The play opens with Marullus and Flavius yelling at the public for supporting Caesar. Julius Caesar and his troops have returned to Rome after winning a battle in Spain.
Caesar takes a procession through the streets of Rome celebrating their win. A soothsayer warns Caesar to ‘beware the Ides of March’. Caesar pays no attention to the warning and continues with his procession.
Julius Caesar Play
In the meanwhile, Marcus Brutus is a close friend of Caesar is manipulated by Cassius, Caesar’s political rival, into joining a group of conspirators who are plotting to assassinate Caesar. Cassius instigates Brutus by telling him that Caesar alone wants to rule over Rome.
Cassius goes up to the extent of writing fake letters to Brutus instigating him against Caesar. Initially, Brutus suspects Cassius but is slowly convinced by Cassius. Caesar is assassinated in Act III of the play.
Julius Caesar Wife
Before leaving for the Senate, Caesar is again warned by the soothsayer and his wife. Brutus however advice Caesar to go to the Senate and Caesar obliges. The conspirators approach Caesar as if they wanted to ask for a favor.
Almost immediately Casca stabs Caesar in the back of his neck. Once Casca has attacked, the other conspirators begin to stab Caesar. Brutus, however, is the last to stab him.
On realizing that he had been betrayed by his close friend Caesar says “Et Tu, Brute?” and breathes his last. In the next scene, the conspirators try to justify their actions to the people of Rome.
Brutus gives a speech explaining his actions and even succeeds in winning the public’s support. Mark Anthony, a good friend of Caesar, asks for a chance to speak to the crowd. He begins his speech by saying the popular line “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears”.
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
Anthony soon changes the atmosphere through speech and it begins to turn the public against the conspirators. A wave of anger spreads amongst the people of Rome and they try getting their hands on the guilty. In the commotion, a poet named Cinna is mistaken for Lucius Cinna, one of the conspirators and is attacked and killed by the mob.
Brutus and Cassius to save their lives are forced to seek shelter elsewhere. Mark Anthony and Caesar’s adopted son Octavian strategized their attack on Brutus and Cassius. They seek the help of Lepidus, a rich banker.
Together Anthony, Lepidus, and Octavian were known as Triumvirs. They get all the necessary ammunition to fight Brutus and Cassius. In the initial scene of Act IV, Brutus and Cassius are shown to be fighting wherein Brutus questions Cassius about the bribes taken by him.
Brutus even asks Cassius “Did not great Julius bleed for justice’s sake?”. They, however, resolve their differences. Brutus and Cassius ready themselves for war with Caesar’s adopted son Octavian (Octavius) and Mark Anthony.
Brutus and the Ghost of Caesar
The same night, Brutus sees Caesar’s ghost who warns Brutus of defeat in the war. The next scene is the battle scene. Brutus and Cassius enter the battlefield aware of the fact that this might be their end. The battle begins with the two forces suing all their power. Initially, it appears that Brutus and Cassius are at an advantageous position.
However, soon the situation became chaotic in Brutus and Cassius’s camp. Cassius and his friend Titinius committed suicide, soon Brutus was defeated in the battle and even he commits suicide. In the end, Mark Anthony regards Brutus ‘the noblest Roman of them all’.
Some of the Quotes in Julius Caesar
- ”O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth”
- “Beware the ides of March”
- “Et Tu, Brute?”
- “Friends, Romans, countrymen lend me your ears, I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
- “This was the noblest Roman of them all”.