The Tragedy of Julius Caesar
Book Review and Study Helps
Throughout the play, Caesar and the men of the Senate are preoccupied with power. They plot to keep the power balanced, to prevent Caesar from assuming all power, and to eliminate any treat to the balance of power. We see this specifically when Brutus and other members of the Senate assassinate Caesar on the Ides of March and when we see Caesar pretend to assume the crown in front of the Roman citizens.
Toward the beginning of the play, Caesar is warned to "Beware the Ides of March." This warning is spoken by a soothsayer, a person who predicts the future. Caesar's wife attempts to persuade him to stay home on March 15 so as to avoid the dangers predicted and then he is killed when he does leave the house.
At the beginning of the play, Caesar is coming home from another successful trip at war. The people welcome him and everyone but a few select members of the Senate are celebrating.
As Caesar arrives home and gives a speech or two, a soothsayer warns Caesar to "beware the Ides of March." This means something bad will happen to Caesar on March 15.
Then, the conspirators get together to discuss how they will prevent Caesar from taking all the power. Cassius attempts to convince Brutus that Caesar must be stopped by telling stories of Caesar at war.
As March 15 approaches, Caesar's wife urges Caesar to stay home so as to avoid the dangers predicted for him that day. He tries to, but a member of the Senate comes to his house and urges him to ignore his fearful and weak wife. Caesar goes to the Senate.
As he arrives at the Senate, Caesar is stabbed repeatedly on the steps of the Senate building. Brutus, his long-time friend, stabbed him. Caesar's last words were, "Et to Brute?" which means, "You, too, Brutus?"
While the Senate meant for the murder of Caesar to prevent tyrannical rule in the kingdom, the people of Rome instead go crazy. A war breaks loose and the Senate is now at war within themselves.
At the end, Brutus has fallen on his own sword in battle and Antony calls him the most noble man of all of Rome since he acted out of his true hope for the good of Rome.
Julius Caesar was a member of the Senate of Rome. He lead many victorious battles and the people of Rome adored him for this. Other members of the senate worried that Caesar had become too successful and would take over the headship of the government.
Brutus was a man of the Senate of Rome. He was a close friend of Caesar. He also played a hand in the murder of Caesar, although he did so for the good of Rome.
This is modern-day location of the play: Rome, Italy. When the play took place, Rome was a huge country.
"Et tu, Brute?" -Julius Caesar; Act 3, Scene 1
This quote was spoken by Caesar. It is important for many reasons. These were Caesar's last words and they conveyed his absolute surprise that his friend, Brutus, would join in to murder him.
"Beware the ides of March!" -Soothsayer; Act 1, Scene 2
This was spoken by the soothsayer in Act 1, scene 2. This was a warning for Caesar to beware of what would happen to him on March 15. This was an early prediction that set the pace for the entire play.