Julius Caesar (play)

Last updated

Within the Tent of Brutus: Enter the Ghost of Caesar, Julius Caesar, Act IV, Scene III, Edwin Austin Abbey (1905) Edwin Austin Abbey - Within the Tent of Brutus, Enter the Ghost of Caesar, Julius Caesar, Act IV, Scene III - 1937.1148 - Yale University Art Gallery.jpg
Within the Tent of Brutus: Enter the Ghost of Caesar, Julius Caesar, Act IV, Scene III, Edwin Austin Abbey (1905)

The Tragedy of Julius Caesar (First Folio title: The Tragedie of Ivlivs Cæsar), often abbreviated as Julius Caesar, is a history play and tragedy by William Shakespeare first performed in 1599.


In the play, Brutus joins a conspiracy led by Cassius to assassinate Julius Caesar, to prevent him from becoming a tyrant. Caesar's right-hand man Antony stirs up hostility against the conspirators and Rome becomes embroiled in a dramatic civil war.


Triumvirs after Caesar's death

Conspirators against Caesar


Roman Senate Senators


Loyal to Brutus and Cassius



The play opens with two tribunes (appointed leaders/officials of Rome) discovering the commoners of Rome celebrating Julius Caesar's triumphant return from defeating the sons of his military rival, Pompey. The tribunes, insulting the crowd for their change in loyalty from Pompey to Caesar, attempt to end the festivities and break up the commoners, who return the insults. During the feast of Lupercal, Caesar holds a victory parade and a soothsayer warns him to "Beware the ides of March," which he ignores. Meanwhile, Cassius attempts to convince Brutus to join his conspiracy to kill Caesar. Although Brutus, friendly towards Caesar, is hesitant to kill him, he agrees that Caesar may be abusing his power. They then hear from Casca that Mark Antony has offered Caesar the crown of Rome three times. Casca tells them that each time Caesar refused it with increasing reluctance, hoping that the crowd watching would insist that he accept the crown. He describes how the crowd applauded Caesar for denying the crown, and how this upset Caesar. On the eve of the ides of March, the conspirators meet and reveal that they have forged letters of support from the Roman people to tempt Brutus into joining. Brutus reads the letters and, after much moral debate, decides to join the conspiracy, thinking that Caesar should be killed to prevent him from doing anything against the people of Rome if he were ever to be crowned.

"Julius Caesar", Act III, Scene 2, the Murder Scene, George Clint (1822) 'Julius Caesar', Act III, Scene 2, the Murder Scene George Clint (1770-1854) Royal Shakespeare Theatre.jpg
"Julius Caesar", Act III, Scene 2, the Murder Scene, George Clint (1822)

After ignoring the soothsayer, as well as his wife Calpurnia's own premonitions, Caesar goes to the Senate. The conspirators approach him with a fake petition pleading on behalf of Metellus Cimber's banished brother. As Caesar predictably rejects the petition, Casca and the others suddenly stab him; Brutus is last. At this, Caesar asks "Et tu, Brute?" [2] ("And you, Brutus?"), concluding with "Then fall, Caesar!"

Herbert Beerbohm Tree (1852-1917), as Mark Anthony in 'Julius Caesar' by William Shakespeare, Charles A. Buchel (1914) Herbert Beerbohm Tree (1852-1917), as Mark Anthony in 'Julius Caesar' by William Shakespeare Charles A. Buchel (1872-1950) Victoria and Albert Museum.jpg
Herbert Beerbohm Tree (1852–1917), as Mark Anthony in 'Julius Caesar' by William Shakespeare, Charles A. Buchel (1914)

The conspirators attempt to demonstrate that they killed Caesar for the good of Rome, to prevent an autocrat. They prove this by not attempting to flee the scene. Brutus delivers an oration defending his actions, and for the moment, the crowd is on his side. However, Antony makes a subtle and eloquent speech over Caesar's corpse, beginning "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!" [3] He deftly turns public opinion against the assassins by manipulating the emotions of the common people, in contrast to the rational tone of Brutus's speech, yet there is a method in his rhetorical speech and gestures. Antony reminds the crowd of the good Caesar had done for Rome, his sympathy with the poor, and his refusal of the crown at the Lupercal, thus questioning Brutus's claim of Caesar's ambition; he shows Caesar's bloody, lifeless body to the crowd to have them shed tears and gain sympathy for their fallen hero; and he reads Caesar's will, in which every Roman citizen would receive 75 drachmas. Antony, even as he states his intentions against it, rouses the mob to drive the conspirators from Rome. Amid the violence, an innocent poet, Cinna, is confused with the conspirator Lucius Cinna and is taken by the mob, which kills him for such "offenses" as his bad verses.

Brutus then attacks Cassius for supposedly soiling the noble act of regicide by having accepted bribes. ("Did not great Julius bleed for justice' sake? / What villain touched his body, that did stab, / And not for justice?" [4] ) The two are reconciled, especially after Brutus reveals that his beloved wife committed suicide under the stress of his absence from Rome; they prepare for a civil war against Antony and Caesar's adopted son, Octavius, who have formed a triumvirate in Rome with Lepidus. That night, Caesar's ghost appears to Brutus with a warning of defeat. (He informs Brutus, "Thou shalt see me at Philippi." [5] )

The ghost of Caesar taunts Brutus about his imminent defeat. (Copperplate engraving by Edward Scriven from a painting by Richard Westall: London, 1802.) Brutus and the Ghost of Caesar 1802.jpg
The ghost of Caesar taunts Brutus about his imminent defeat. (Copperplate engraving by Edward Scriven from a painting by Richard Westall: London, 1802.)

At the Battle of Philippi, Cassius and Brutus, knowing that they will probably both die, smile their last smiles to each other and hold hands. During the battle, Cassius has his servant kill him after hearing of the capture of his best friend, Titinius. After Titinius, who was not captured, sees Cassius's corpse, he commits suicide. However, Brutus wins that stage of the battle, but his victory is not conclusive. With a heavy heart, Brutus battles again the next day. He asks his friends to kill him, but the friends refuse. He loses and commits suicide by running on his sword, held for him by a loyal soldier.

Henry Fuseli, The Death of Brutus, a charcoal drawing with white chalk (c. 1785) Henry Fuseli, The Death of Brutus, a charcoal drawing with white chalk (c.1785).jpg
Henry Fuseli, The Death of Brutus, a charcoal drawing with white chalk (c.1785)

The play ends with a tribute to Brutus by Antony, who proclaims that Brutus has remained "the noblest Roman of them all" [6] because he was the only conspirator who acted, in his mind, for the good of Rome. There is then a small hint at the friction between Antony and Octavius which characterizes another of Shakespeare's Roman plays, Antony and Cleopatra.

Antony (George Coulouris) kneels over the body of Brutus (Orson Welles) at the conclusion of the Mercury Theatre production of Caesar (1937-38) Caesar-Coulouris-Welles.jpg
Antony (George Coulouris) kneels over the body of Brutus (Orson Welles) at the conclusion of the Mercury Theatre production of Caesar (1937–38)


The main source of the play is Thomas North's translation of Plutarch's Lives . [7] [8]

Deviations from Plutarch

Shakespeare deviated from these historical facts 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.

Date and text

The first page of Julius Caesar, printed in the Second Folio of 1632 Second Folio Title Page of Julius Caesar.jpg
The first page of Julius Caesar, printed in the Second Folio of 1632

Julius Caesar was originally published in the First Folio of 1623, but a performance was mentioned by Thomas Platter the Younger in his diary in September 1599. The play is not mentioned in the list of Shakespeare's plays published by Francis Meres in 1598. Based on these two points, as well as several contemporary allusions, and the belief that the play is similar to Hamlet in vocabulary, and to Henry V and As You Like It in metre, [12] scholars have suggested 1599 as a probable date. [13]

The text of Julius Caesar in the First Folio is the only authoritative 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. [14]

The play contains many anachronistic elements from the Elizabethan era. The characters mention objects such as doublets (large, heavy jackets) – which did not exist 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".

Analysis and criticism

Historical background

Maria Wyke has written that the play reflects the general anxiety of Elizabethan England over a 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. [15]

Protagonist debate

A late 19th-century painting of Act IV, Scene iii: Brutus sees Caesar's ghost. Brutus sees Caesar's ghost.jpg
A late 19th-century painting of Act IV, Scene iii: Brutus sees Caesar's ghost.

Critics of Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar differ greatly in their views of Caesar and Brutus. Many have debated whether Caesar or Brutus is the protagonist of the play because the title character dies in Act Three, Scene One. 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". He 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 offense in us/ His countenance, like richest alchemy,/ Will change to virtue and worthiness" (I.iii.158–160). Reynolds also talks about Caesar and his "Colossus" epithet, which he points out has obvious connotations of power and manliness, but also lesser-known connotations of an outward glorious front and inward chaos. [16]

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 instinct; 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 realizes in the end when he says in V.v.50–51, "Caesar, now be still:/ I killed not thee with half so good a will". [17]

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 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. [18]

Traditional readings of the play may maintain that Cassius and the other conspirators are motivated largely by envy and ambition, whereas Brutus is motivated by the demands of honor and patriotism. Certainly, this is the view that Antony expresses in the final scene. But one of the central strengths of the play is that it resists categorizing its characters as either simple heroes or villains. The political journalist and classicist Garry Wills maintains that "This play is distinctive because it has no villains". [19]

It is a drama famous for the difficulty of deciding which role to emphasize. The characters rotate around each other like the plates of a Calder mobile. Touch one and it affects the position of all the others. Raise one, and another sink. But they keep coming back into a precarious balance. [20]

Performance history

The play was probably one of Shakespeare's first to be performed at the Globe Theatre. [21] Thomas Platter the Younger, a Swiss traveler, saw a tragedy about Julius Caesar at a Bankside 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 dramatized repeatedly in the Elizabethan/Jacobean period, none of the other plays known is as good a match with Platter's description as Shakespeare's play.) [22]

After the theatres re-opened at the start of the Restoration era, the play was revived by Thomas Killigrew's King's Company in 1672. Charles Hart initially played Brutus, as did Thomas Betterton in later productions. Julius Caesar was one of the very few Shakespeare plays that was not adapted during the Restoration period or the eighteenth century. [23]

Notable performances

John Wilkes Booth (left), Edwin Booth and Junius Brutus Booth Jr. in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in 1864. Booths Caesar.jpg
John Wilkes Booth (left), Edwin Booth and Junius Brutus Booth Jr. in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in 1864.
Orson Welles as Brutus in the Mercury Theatre's Caesar (1937-38) Welles-Caesar-1938.jpg
Orson Welles as Brutus in the Mercury Theatre's Caesar (1937–38)

Adaptations and cultural references

1963 production of Julius Caesar at The Doon School, India. Julius Caesar (play) in The Doon School.jpg
1963 production of Julius Caesar at The Doon School, India.

One of the earliest cultural references to the play came in Shakespeare's own Hamlet . Prince Hamlet asks Polonius about his career as a thespian at university, and Polonius replies: "I did enact Julius Caesar. I was killed in the Capitol. Brutus killed me." This is a likely meta-reference, as Richard Burbage is generally accepted to have played leading men Brutus and Hamlet, and the older John Heminges to have played Caesar and Polonius.

In 1851, the German composer Robert Schumann wrote a concert overture Julius Caesar , inspired by Shakespeare's play. Other musical settings include those by Giovanni Bononcini, Hans von Bülow, Felix Draeseke, Josef Bohuslav Foerster, John Ireland, John Foulds, Gian Francesco Malipiero, Manfred Gurlitt, Darius Milhaud, and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. [32]

The Canadian comedy duo Wayne and Shuster 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 , and vaudeville jokes and was first broadcast on The Ed Sullivan Show . [33]

In 1984, the Riverside Shakespeare Company 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. [34]

In 2006, Chris Taylor from the Australian comedy team The Chaser 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:

The 2008 movie Me and Orson Welles , based on a book of the same name by Robert Kaplow, is a fictional story centered around Orson Welles' famous 1937 production of Julius Caesar at the Mercury Theatre. British actor Christian McKay is cast as Welles, and co-stars with Zac Efron and Claire Danes.

The 2012 Italian drama film Caesar Must Die (Italian : Cesare deve morire), directed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, follows convicts in their rehearsals ahead of a prison performance of Julius Caesar.

In the Ray Bradbury book Fahrenheit 451 , 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, is not in our stars, but in ourselves", spoken by Cassius in Act I, scene 2, is often referenced in popular culture. The line gave its name to the J.M. Barrie play Dear Brutus, and also gave its name to the best-selling young adult novel The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and its film adaptation. The same line was quoted in Edward R. Murrow's epilogue of his famous 1954 See It Now documentary broadcast concerning Senator Joseph R. McCarthy. This speech and the line were recreated in the 2005 film Good Night, and Good Luck . It was also quoted by George Clooney's character in the Coen brothers film Intolerable Cruelty .

The line "And therefore think him as a serpent's egg / Which hatched, would, as his kind grow mischievous; And kill him in the shell" spoken by Brutus in Act II, Scene 1, is referenced in the Dead Kennedys song "California über alles".

The title of Agatha Christie's novel Taken at the Flood , titled There Is a Tide in its American edition, refers to an iconic line of Brutus: "There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune." (Act IV, Scene III).

The line “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures” is recited by Jean-Luc Picard at the end of the Star Trek: Picard series finale, “The Last Generation.” The play was previously discussed in a conversation between Julian Bashir and Elim Garak in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Improbable Cause".

Film and television adaptations

Julius Caesar has been adapted to a number of film productions, including:

Contemporary political references

Modern adaptions of the play have often made contemporary political references, [45] with Caesar depicted as resembling a variety of political leaders, including Huey Long, Margaret Thatcher, and Tony Blair, [46] as well as Fidel Castro and Oliver North. [47] [48] Scholar A. J. Hartley stated that this is a fairly "common trope" of Julius Caesar performances: "Throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, the rule has been to create a recognizable political world within the production. And often people in the title role itself look like or feel like somebody either in recent or current politics." [46] A 2012 production of Julius Caesar by the Guthrie Theater and The Acting Company "presented Caesar in the guise of a black actor who was meant to suggest President Obama." [45] This production was not particularly controversial. [45]

In 2017, however, a modern adaptation of the play at New York's Shakespeare in the Park (performed by The Public Theater) depicted Caesar with the likeness of then-president Donald Trump and thereby aroused ferocious controversy, drawing criticism by media outlets such as The Daily Caller and Breitbart and prompting corporate sponsors Bank of America and Delta Air Lines to pull their financial support. [45] [49] [50] [51] The Public Theater stated that the message of the play is not pro-assassination and that the point is that "those who attempt to defend democracy by undemocratic means pay a terrible price and destroy the very thing they are fighting to save." Shakespeare scholars Stephen Greenblatt [52] and Peter Holland agreed with this statement. [46] Pallotta stated that "I have never read anyone suggesting that 'Julius Caesar' is a play that recommends assassination. Look what happens: Caesar is assassinated to stop him from becoming a dictator. Result: civil war, massive slaughter, creation of an emperor, execution of many who sympathized with the conspiracy. Doesn't look much like a successful result for the conspirators to me." [46] The play was interrupted several times by right-wing protesters, who accused the play of "violence against the right", and actors and members of theatres with Shakespeare in the name were harassed and received death threats, including the wife of the play's director Oskar Eustis. [53] [54] [55] [56] The protests were praised by American Family Association director Sandy Rios who compared the play with the execution of Christians by damnatio ad bestias. [57]

The 2018 Bridge Theatre production also incorporates modern political imagery. The commoners in the first scene sing modern punk music and Caesar distributes red hats to the audience that are remarkably similar to Donald Trump's campaign merchandise. [58] The conspirators also use modern firearms during the assassination and the Battle of Phillipi. [58]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Marcus Junius Brutus</span> Roman politician and assassin of Julius Caesar

Marcus Junius Brutus was a Roman politician, orator, and the most famous of the assassins of Julius Caesar. After being adopted by a relative, he used the name Quintus Servilius Caepio Brutus, which was retained as his legal name. He is often referred to simply as Brutus.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gaius Cassius Longinus</span> Roman senator and general (c.86 BC–42 BC)

Gaius Cassius Longinus was a Roman senator and general best known as a leading instigator of the plot to assassinate Julius Caesar on 15 March 44 BC. He was the brother-in-law of Brutus, another leader of the conspiracy. He commanded troops with Brutus during the Battle of Philippi against the combined forces of Mark Antony and Octavian, Caesar's former supporters, and committed suicide after being defeated by Mark Antony.

Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus was a Roman general and politician of the late republican period and one of the leading instigators of Julius Caesar's assassination. He had previously been an important supporter of Caesar in the Gallic Wars and in the civil war against Pompey. Decimus Brutus is often confused with his distant cousin and fellow conspirator, Marcus Junius Brutus.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Publius Servilius Casca</span> Roman senator and assassin of Julius Caesar

Publius Servilius Casca Longus was one of the assassins of Julius Caesar and plebeian tribune in 43 BC. He and several other senators conspired to kill him, a plan which they carried out on 15 March 44 BC. Afterward, Casca fought with the liberators during the Liberators' civil war. He is believed to have died at the Battle of Phillipi either by suicide or by Octavian's forces.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mercury Theatre</span> Former independent repertory theatre company in New York City

The Mercury Theatre was an independent repertory theatre company founded in New York City in 1937 by Orson Welles and producer John Houseman. The company produced theatrical presentations, radio programs and motion pictures. The Mercury also released promptbooks and phonographic recordings of four Shakespeare works for use in schools.

Gaius Helvius Cinna was an influential neoteric poet of the late Roman Republic, a little older than the generation of Catullus and Calvus. He was lynched at the funeral of Julius Caesar after being mistaken for an unrelated Cornelius Cinna who had spoken out in support of the dictator's assassins.

<i>William Shakespeares Julius Caesar</i> 1953 Shakespearean film by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Julius Caesar is a 1953 American film adaptation of the Shakespearean play, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and produced by John Houseman for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It stars Marlon Brando as Mark Antony, James Mason as Brutus, Louis Calhern as Caesar, John Gielgud as Cassius, Edmond O'Brien as Casca, Greer Garson as Calpurnia, and Deborah Kerr as Portia.

Lucius Tillius Cimber was a Roman senator. He was one of the assassins of Julius Caesar, creating the diversion that enabled the conspirators to attack.

<i>Julius Caesar</i> (miniseries) 2003 American miniseries

Julius Caesar is a 2003 miniseries about the life of Julius Caesar. It was directed by Uli Edel and written by Peter Pruce and Craig Warner. It is a dramatization of the life of Julius Caesar from 82 BC to his death in 44 BC. It was one of the last two films of Richard Harris, released in the year of his death. The series was originally broadcast on TNT in two parts, airing June 29 and 30, 2003. The tagline for the miniseries was His Time Has Come. The miniseries was nominated for 2 Emmys for Outstanding Makeup for a Miniseries, and Outstanding Sound Editing.

<i>Empire</i> (2005 TV series) American TV series or program

Empire is an American historical television series for ABC. It is an historical drama set in 44 BC Rome, and covers the struggle of a young Octavius, the nephew and heir of Julius Caesar, to become the first emperor of Rome. Octavius is helped in his quest by a fictitious gladiator called Tyrannus.

<i>Imperium: Augustus</i> 2003 television miniseries

Imperium: Augustus is a 2003 joint British-Italian production, and part of the Imperium series. It tells of the life story of Octavian and how he became Augustus. Half the film takes place in the past and the other half takes place in the later life of Augustus.

<i>Cleopatra</i> (miniseries) American TV series or program

Cleopatra is a 1999 miniseries adaptation of Margaret George's 1997 historical fiction novel The Memoirs of Cleopatra. Produced by Hallmark Entertainment, it stars Leonor Varela as the Egyptian queen Cleopatra, Timothy Dalton as Julius Caesar, Billy Zane as Mark Antony, Rupert Graves as Octavius, Sean Pertwee as Brutus and Bruce Payne as Cassius. Cleopatra was shown first on the ABC television network in two parts on two consecutive evenings in May 1999 and then released on videotape and DVD. Judy Farr, Martin Hitchcock and Frank Walsh were nominated for an Emmy in 1999 for outstanding art direction for a miniseries or a movie for their work on Cleopatra.

<i>Julius Caesar</i> (1970 film) 1970 Shakespearean film by Stuart Burge

Julius Caesar is a 1970 film adaptation of William Shakespeare's play of the same name, directed by Stuart Burge. It stars Charlton Heston as Mark Antony, Jason Robards as Brutus, Richard Johnson as Cassius, John Gielgud as Caesar, Robert Vaughn as Casca, Richard Chamberlain as Octavius, and Diana Rigg as Portia. It was an independent production of Commonwealth United Entertainment, filmed in England and Spain. It is the first film version of the play made in colour.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears</span> Quote from Shakespeares Julius Caesar

"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears" is the first line of a speech by Mark Antony in the play Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare. Occurring in Act III, scene II, it is one of the most famous lines in all of Shakespeare's works.

<i>Die Ermordung Cäsars</i> Opera by Giselher Klebe

Die Ermordung Cäsars, Op. 32, is an opera in one act by Giselher Klebe who also wrote the libretto based on the translation by August Wilhelm von Schlegel of Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Assassination of Julius Caesar</span> 44 BCE murder of the Roman dictator

Julius Caesar was assassinated by a group of senators on the Ides of March of 44 BC during a meeting of the Senate at the Curia of Pompey of the Theatre of Pompey in Rome where the senators stabbed Caesar 23 times. They claimed to be acting over fears that Caesar's unprecedented concentration of power during his dictatorship was undermining the Roman Republic. At least 60 to 70 senators were party to the conspiracy, led by Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus, and Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus. Despite the death of Caesar, the conspirators were unable to restore the institutions of the Republic. The ramifications of the assassination led to his martyrdom, the Liberators' civil war and ultimately to the Principate period of the Roman Empire.

<i>Caesar</i> (Mercury Theatre) 1937 stage play by Orson Welles

Caesar is the title of Orson Welles's innovative 1937 adaptation of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, a modern-dress bare-stage production that evoked comparison to contemporary Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Considered Welles's highest achievement in the theatre, it premiered November 11, 1937, as the first production of the Mercury Theatre, an independent repertory theatre company that presented an acclaimed series of productions on Broadway through 1941.

The Spread of the Eagle is a nine-part serial adaptation of three sequential history plays of William Shakespeare, Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, and Antony and Cleopatra, produced by the BBC in 1963. It was inspired by the success of An Age of Kings (1960), which it was unable to rival. The episodes also aired in West Germany in 1968-69 and in 1972.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Last words of Julius Caesar</span>

The last words of the Roman dictator Julius Caesar are disputed. Ancient chroniclers reported a variety of phrases and post-classical writers have elaborated on the phrases and their interpretation. The two most common theories – prevalent as early as the second century AD – are that he said nothing or that he said, in Greek, καὶ σύ, τέκνον.

Heil Caesar is a 1973 BBC television drama. It was an adaptation by John Bowen of Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar which was produced by Ronald Smedley. The production designer was Humphrey Jaeger. The adaptation is listed as one of Bowen's achievements in his obituary in The Guardian newspaper It was originally made in three parts for use with schools and colleges but it was shown again a year later on BBC 2 on 21 October 1974 in a single 90 minute slot. In 1975, the BBC made a further introductory programme for schools to add to the original three episodes which examined the series in more detail for schools and which included comments from the original cast.



  1. Named in Parallel Lives and quoted in Spevack, Marvin (2004). Julius Caesar. New Cambridge Shakespeare (2 ed.). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. p. 74. ISBN   978-0-521-53513-7.
  2. "Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 1, Line 77".
  3. " Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 2, Line 73".
  4. " Julius Caesar, Act 4, Scene 3, Lines 19–21".
  5. "Julius Caesar, Act 4, Scene 3, Line 283".
  6. " Julius Caesar, Act 5, Scene 5, Line 68".
  7. Shakespeare, William (1999). Arthur Humphreys (ed.). Julius Caesar. Oxford University Press. p. 8. ISBN   0-19-283606-4.
  8. Pages from Plutarch, Shakespeare's Source for Julius Caesar.
  9. Plutarch, Caesar 66.9
  10. Suetonius, Julius 82.2).
  11. Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, translated by Robert Graves, Penguin Classic, p. 39, 1957.
  12. Wells and Dobson (2001, 229).
  13. Spevack (1988, 6), Dorsch (1955, vii–viii), Boyce (2000, 328), Wells, Dobson (2001, 229)
  14. Wells and Dobson, ibid.
  15. Wyke, Maria (2006). Julius Caesar in western culture. Oxford, England: Blackwell. p. 5. ISBN   978-1-4051-2599-4.
  16. Reynolds 329–333
  17. Taylor 301–308
  18. Houppert 3–9
  19. Wills, Garry (2011), Rome and Rhetoric: Shakespeare's Julius Caesar; New Haven and London: Yale University Press, p. 118.
  20. Wills, Op. cit. , p. 117.
  21. Evans, G. Blakemore (1974). The Riverside Shakespeare . Houghton Mifflin Co. p. 1100.
  22. Richard Edes's Latin play Caesar Interfectus (1582?) would not qualify. The Admiral's Men had an anonymous Caesar and Pompey in their repertory in 1594–95, and another play, Caesar's Fall, or the Two Shapes, written by Thomas Dekker, Michael Drayton, Thomas Middleton, Anthony Munday, and John Webster, in 1601–02, too late for Platter's reference. Neither play has survived. The anonymous Caesar's Revenge dates to 1606, while George Chapman's Caesar and Pompey date from ca. 1613. E. K. Chambers, Elizabethan Stage, Vol. 2, p. 179; Vol. 3, pp. 259, 309; Vol. 4, p. 4.
  23. Halliday, p. 261.
  24. Baum, L. Frank (15 June 1916). "Julius Caesar: An Appreciation of the Hollywood Production". Mercury Magazine. Retrieved 15 March 2024 via Hungry Tiger Press.
  25. "Theatre: New Plays in Manhattan: Nov. 22, 1937". TIME. 22 November 1937. Archived from the original on 16 December 2009. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
  26. Houseman, John (1972). Run-Through: A Memoir . New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN   0-671-21034-3.
  27. Lattanzio, Ryan (2014). "Orson Welles' World, and We're Just Living in It: A Conversation with Norman Lloyd". EatDrinkFilms.com. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  28. 1 2 Welles, Orson; Bogdanovich, Peter; Rosenbaum, Jonathan (1992). This is Orson Welles . New York: HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN   0-06-016616-9.
  29. "News of the Stage; 'Julius Caesar' Closes Tonight". The New York Times. 28 May 1938. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  30. Callow, Simon (1996). Orson Welles: The Road to Xanadu . New York: Viking. ISBN   978-0-670-86722-6.
  31. "A Big-Name Brutus in a Caldron of Chaosa". The New York Times. 4 April 2005. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
  32. Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 5th edition, ed. Eric Blom, Vol. VII, p. 733
  33. "Rinse the Blood Off My Toga". Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare Project at the University of Guelph. Archived from the original on 26 June 2019. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
  34. Herbert Mitgang of The New York Times, 14 March 1984, wrote: "The famous Mercury Theater production of Julius Caesar in modern dress staged by Orson Welles in 1937 was designed to make audiences think of Mussolini's Blackshirts – and it did. The Riverside Shakespeare Company's lively production makes you think of timeless ambition and antilibertarians anywhere."
  35. Maria Wyke, Caesar in the USA (University of California Press, 2012), p. 60.
  36. 1 2 3 4 Shakespeare and the Moving Image: The Plays on Film and Television (eds. Anthony Davies & Stanley Wells: Cambridge University Press, 1994), pp. 29–31.
  37. Darryll Grantley, Historical Dictionary of British Theatre: Early Period (Scarecrow Press, 2013), p. 228.
  38. Stephen Chibnall & Brian McFarlane, The British 'B' Film (Palgrave Macmillan/British Film Institute, 2009), p. 252.
  39. Michael Brooke. "Julius Caesar on Screen". Screenonline . British Film Institute.
  40. Heil Caesar, Part 1: The Conspirators, Learning on Screen, British Universities Film & Video Council.
  41. "Julius Caesar (2010) - IMDb". IMDb .
  42. French, Philip (3 March 2013). "Caesar Must Die – review". The Guardian via www.theguardian.com.
  43. "Julius Caesar (Royal Shakespeare Company)". Films Media Group. Infobase . Retrieved 24 November 2023.
  44. Anindita Acharya, My film Zulfiqar is a tribute to The Godfather, says Srijit Mukherji, Hindustan Times (20 September 2016).
  45. 1 2 3 4 Peter Marks, When 'Julius Caesar' was given a Trumpian makeover, people lost it. But is it any good, Washington Post (16 June 2017).
  46. 1 2 3 4 Frank Pallotta, Trump-like 'Julius Caesar' isn't the first time the play has killed a contemporary politician, CNN (12 June 2017).
  47. Della Gatta, Carla (2023). Latinx Shakespeares: Staging US Intracultural Theater. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. pp. 184–85. ISBN   978-0-472-05577-7.
  48. "Tragedies - Julius Caesar". Latinx Shakespeares. Retrieved 13 August 2023.
  49. "Delta and Bank of America boycott 'Julius Caesar' play starring Trump-like character". The Guardian. 12 June 2017. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  50. Alexander, Harriet (12 June 2017). "Central Park play depicting Julius Caesar as Donald Trump causes theatre sponsors to withdraw" . The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  51. "Delta, BofA Drop Support For 'Julius Caesar' That Looks Too Much Like Trump". NPR. 12 June 2017.
  52. Beckett, Lois (12 June 2017). "Trump as Julius Caesar: anger over play misses Shakespeare's point, says scholar". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  53. Al-Sibai, Noor (17 June 2017). "Shakespearean actors across the US are receiving death threats over New York's Trump-as-Caesar play". The Raw Story . Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  54. "'Trump death' in Julius Caesar prompts threats to wrong theatres". CNN. 19 June 2017. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  55. Wahlquist, Calla (17 June 2017). "'This is violence against Donald Trump': rightwingers interrupt Julius Caesar play". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  56. Link, Taylor (22 June 2017). "Cops investigate death threats made against "Caesar" director's wife". Salon. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  57. Mantyla, Kyle (20 June 2017). "Sandy Rios Sees No Difference Between Shakespeare And Feeding Christians to the Lions". Right Wing Watch. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  58. 1 2 "Julius Caesar: Full Play - Julius Caesar". National Theatre at Home. Retrieved 29 April 2024.

Secondary sources

  • Boyce, Charles. 1990. Encyclopaedia of Shakespeare, New York, Roundtable Press.
  • Chambers, Edmund Kerchever. 1923. The Elizabethan Stage. 4 volumes, Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN   0-19-811511-3.
  • Halliday, F. E. 1964. A Shakespeare Companion 1564–1964. Shakespeare Library ser. Baltimore, Penguin, 1969. ISBN   0-14-053011-8.
  • Houppert, Joseph W. "Fatal Logic in 'Julius Caesar'". South Atlantic Bulletin. Vol. 39, No.4. Nov. 1974. 3–9.
  • Kahn, Coppelia. "Passions of some difference": Friendship and Emulation in Julius Caesar. Julius Caesar: New Critical Essays. Horst Zander, ed. New York: Routledge, 2005. 271–283.
  • Parker, Barbara L. "The Whore of Babylon and Shakespeares's Julius Caesar." Studies in English Literature (Rice); Spring95, Vol. 35 Issue 2, p. 251, 19p.
  • Reynolds, Robert C. "Ironic Epithet in Julius Caesar". Shakespeare Quarterly. Vol. 24. No.3. 1973. 329–333.
  • Taylor, Myron. "Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and the Irony of History". Shakespeare Quarterly. Vol. 24, No. 3. 1973. 301–308.
  • Wells, Stanley and Michael Dobson, eds. 2001. The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare Oxford University Press