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Study Guide Prepared by Michael J. Because Shakespeare based the drama on historical events, it may also be referred to as a history play. Date Written Shakespeare probably wrote the play in Foolproof documentation for the year, or years, of composition is lacking.
It is possible that he began the play in He was in his mid-thirties at the time. Evidence suggesting this date appears in the diary of Thomas Platter the Younger, a Swiss physician and traveler.
Here is what he wrote: On September 21st after lunch, about two o'clock, I and my party crossed the water, and there in the house with the thatched roof witnessed an excellent performance of the tragedy of the first Emperor Julius Caesar with a cast of some fifteen people; when the play was over, they danced very marvellously and gracefully together as is their wont, two dressed as men and two as women.
First Printing The play was published in London in as part of the First Foliothe first authorized collection of Shakespeare's plays. Shakespeare may also have borrowed ideas from The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieriin which Brutus and his co-conspirator Cassius occupy the lowest circle of hell.
Part of the action is also set in the camp of Brutus and Cassius near Sardis in present-day Turkey. Tone The dominant tone of the play is ominous and foreboding.
In the first scene of the first act, the tribune Marullus chides tradesmen for leaving their jobs to join throngs cheering Julius Caesar passing in a triumphal parade. A tribune was an elected official charged with protecting the rights of ordinary citizens. The cheers of the crowd contrast with the attitude of the tribunes, establishing the existence of mixed feelings about Caesar—and a tiny hint that doom may be stalking the dictator.
It is clear by this time that Caesar might become a target for foul play. Next, Cassius, a prominent senator, reveals his enmity for Caesar and recruits Brutus, another prominent senator, in a plot to assassinate Caesar.
Cassius and Brutus meet that evening with other plotters. The night is violent. Caesar's wife sees terrible omens. The following day, the Ides of March, the ominous mood continues, and Caesar is assassinated.
Sometime later, when Antony's troops chase down those of Brutus and Cassius, a "canopy" of ravens, crows, and kites flies over the heads of the two conspirators, presaging doom for them just as the soothsayer did for Caesar. Triumphant general and political leader of Rome.
Although he is highly competent and multi-talented, he is also condescending and arrogant. In his conversation, he frequently uses the third-person "Caesar" instead of the first-person "I" to refer to himself and also sometimes substitutes the kingly "we" for "I.
Rumors abound that he plans to be crowned king. Historically, evidence to support the view that Caesar sought elevation to a throne is inconclusive.
Brutus Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger: Roman senator and praetor who helps plan and carry out Caesar's assassination. Historically, Marcus Junius Brutus BC enjoyed a reputation in his day among Roman republicans as a noble and fair-minded statesman. However, his opponents—notably supporters of Caesar—regarded him as a traitor.
Brutus believed the action was necessary to prevent Caesar from becoming dictator-for-life, meaning that all power would reside in Caesar and not in the delegates representing the people. But in the ancient Roman world of power politics, characterized by perfidy and pragmatism, it is his virtues that doom him.
His downfall and death are the real tragedy of the play, not the death of Caesar. Mark Antony Marcus Antonius: A member of the ruling triumvirate after the assassination of Julius Caesar.
Marcus is also known as Mark Antony, or simply Antony. He is cunning and pragmatic, a thoroughgoing politician who can wield words just as effectively as he wields weapons.
Antony is a main character in another Shakespeare play, Antony and Cleopatra.Patent bar exam study guide.
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