Led by Gaius Cassius Longinus and Marcus Junius Brutus, they stabbed Julius Caesar to death in the Theatre of Pompey on the Ides of March 44 BC...

 against
the Roman dictator
Roman dictator
In the Roman Republic, the dictator , was an extraordinary magistrate with the absolute authority to perform tasks beyond the authority of the ordinary magistrate . The office of dictator was a legal innovation originally named Magister Populi , i.e...

 Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

, his assassination and the defeat of the conspirators at the Battle of Philippi
Battle of Philippi
The Battle of Philippi was the final battle in the Wars of the Second Triumvirate between the forces of Mark Antony and Octavian and the forces of Julius Caesar's assassins Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus in 42 BC, at Philippi in Macedonia...

. It is one of several Roman plays that Shakespeare wrote, based on true events from Roman history
History of Rome
The history of Rome spans 2,800 years of the existence of a city that grew from a small Italian village in the 9th century BC into the centre of a vast civilisation that dominated the Mediterranean region for centuries. Its political power was eventually replaced by that of peoples of mostly...

, which also include Coriolanus
Coriolanus (play)
Coriolanus is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1605 and 1608. The play is based on the life of the legendary Roman leader, Gaius Marcius Coriolanus.-Characters:*Caius Martius, later surnamed Coriolanus...

 and Antony and Cleopatra
Antony and Cleopatra
Antony and Cleopatra is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written sometime between 1603 and 1607. It was first printed in the First Folio of 1623. The plot is based on Thomas North's translation of Plutarch's Lives and follows the relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Antony...

.

Although the title of the play is Julius Caesar, Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 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
Protagonist
A protagonist is the main character of a literary, theatrical, cinematic, or musical narrative, around whom the events of the narrative's plot revolve and with whom the audience is intended to most identify...

 of the play is Marcus Brutus
Marcus Junius Brutus
Marcus Junius Brutus , often referred to as Brutus, was a politician of the late Roman Republic. After being adopted by his uncle he used the name Quintus Servilius Caepio Brutus, but eventually returned to using his original name...

, and the central psychological drama is his struggle between the conflicting demands of honour
Honour
Honour or honor is an abstract concept entailing a perceived quality of worthiness and respectability that affects both the social standing and the self-evaluation of an individual or corporate body such as a family, school, regiment or nation...

, patriotism, and friendship
Friendship
Friendship is a form of interpersonal relationship generally considered to be closer than association, although there is a range of degrees of intimacy in both friendships and associations. Friendship and association are often thought of as spanning across the same continuum...

.

The play reflected the general anxiety of England over succession of leadership. At the time of its creation and first performance, Queen Elizabeth
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

, 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.

Characters



  • Julius Caesar
    Julius Caesar
    Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

  • Calpurnia
    Calpurnia Pisonis
    Calpurnia Pisonis , daughter of Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, sister of Lucius Calpurnius Piso, "the Pontifex", was a Roman woman and the third and last wife of Julius Caesar. Calpurnia was the great-granddaughter of a lieutenant of Lucius Cassius Longinus, whose name was Lucius Piso...

    : Wife of Caesar
  • Octavius Caesar, Marcus Antonius
    Mark Antony
    Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

    , M. Aemilius Lepidus
    Marcus Aemilius Lepidus (triumvir)
    Marcus Aemilius Lepidus , was a Roman patrician who rose to become a member of the Second Triumvirate and Pontifex Maximus. His father, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, had been involved in a rebellion against the Roman Republic.Lepidus was among Julius Caesar's greatest supporters...

    : Triumvirs after the death of Julius Caesar
  • Cicero
    Cicero
    Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

    , Publius, Popilius Lena: Senators
  • Marcus Brutus, Cassius
    Gaius Cassius Longinus
    Gaius Cassius Longinus was a Roman senator, a leading instigator of the plot to kill Julius Caesar, and the brother in-law of Marcus Junius Brutus.-Early life:...

    , Casca
    Servilius Casca
    Publius Servilius Casca Longus was one of the assassins of Gaius Julius Caesar, who was murdered on 15 March, 44 BC....

    , Trebonius
    Trebonius
    Gaius Trebonius was a military commander and politician of the late Roman Republic, a trusted associate of Julius Caesar who was later among those instigating the plot to assassinate the Dictator.-Biography:...

    , Ligarius, Decius Brutus
    Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus
    Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus was a Roman politician and general of the 1st century BC and one of the leading instigators of Julius Caesar's assassination...

    , Metellus Cimber
    Tillius Cimber
    Lucius Tillius Cimber was a Roman senator, one of the assassins of Julius Caesar and the one to give the signal for the attack on him.-Assassin:...

    , Cinna
    Lucius Cornelius Cinna (suffect consul 32 BC)
    Lucius Cornelius Cinna was the son of the consul Lucius Cornelius Cinna, who was a supporter of politician Gaius Marius. His sister, Cornelia Cinna minor, was the first wife of dictator Julius Caesar and he was the maternal uncle of their daughter Julia Caesaris...

    : Conspirators against Julius Caesar
  • Portia: Wife of Brutus
  • Flavius and Marullus
    Gaius Epidius Marcellus
    Gaius Epidius Marcellus was a Roman tribune most famous for the diadem incident.The fear of Caesar becoming autocrate, thus ending the Roman Republic, grew stronger when someone placed a diadem on the statue of Caesar on the Rostra. The tribunes, Gaius Epidius Marcellus and Lucius Caesetius...

    : Tribunes
  • Artemidorus: a Sophist of Cnidos
  • A Soothsayer (Also called Fortuneteller)

  • Cinna
    Helvius Cinna
    Gaius Helvius Cinna was an influential neoteric poet of the late Roman Republic, a little older than the generation of Catullus and Calvus.His magnum opus Zmyrna established his literary fame; a mythological epic poem focused on the incestuous love of Smyrna for her father Cinyras, treated after...

    : A poet, who is not related to the conspiracy
  • Lucilius, Titinius
    Titinius
    Titinius was a nomen of ancient Rome.* Marcus Titinius, tribune 450 BC* Lucius Titinius Pansa Saccus, consular tribune 400 BC, 396 BC* Marcus Titinius, magister equitum 302 BC* Gaius Titinius Gadaeus, bandit in slave revolt used by Gaius Marius...

    , Messala
    Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus
    Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus was a Roman general, author and patron of literature and art.-Family:He was the son of politician Marcus Valerius Messalla Niger Although, some dispute his parentage and claim another descendant of Marcus Valerius Corvus to be his father.Messalla Corvinus is...

    , Cato the Younger
    Cato the Younger
    Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis , commonly known as Cato the Younger to distinguish him from his great-grandfather , was a politician and statesman in the late Roman Republic, and a follower of the Stoic philosophy...

    , Volumnius
    Publius Volumnius
    Publius Volumnius was a 1st-century BC Roman philosopher, and a friend and companion of Marcus Junius Brutus who led the conspiracy to assassinate Julius Caesar...

    , 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
    Marcus Favonius
    Marcus Favonius was a Roman politician during the period of the fall of the Roman Republic. He is noted for his imitation of Cato the Younger, his espousal of the Cynic philosophy, and for his appearance as the Poet in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar.-Life:Favonius was born in around 90...

  • A messenger
  • A cobbler
  • Other soldiers, senators, plebeians, and attendants


Synopsis


Marcus Brutus
Marcus Junius Brutus
Marcus Junius Brutus , often referred to as Brutus, was a politician of the late Roman Republic. After being adopted by his uncle he used the name Quintus Servilius Caepio Brutus, but eventually returned to using his original name...

 is Caesar's close friend and a Roman praetor
Praetor
Praetor was a title granted by the government of Ancient Rome to men acting in one of two official capacities: the commander of an army, usually in the field, or the named commander before mustering the army; and an elected magistratus assigned varied duties...

. Brutus allows himself to be cajoled into joining a group of conspiring senator
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

s because of a growing suspicion—implanted by Caius Cassius
Gaius Cassius Longinus
Gaius Cassius Longinus was a Roman senator, a leading instigator of the plot to kill Julius Caesar, and the brother in-law of Marcus Junius Brutus.-Early life:...

—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
Envy
Envy is best defined as a resentful emotion that "occurs when a person lacks another's superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it."...

 and ambition
Ambition
Ambition is the desire for personal achievement. It provides the motivation and determination necessary to achieve a particular end or condition. Ambitious people are characterised by their strong desire for attainment, power, or superiority...

, whereas Brutus is motivated by the demands of honour
Honour
Honour or honor is an abstract concept entailing a perceived quality of worthiness and respectability that affects both the social standing and the self-evaluation of an individual or corporate body such as a family, school, regiment or nation...

 and patriotism. One of the central strengths of the play is that it resists categorising 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
Conscience
Conscience is an aptitude, faculty, intuition or judgment of the intellect that distinguishes right from wrong. Moral judgement may derive from values or norms...

. 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
Ides of March
The Ides of March is the name of the 15th day of March in the Roman calendar, probably referring to the day of the full moon. The word Ides comes from the Latin word "Idus" and means "half division" especially in relation to a month. It is a word that was used widely in the Roman calendar...

," which he ignores, culminating in his assassination at the Capitol
Capitoline Hill
The Capitoline Hill , between the Forum and the Campus Martius, is one of the seven hills of Rome. It was the citadel of the earliest Romans. By the 16th century, Capitolinus had become Capitolino in Italian, with the alternative Campidoglio stemming from Capitolium. The English word capitol...

 by the conspirators that day.

Caesar's assassination is one of the most famous scenes of the play, occurring in Act 3 (the other is Mark Antony's oration "Friends, Romans, countrymen".) After ignoring the soothsayer as well as his wife's own premonitions, Caesar comes to the Senate. The conspirators create a superficial motive for the assassination by means of a petition brought by Metellus Cimber, pleading on behalf of his banished brother. As Caesar, predictably, rejects the petition, Casca grazes Caesar in the back of his neck, and the others follow in stabbing him; Brutus is last. At this point, Caesar utters the famous line "Et tu, Brute?
Et tu, Brute?
"Et tu, Brute?" is a Latin phrase often used poetically to represent the last words of Roman dictator Julius Caesar to his friend Marcus Brutus at the moment of his assassination. It can be variously translated as "Even you, Brutus?","And you, Brutus?", "You too, Brutus?", "Thou too, Brutus?" or...

" ("And you, Brutus?", i.e. "You too, Brutus?"). Shakespeare has him add, "Then fall, Caesar," suggesting that Caesar did not want to survive such treachery. The conspirators make clear that they committed this act for Rome, not for their own purposes and do not attempt to flee the scene. After Caesar's death, Brutus delivers an oration defending his actions, and for the moment, the crowd is on his side. However, Mark Antony
Mark Antony
Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

, with a subtle and eloquent speech over Caesar's corpse—beginning with the much-quoted "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears is the first line of a famous and often-quoted speech by Mark Antony in the play Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare. It is taken from Act III, scene II.- Setting :...

"—deftly turns public opinion
Public opinion
Public opinion is the aggregate of individual attitudes or beliefs held by the adult population. Public opinion can also be defined as the complex collection of opinions of many different people and the sum of all their views....

 against the assassins by manipulating the emotions of the common people, in contrast to the rational tone of Brutus's speech. Antony rouses the mob to drive the conspirators from Rome. Amid the violence, the innocent poet, Cinna
Helvius Cinna
Gaius Helvius Cinna was an influential neoteric poet of the late Roman Republic, a little older than the generation of Catullus and Calvus.His magnum opus Zmyrna established his literary fame; a mythological epic poem focused on the incestuous love of Smyrna for her father Cinyras, treated after...

, is confused with the conspirator Lucius Cinna
Lucius Cornelius Cinna (suffect consul 32 BC)
Lucius Cornelius Cinna was the son of the consul Lucius Cornelius Cinna, who was a supporter of politician Gaius Marius. His sister, Cornelia Cinna minor, was the first wife of dictator Julius Caesar and he was the maternal uncle of their daughter Julia Caesaris...

 and is murdered by the mob.

The beginning of Act Four is marked by the quarrel scene, where Brutus attacks Cassius for soiling the noble act of regicide
Regicide
The broad definition of regicide is the deliberate killing of a monarch, or the person responsible for the killing of a monarch. In a narrower sense, in the British tradition, it refers to the judicial execution of a king after a trial...

 by accepting bribes ("Did not great Julius bleed for justice' sake? / What villain touch'd his body, that did stab, / And not for justice?" The two are reconciled; they prepare for war
Liberators' civil war
The Liberators' civil war was started by the Second Triumvirate to avenge Julius Caesar's murder. The war was fought by the forces of Mark Antony and Octavian against the forces of Caesar's assassins Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus in 42 BC.-Prelude:After the murder of Caesar,...

 with Mark Antony and Caesar's adopted son, Octavian (Shakespeare's spelling: Octavius). That night, Caesar's ghost appears to Brutus with a warning of defeat ("thou shalt see me at Philippi"). At the battle
Battle of Philippi
The Battle of Philippi was the final battle in the Wars of the Second Triumvirate between the forces of Mark Antony and Octavian and the forces of Julius Caesar's assassins Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus in 42 BC, at Philippi in Macedonia...

, Cassius and Brutus knowing they will probably both die, smile their last smiles to each other and hold hands. During the battle, Cassius commits suicide after hearing of the capture of his best friend, Titinius. After Titinius, who wasn't really captured, sees Cassius's corpse, he commits suicide. However, Brutus wins the battle. Brutus, with a heavy heart, battles
Battle of Philippi
The Battle of Philippi was the final battle in the Wars of the Second Triumvirate between the forces of Mark Antony and Octavian and the forces of Julius Caesar's assassins Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus in 42 BC, at Philippi in Macedonia...

 again the next day. He loses and commits suicide. The play ends with a tribute to Brutus by Antony, who proclaims that Brutus has remained "the noblest Roman of them all" because he was the only conspirator who acted for the good of Rome. There is then a small hint at the friction between Mark Antony and Octavius which will characterise another of Shakespeare's Roman plays, Antony and Cleopatra
Antony and Cleopatra
Antony and Cleopatra is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written sometime between 1603 and 1607. It was first printed in the First Folio of 1623. The plot is based on Thomas North's translation of Plutarch's Lives and follows the relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Antony...

.

Date and text



Julius Caesar was originally published in the First Folio
First Folio
Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. is the 1623 published collection of William Shakespeare's plays. Modern scholars commonly refer to it as the First Folio....

 of 1623, but a performance was mentioned by Thomas Platter the Younger
Thomas Platter the Younger
Thomas Platter the Younger was a Swiss-born physician, traveller and diarist, the son of the humanist Thomas Platter the Elder....

 in his diary in September 1599. The play is not mentioned in the list of Shakespeare's plays published by Francis Meres
Francis Meres
Francis Meres was an English churchman and author.He was born at Kirton in the Holland division of Lincolnshire in 1565. He was educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he received a B.A. in 1587 and an M.A. in 1591. Two years later he was incorporated an M.A. of Oxford...

 in 1598. Based on these two points, as well as a number of contemporary allusions, and the belief that the play is similar to Hamlet
Hamlet
The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, or more simply Hamlet, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1599 and 1601...

 in vocabulary, and to Henry V
Henry V (play)
Henry V is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed to be written in approximately 1599. Its full titles are The Cronicle History of Henry the Fifth and The Life of Henry the Fifth...

 and As You Like It
As You Like It
As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1599 or early 1600 and first published in the folio of 1623. The play's first performance is uncertain, though a performance at Wilton House in 1603 has been suggested as a possibility...

 in metre, scholars have suggested 1599 as a probable date.

The text of Julius Caesar in the First Folio
First Folio
Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. is the 1623 published collection of William Shakespeare's plays. Modern scholars commonly refer to it as the First Folio....

 is the only authoritative
Authority (textual criticism)
The authority of a text is its reliability as a witness to the author's intentions. These intentions could be initial, medial or final, but intentionalist editors generally attempt to retrieve final authorial intentions...

 text for the play. The Folio text is notable for its quality and consistency; scholars judge it to have been set into type from a theatrical prompt-book. The source used by Shakespeare was Sir Thomas North
Thomas North
Sir Thomas North was an English translator of Plutarch, second son of the 1st Baron North.-Life:He is supposed to have been a student of Peterhouse, Cambridge, and was entered at Lincoln's Inn in 1557. In 1574 he accompanied his brother, Lord North, on a visit to the French court. He served as...

's translation of Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

's Life of Brutus and Life of Caesar

The play contains many anachronistic elements from the Elizabethan period. The characters mention objects such as hats and doublets (large, heavy jackets) – neither of which existed in ancient Rome. Caesar is mentioned to be wearing an Elizabethan doublet instead of a Roman toga. At one point a clock is heard to strike and Brutus notes it with "Count the clock".

Deviations from Plutarch

  • Shakespeare makes Caesar's triumph take place on the day of Lupercalia
    Lupercalia
    Lupercalia was a very ancient, possibly pre-Roman pastoral festival, observed on February 13 through 15 to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility...

     (15 February) instead of six months earlier.
  • For greater dramatic effect he has made the Capitol
    Capitoline Hill
    The Capitoline Hill , between the Forum and the Campus Martius, is one of the seven hills of Rome. It was the citadel of the earliest Romans. By the 16th century, Capitolinus had become Capitolino in Italian, with the alternative Campidoglio stemming from Capitolium. The English word capitol...

     the venue of Caesar's death rather than the Theatrum Pompeium (Theatre of Pompey
    Theatre of Pompey
    The Theatre of Pompey was a structure in Ancient Rome built during the later part of the Roman Republican era. It was completed in seven years, starting from 55 BC, and was dedicated early in 52 BC before the structure was fully completed...

    ).
  • Caesar's murder, the funeral, Antony's
    Mark Antony
    Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

     oration, the reading of the will and the arrival of Octavius all take place on the same day in the play. However, historically, the assassination took place on 15 March (The Ides of March
    Ides of March
    The Ides of March is the name of the 15th day of March in the Roman calendar, probably referring to the day of the full moon. The word Ides comes from the Latin word "Idus" and means "half division" especially in relation to a month. It is a word that was used widely in the Roman calendar...

    ), the will was published on 18 March, the funeral was on 20 March and Octavius arrived only in May.
  • Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

     makes the Triumvirs
    Second Triumvirate
    The Second Triumvirate is the name historians give to the official political alliance of Octavius , Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, and Mark Antony, formed on 26 November 43 BC with the enactment of the Lex Titia, the adoption of which marked the end of the Roman Republic...

     meet in Rome instead of near Bolonia
    Bologna
    Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

    , so as to avoid an additional locale.
  • He has combined the two Battles of Philippi
    Battle of Philippi
    The Battle of Philippi was the final battle in the Wars of the Second Triumvirate between the forces of Mark Antony and Octavian and the forces of Julius Caesar's assassins Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus in 42 BC, at Philippi in Macedonia...

     although there was a 20 day interval between them.
  • Shakespeare gives Caesar's last words as "Et tu, Brute?
    Et tu, Brute?
    "Et tu, Brute?" is a Latin phrase often used poetically to represent the last words of Roman dictator Julius Caesar to his friend Marcus Brutus at the moment of his assassination. It can be variously translated as "Even you, Brutus?","And you, Brutus?", "You too, Brutus?", "Thou too, Brutus?" or...

     Then fall, Caesar!" ("And you, Brutus? Then fall, Caesar."). Plutarch
    Plutarch
    Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

     says he said nothing, pulling his toga over his head when he saw Brutus among the conspirators. However, Suetonius
    Suetonius
    Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, commonly known as Suetonius , was a Roman historian belonging to the equestrian order in the early Imperial era....

     reports his last words, which he spoke in Greek
    Greek language
    Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

    , as "καί σύ τέκνον" ("Kai su, teknon?"; "Even you too, child?") directed at Brutus. The Latin words Et tu, Brute?, however, were not devised by Shakespeare for this play, since they are attibuted to Caesar in earlier Elizabethan works and had become conventional by 1599.


Shakespeare deviated from these historical facts in order to curtail time and compress the facts so that the play could be staged more easily. The tragic force is condensed into a few scenes for heightened effect.

Protagonist debate


Critics of Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar differ greatly on their views of Caesar and Brutus. Many have debated whether Caesar or Brutus is the protagonist of the play, because of the title character's death in 3.1. But Caesar compares himself to the Northern Star, and perhaps it would be foolish not to consider him as the axial character of the play, around whom the entire story turns. Intertwined in this debate is a smattering of philosophical and psychological ideologies on republicanism and monarchism. One author, Robert C. Reynolds, devotes attention to the names or epithets given to both Brutus and Caesar in his essay “Ironic Epithet in Julius Caesar”. This author points out that Casca praises Brutus at face value, but then inadvertently compares him to a disreputable joke of a man by calling him an alchemist, “Oh, he sits high in all the people’s hearts,/And that which would appear offence in us/ His countenance, like richest alchemy,/ Will change to virtue and to worthiness” (I.iii.158-60). Reynolds also talks about Caesar and his “Colossus” epithet, which he points out has its obvious connotations of power and manliness, but also lesser known connotations of an outward glorious front and inward chaos. In that essay, the conclusion as to who is the hero or protagonist is ambiguous because of the conceit-like poetic quality of the epithets for Caesar and Brutus.

Myron Taylor, in his essay “Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and the Irony of History”, compares the logic and philosophies of Caesar and Brutus. Caesar is deemed an intuitive philosopher who is always right when he goes with his gut, for instance when he says he fears Cassius as a threat to him before he is killed, his intuition is correct. Brutus is portrayed as a man similar to Caesar, but whose passions lead him to the wrong reasoning, which he realises in the end when he says in V.v.50–51, “Caesar, now be still:/ I kill’d not thee with half so good a will”. This interpretation is flawed by the fact it relies on a very odd reading of "good a will" to mean "incorrect judgements" rather than the more intuitive "good intentions."

Joseph W. Houppert acknowledges that some critics have tried to cast Caesar as the protagonist, but that ultimately Brutus is the driving force in the play and is therefore the tragic hero. Brutus attempts to put the republic over his personal relationship with Caesar and kills him. Brutus makes the political mistakes that bring down the republic that his ancestors created. He acts on his passions, does not gather enough evidence to make reasonable decisions and is manipulated by Cassius and the other conspirators.

Performance history


The play was likely one of Shakespeare's first to be performed at the Globe Theatre
Globe Theatre
The Globe Theatre was a theatre in London associated with William Shakespeare. It was built in 1599 by Shakespeare's playing company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men, and was destroyed by fire on 29 June 1613...

. Thomas Platter the Younger
Thomas Platter the Younger
Thomas Platter the Younger was a Swiss-born physician, traveller and diarist, the son of the humanist Thomas Platter the Elder....

, a Swiss traveller, saw a tragedy about Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 at a Bankside
Bankside
Bankside is a district of London, England, and part of the London Borough of Southwark. Bankside is located on the southern bank of the River Thames, east of Charing Cross, running from a little west of Blackfriars Bridge to just a short distance before London Bridge at St Mary Overie Dock to...

 theatre on 21 September 1599 and this was most likely Shakespeare's play, as there is no obvious alternative candidate. (While the story of Julius Caesar was dramatised repeatedly in the Elizabethan/Jacobean period, none of the other plays known are as good a match with Platter's description as Shakespeare's play.)

After the theatres re-opened at the start of the Restoration
English Restoration
The Restoration of the English monarchy began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II after the Interregnum that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms...

 era, the play was revived by Thomas Killigrew
Thomas Killigrew
Thomas Killigrew was an English dramatist and theatre manager. He was a witty, dissolute figure at the court of King Charles II of England.-Life and work:...

's King's Company
King's Company
The King's Company was one of two enterprises granted the rights to mount theatrical productions in London at the start of the English Restoration. It existed from 1660 to 1682.-History:...

 in 1672. Charles Hart
Charles Hart (17th-century actor)
Charles Hart was a prominent British Restoration actor.A Charles Hart was christened on 11 December 1625, in the parish of St. Giles Cripplegate, in London. It is not absolutely certain that this was the actor, though the name was not common at the time...

 initially played Brutus, as did Thomas Betterton
Thomas Betterton
Thomas Patrick Betterton , English actor, son of an under-cook to King Charles I, was born in London.-Apprentice and actor:...

 in later productions. Julius Caesar was one of the very few Shakespearean plays that was not adapted during the Restoration period or the eighteenth century.

Notable performances


  • 1864: Junius, Jr.
    Junius Brutus Booth, Jr.
    Junius Brutus Booth, Jr. was an American actor and theatre manager.As a member of the illustrious Booth family of actors, Junius Brutus Booth, Jr. was overshadowed not only by his father Junius, Sr...

    , Edwin
    Edwin Booth
    Edwin Thomas Booth was a famous 19th century American actor who toured throughout America and the major capitals of Europe, performing Shakespearean plays. In 1869 he founded Booth's Theatre in New York, a spectacular theatre that was quite modern for its time...

     and John Wilkes Booth
    John Wilkes Booth
    John Wilkes Booth was an American stage actor who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre, in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865. Booth was a member of the prominent 19th century Booth theatrical family from Maryland and, by the 1860s, was a well-known actor...

     (later the assassin of U.S. president Abraham Lincoln
    Abraham Lincoln
    Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

    ) made their only appearance onstage together in a benefit performance of Julius Caesar on 25 November 1864, at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York City. Junius, Jr.
    Junius Brutus Booth, Jr.
    Junius Brutus Booth, Jr. was an American actor and theatre manager.As a member of the illustrious Booth family of actors, Junius Brutus Booth, Jr. was overshadowed not only by his father Junius, Sr...

     played Cassius, Edwin
    Edwin Booth
    Edwin Thomas Booth was a famous 19th century American actor who toured throughout America and the major capitals of Europe, performing Shakespearean plays. In 1869 he founded Booth's Theatre in New York, a spectacular theatre that was quite modern for its time...

     played Brutus and John Wilkes
    John Wilkes Booth
    John Wilkes Booth was an American stage actor who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre, in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865. Booth was a member of the prominent 19th century Booth theatrical family from Maryland and, by the 1860s, was a well-known actor...

     played Marc Antony. This landmark production raised funds to erect a statue of Shakespeare
    Memorials to William Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare has been commemorated in a number of different statues and memorials around the world, notably his funerary monument in Stratford-upon-Avon ; a statue in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey, London, designed by William Kent and executed by Peter Scheemakers ; and a statue in New...

     in Central Park, which remains to this day.
  • [May, 1916] A one-night performance in the natural bowl of Beachwood Canyon, Hollywood drew an audience of 40,000 and starred Tyrone Power, Sr. and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. The student bodies of Hollywood and Fairfax High Schools played opposing armies, and the elaborate battle scenes were performed on a huge stage as well as the surrounding hillsides. The play commemorated the tercentenary of Shakespeare's death and is still talked about today. A photograph of the elaborate stage and viewing stands can be seen on the Library of Congress website.
  • 1926: Another elaborate performance of the play was staged as a benefit for the Actors' Fund of America at the Hollywood Bowl
    Hollywood Bowl
    The Hollywood Bowl is a modern amphitheater in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, California, United States that is used primarily for music performances...

    . Caesar arrived for the Lupercal
    Lupercal
    The Lupercal is a cave at the foot of the Palatine Hill in Rome, between the Temple of Apollo Palatinus and the Basilica of Santa Anastasia. In the legend of Rome's foundation, Romulus and Remus were found there by the lactating female wolf who suckled them until they were found by Faustulus...

     in a chariot drawn by four white horses. The stage was the size of a city block and dominated by a central tower eighty feet in height. The event was mainly aimed at creating work for unemployed actors. Three hundred gladiator
    Gladiator
    A gladiator was an armed combatant who entertained audiences in the Roman Republic and Roman Empire in violent confrontations with other gladiators, wild animals, and condemned criminals. Some gladiators were volunteers who risked their legal and social standing and their lives by appearing in the...

    s appeared in an arena scene not featured in Shakespeare's play; a similar number of girls danced as Caesar's captives; a total of three thousand soldiers took part in the battle sequences.
  • 1937: Orson Welles
    Orson Welles
    George Orson Welles , best known as Orson Welles, was an American film director, actor, theatre director, screenwriter, and producer, who worked extensively in film, theatre, television and radio...

    ' famous production at the Mercury Theatre
    Mercury Theatre
    The Mercury Theatre was a theatre company founded in New York City in 1937 by Orson Welles and John Houseman. After a string of live theatrical productions, in 1938 the Mercury Theatre progressed into their best-known period as The Mercury Theatre on the Air, a radio series that included one of the...

     drew fervoured comment as the director dressed his protagonists in uniforms reminiscent of those common at the time in Fascist Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

     and Nazi
    Nazism
    Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

     Germany, as well as drawing a specific analogy between Caesar and Benito Mussolini
    Benito Mussolini
    Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

    . Opinions vary on the artistic value of the resulting production: some see Welles's mercilessly pared-down script (the running time was around 100 minutes without an interval, several characters were eliminated, dialogue was moved around and borrowed from other plays, and the final two acts were reduced to a single scene) as a radical and innovative way of cutting away peripheral elements of Shakespeare's tale; others thought Welles's version was a mangled and lobotomised version of Shakespeare's tragedy which lacked the psychological depth of the original. Most agreed that the production owed more to Welles than it did to Shakespeare. However, Time Magazine gave the production a rave review, and Welles's innovations have been echoed in many subsequent modern productions, which have seen parallels between Caesar's fall and the downfalls of various governments in the twentieth century. The production was most noted for its portrayal of the slaughter of Cinna (Norman Lloyd
    Norman Lloyd
    Norman Lloyd is an American actor, producer, and director with a career in entertainment spanning more than seven decades. Lloyd, who currently resides in Los Angeles, has appeared in over sixty films and television shows....

    ). It is the longest-running Broadway production of this play at 157 performances. Welles's Julius Caesar opened at the Comedy Theater in the fall of 1937, and then was transferred to the National Theater on West 41st Street, later renamed the Nederlander Theater. This famous production also toured the country in 1938.
  • 1950: John Gielgud
    John Gielgud
    Sir Arthur John Gielgud, OM, CH was an English actor, director, and producer. A descendant of the renowned Terry acting family, he achieved early international acclaim for his youthful, emotionally expressive Hamlet which broke box office records on Broadway in 1937...

     played Cassius at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre under the direction of Michael Langham
    Michael Langham
    Michael Langham was an English actor and director, who spent much of his career living and working in Canada and the United States....

     and Anthony Quayle
    Anthony Quayle
    Sir John Anthony Quayle, CBE was an English actor and director.-Early life:Quayle was born in Ainsdale, Southport, in Lancashire to a Manx family....

    . The production was considered one of the highlights of a remarkable Stratford season, and led to Gielgud
    John Gielgud
    Sir Arthur John Gielgud, OM, CH was an English actor, director, and producer. A descendant of the renowned Terry acting family, he achieved early international acclaim for his youthful, emotionally expressive Hamlet which broke box office records on Broadway in 1937...

     (who had done little film work to that time) playing Cassius in Joseph L. Mankiewicz
    Joseph L. Mankiewicz
    Joseph Leo Mankiewicz was an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. Mankiewicz had a long Hollywood career and is best known as the writer-director of All About Eve , which was nominated for 14 Academy Awards and won six. He was brother to screenwriter and drama critic Herman J...

    's 1953 film version
    Julius Caesar (1953 film)
    Julius Caesar is an 1953 MGM film adaptation of the play by Shakespeare, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who also wrote the uncredited screenplay, and produced by John Houseman. The original music score is by Miklós Rózsa...

    .
  • 1977: John Gielgud
    John Gielgud
    Sir Arthur John Gielgud, OM, CH was an English actor, director, and producer. A descendant of the renowned Terry acting family, he achieved early international acclaim for his youthful, emotionally expressive Hamlet which broke box office records on Broadway in 1937...

     made his final appearance in a Shakespearean role on stage as Julius Caesar
    Julius Caesar
    Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

     in John Schlesinger
    John Schlesinger
    John Richard Schlesinger, CBE was an English film and stage director and actor.-Early life:Schlesinger was born in London into a middle-class Jewish family, the son of Winifred Henrietta and Bernard Edward Schlesinger, a physician...

    's production at the Royal National Theatre
    Royal National Theatre
    The Royal National Theatre in London is one of the United Kingdom's two most prominent publicly funded theatre companies, alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company...

    . The cast also included Ian Charleson
    Ian Charleson
    Ian Charleson was a Scottish stage and film actor. He is best known internationally for his starring role as Olympic athlete and missionary Eric Liddell, in the Oscar-winning 1981 film Chariots of Fire. He is also well known for his portrayal of Rev...

     as Octavius.
  • 1994: Arvind Gaur
    Arvind Gaur
    Arvind Gaur , Indian theatre director, is known for his work in innovative, socially and politically relevant theatre. Gaur's plays are contemporary and thought-provoking, connecting intimate personal spheres of existence to larger social political issues...

     directed this play in India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

     with Jaimini Kumar as Brutus and Deepak Ochani as Caesar (24 shows); later on he revived it with Manu Rishi
    Manu Rishi
    Manu Rishi is an Indian film actor, lyricist, script and dialogue writer. Manu Rishi trained under theatre director Arvind Gaur for six years. He won the Filmfare Best Dialogue Award, 2009 for Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!...

     as Caesar and Vishnu Prasad as Brutus for the Shakespeare Drama Festival, Assam
    Assam
    Assam , also, rarely, Assam Valley and formerly the Assam Province , is a northeastern state of India and is one of the most culturally and geographically distinct regions of the country...

     in 1998. Arvind Kumar translated Julius Caesar into Hindi
    Hindi
    Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

    . This production was also performed at the Prithvi international theatre festival, at the India Habitat Centre
    India Habitat Centre
    The India Habitat Centre, located in New Delhi, India, was conceived to be a catalyst relationship between individuals and institutions working in habitat related areas to increase their effectiveness...

    , New Delhi.
  • 2005: Denzel Washington
    Denzel Washington
    Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. is an American actor, screenwriter, director, and film producer. He first rose to prominence when he joined the cast of the medical drama, St. Elsewhere, playing Dr...

     played Brutus in the first Broadway production of the play in over fifty years. The production received universally terrible reviews, but was a sell-out because of Washington's
    Denzel Washington
    Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. is an American actor, screenwriter, director, and film producer. He first rose to prominence when he joined the cast of the medical drama, St. Elsewhere, playing Dr...

     popularity at the box office.

Screen performances

See also Shakespeare on screen (Julius Caesar)

  • Julius Caesar
    Julius Caesar (1950 film)
    Julius Caesar is a 1950 film adaptation of the Shakespeare play Julius Caesar. It was produced and directed by David Bradley using actors from the Chicago area. Charlton Heston, who had known Bradley since his youth, and who was establishing himself in television and theater in New York, played...

     (1950), starring Charlton Heston
    Charlton Heston
    Charlton Heston was an American actor of film, theatre and television. Heston is known for heroic roles in films such as The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, El Cid, and Planet of the Apes...

     as Antony and Harold Tasker as Caesar.
  • Julius Caesar
    Julius Caesar (1953 film)
    Julius Caesar is an 1953 MGM film adaptation of the play by Shakespeare, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who also wrote the uncredited screenplay, and produced by John Houseman. The original music score is by Miklós Rózsa...

     (1953), starring James Mason
    James Mason
    James Neville Mason was an English actor who attained stardom in both British and American films. Mason remained a powerful figure in the industry throughout his career and was nominated for three Academy Awards as well as three Golden Globes .- Early life :Mason was born in Huddersfield, in the...

     as Brutus, Marlon Brando
    Marlon Brando
    Marlon Brando, Jr. was an American movie star and political activist. "Unchallenged as the most important actor in modern American Cinema" according to the St...

     as Antony and Louis Calhern
    Louis Calhern
    Louis Calhern was an American stage and screen actor.- Early life :Louis Calhern was born Carl Henry Vogt on February 19, 1895 in Brooklyn, New York. His family left New York City while he was still a child and moved to St. Louis, Missouri where he grew up...

     as Caesar.
  • Julius Caesar
    Julius Caesar (1970 film)
    Julius Caesar is a 1970 independent film adaptation of William Shakespeare's play, directed by Stuart Burge from a screenplay by Robert Furnival. The film stars Charlton Heston , Jason Robards and John Gielgud . It is the first film version of the play made in color...

     (1970), starring Jason Robards Jr. as Brutus, Charlton Heston
    Charlton Heston
    Charlton Heston was an American actor of film, theatre and television. Heston is known for heroic roles in films such as The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, El Cid, and Planet of the Apes...

     as Antony and John Gielgud
    John Gielgud
    Sir Arthur John Gielgud, OM, CH was an English actor, director, and producer. A descendant of the renowned Terry acting family, he achieved early international acclaim for his youthful, emotionally expressive Hamlet which broke box office records on Broadway in 1937...

     as Caesar.

Adaptations and cultural references


The Canadian comedy duo Wayne and Shuster
Wayne and Shuster
Wayne and Shuster were a Canadian comedy duo formed by Johnny Wayne and Frank Shuster. They were active professionally from the early 1940s until the late 1980s....

 parodied Julius Caesar in their 1958 sketch Rinse the Blood off My Toga. Flavius Maximus, Private Roman Eye, is hired by Brutus to investigate the death of Caesar. The police procedural combines Shakespeare, Dragnet
Dragnet (series)
Dragnet is a radio and television crime drama about the cases of a dedicated Los Angeles police detective, Sergeant Joe Friday, and his partners...

, and vaudeville jokes and was first broadcast on The Ed Sullivan Show
The Ed Sullivan Show
The Ed Sullivan Show is an American TV variety show that originally ran on CBS from Sunday June 20, 1948 to Sunday June 6, 1971, and was hosted by New York entertainment columnist Ed Sullivan....

.

The 1960 film An Honourable Murder
An Honourable Murder
An Honourable Murder is a 1960 British drama film directed by Godfrey Grayson and starring Norman Wooland, Margaretta Scott and Lisa Daniely...

 is a modern reworking of the play.

In 1973 the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 made a television play Heil Caesar, written by John Griffith Bowen
John Griffith Bowen
John Griffith Bowen is a British playwright and novelist. He was born in Calcutta, India, studied at the University of Oxford and worked in publishing, drama and television.-Novels:...

. This was an adaptation of the play put into a modern setting in an unnamed country, with references to recent events in a few countries. It was intended as an introduction to Shakespeare's play for schoolchildren, but it proved good enough to be shown on adult television, and a stage version was later produced.

In 1984 the Riverside Shakespeare Company
Riverside Shakespeare Company
The Riverside Shakespeare Company of New York City was founded in 1977 as a professional theatre company on the Upper West Side of New York City, by W. Stuart McDowell and Gloria Skurski...

 of New York City produced a modern dress Julius Caesar set in contemporary Washington, called simply CAESAR!, starring Harold Scott as Brutus, Herman Petras as Caesar, Marya Lowry as Portia, Robert Walsh as Antony, and Michael Cook as Cassius, directed by W. Stuart McDowell at The Shakespeare Center
The Shakespeare Center
The Shakespeare Center was the home of the Riverside Shakespeare Company, an Equity professional theatre company in New York City, beginning in 1982, when the then six-year-old theatre company established its center of theatre production and advanced actor training at the 90 year-old West Park...

.

In 2006, Chris Taylor
Chris Taylor (comedian)
Christopher Thornton "Chris" Taylor is an Australian comedian, writer and former radio host from Sydney. As a member of The Chaser, he is best known for co-writing and appearing on satirical ABC Television shows CNNNN and The Chaser's War on Everything...

 from the Australian comedy team The Chaser
The Chaser
The Chaser are an Australian satirical comedian group, known for their television programmes on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation channel. The group take their name from their production of satirical newspaper, a publication known to challenge conventions of taste...

 wrote a comedy musical called Dead Caesar which was shown at the Sydney Theatre Company in Sydney.

The line "The Evil That Men Do", from the speech made by Mark Antony following Caesar's death ("The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones.") has had many references in media, including the titles of ...
    • An Iron Maiden
      Iron Maiden
      Iron Maiden are an English heavy metal band from Leyton in east London, formed in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. Since their inception, the band's discography has grown to include a total of thirty-six albums: fifteen studio albums; eleven live albums; four EPs; and six...

       song
      The Evil That Men Do (song)
      "The Evil That Men Do" was released in 1988 by Iron Maiden. It is the band's seventeenth single and the second from their Seventh Son of a Seventh Son album. The single debuted at number six in the UK charts and quickly rose to number five...

    • A politically-oriented film
      The Evil That Men Do (film)
      The Evil That Men Do is an action thriller film directed by J. Lee Thompson that stars Charles Bronson.The film was adapted by David Lee Henry and John Crowther from a novel by R. Lance Hill...

       directed by J. Lee Thompson
      J. Lee Thompson
      John Lee Thompson , better known as J. Lee Thompson, was an English film director, active in England and Hollywood.- Early years :...

       in 1984
    • A Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel
      The Evil That Men Do (Buffy novel)
      The Evil That Men Do is an original novel based on the U.S. television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.-Plot summary:After a vicious shooting spree by Brian Dellasandro, a straight A student, the town of Sunnydale goes into a state of shock, though not one everyone would expect; they turn on each...

      .


The 2009 movie Me and Orson Welles
Me and Orson Welles
Me and Orson Welles is a 2009 period-drama film directed by Richard Linklater and starring Zac Efron, Christian McKay, and Claire Danes. Based on Robert Kaplow's novel of the same name, the story, set in 1937 New York, tells of a teenager hired to perform in Orson Welles's stage production of...

, based on a book of the same name by Robert Kaplow
Robert Kaplow
Robert Kaplow is an American novelist and teacher whose coming-of-age novel was made into a film titled Me and Orson Welles. The story is about "youthful creative ambition" and has received positive reviews from the New York Times which described it as "nimble, likable and smart." Kaplow has...

, is a fictional story centred around Orson Welles
Orson Welles
George Orson Welles , best known as Orson Welles, was an American film director, actor, theatre director, screenwriter, and producer, who worked extensively in film, theatre, television and radio...

' famous 1937 production of Julius Caesar at the Mercury Theatre
Mercury Theatre
The Mercury Theatre was a theatre company founded in New York City in 1937 by Orson Welles and John Houseman. After a string of live theatrical productions, in 1938 the Mercury Theatre progressed into their best-known period as The Mercury Theatre on the Air, a radio series that included one of the...

. British actor Christian McKay
Christian McKay
-Early life:McKay was born in Bury, Lancashire. His mother is a hairdresser and his father is a railway worker. He studied piano as a youth, and had performed the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 at age 21...

 is cast as Welles, and costars with Zac Efron
Zac Efron
Zachary David Alexander "Zac" Efron is an American actor. He began acting professionally in the early 2000s and became known with his lead roles in the Disney Channel Original Movie High School Musical, the WB series Summerland, and the 2007 film version of the Broadway musical Hairspray...

 and Claire Danes
Claire Danes
Claire Catherine Danes is an American actress of television, stage and film. She has appeared in roles as diverse as Angela Chase in My So-Called Life, as Juliet in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, as Kate Brewster in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, as Yvaine in Stardust and as Temple Grandin in...

.

In the Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury
Ray Douglas Bradbury is an American fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer. Best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 and for the science fiction stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man , Bradbury is one of the most celebrated among 20th...

 book Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451 is a 1953 dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury. The novel presents a future American society where reading is outlawed and firemen start fires to burn books...

, some of the character Beatty's last words are "There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats, for I am armed so strong in honesty that they pass me as an idle wind, which I respect not!"
  • The play's line "the fault dear Brutus lies not in our stars but in ourselves" gave its name to the J.M. Barrie play Dear Brutus.

See also

  • Assassinations in fiction
  • Mark Antony's Funeral Speech
    Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears
    Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears is the first line of a famous and often-quoted speech by Mark Antony in the play Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare. It is taken from Act III, scene II.- Setting :...

  • The dogs of war (phrase)
    The dogs of war (phrase)
    In English, the dogs of war is a phrase from Act 3, Scene 1, line 273 of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: "Cry 'Havoc!', and let slip the dogs of war". Dog has its ordinary meaning; havoc is a military order permitting the seizure of spoil after a victory and let slip is to release from the...

  • Comet Caesar

External links