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Julius Caesar

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Summary of the plot or story
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.

Information provided about the play
William Shakespeare never published any of his plays and therefore none of the original manuscripts have survived. Eighteen unauthorised 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.

Date first performed
It is believed that Julius Caesar was first performed between 1600 and 1601. In the Elizabethan era there was a huge demand for new entertainment and Julius Caesar would have been produced immediately following the completion of the play.

Date first printed
It is believed that Julius Caesar was first printed in the First Folio in 1623. As William Shakespeare clearly did not want his work published details of the play would have therefore been noted, and often pirated without his consent, following a performance.

The settings for the drama
The settings for Julius Caesar are Verona and Mantua in Italy

Theme of the play
The play Julius Caesar is categorised as a Tragedy

Number of words in the script
The number of spoken words in Julius Caesar, according to the Complete Public Domain Text is 20,933

Most important characters
The most important characters in the play are:
Julius Caesar, Mark Antony and Brutus

Famous Quotes / Quotations
The quotes from Julius Caesar are amongst Shakespeare's most famous including 'Beware the Ides of March' and 'Friends, Romans, countrymen'. Details of these famous quotes follow, complete with information regarding the Act and the Scene, allowing a quick reference to the section of the play that these quotations can be found in. Please click here for the full text of the script of the play.

"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).

History of the drama
Julius Caesar is a dramatization of actual events. He was assassinated in 44 B.C.
It is believed that his mother endured agonising surgery in order to extract him at birth. This belief gave rise to the term "Caesarean birth" 

William Shakespeare's Main Source for the work
Shakespeare found the story in Caesar, Parallel Lives, by Plutarch. He may have also referred to Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (The Monk's Tale).

Inspiration from Julius Caesar
The drama has inspired other works such as films starring Marlon Brando and Charlton Heston

The Cast and Characters
Click the link to access a list of all the cast and characters.

Click for more Julius Caesar Quotes
Full text - script of the play Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
Cast and characters in Julius Caesar play by William Shakespeare
Index of plays by William Shakespeare
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