Essay, Research Paper: Julius Caesar Summary

Shakespeare: Julius Caesar

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Act I, Scene i Summary Two patricians Flavius and Marcullus enter. They are
confused by the fact that the plebeians are not in their work clothes, and begin
to ask some plebeians what their jobs are. A carpenter admits he is a carpenter.
Next Marcullus asks a cobbler what his job is, and the cobbler answers in a
series of puns ("souls" / "soles"), ("withal" /
"with awl"). The cobbler explains that everyone is taking the day off
to celebrate Caesar's victory over Pompey. Marcullus, in high rhetoric, insults
the plebeians for being fickle, since they very recently all liked Pompey. He
tells them all to go back home and feel very sorry for dishonoring Pompey's
memory. The plebeians leave. Flavius suggests that the two of them take down all
of the pro-Caesar decorations. Marcullus is worried about getting into trouble
since it is the feast of Luprecal after all. Flavius insists, and recommends
they that drive all of the plebeians out of the streets. Finally he comments
that they must do something to humble Caesar or else he would put himself so far
above other men as to make them all slaves. Act I, Scene ii Summary Caesar and
his party enter. Caesar asks that his wife Calpurnia stand in Antony's way and
that Antony touch her while he is running the race. Both agree. A soothsayer
warns Caesar of the ides of March. At first Caesar is interested, but then he
dismisses the soothsayer. All leaves except Brutus and Cassius. Cassius says
that Brutus hasn't seemed himself recently. Brutus admits that he has been
troubled, and has been doing a lot of thinking. Cassius suggests he can tell
Brutus what has been troubling him. Brutus mistrusts Cassius's motives. Cassius
assures Brutus he is trustworthy. They hear trumpets and shouting. Brutus
comments to himself that he hopes the people haven't made Caesar a king. Cassius
asks Brutus if he fears the people will do so. Brutus admits he does, and asks
Cassius to get to the point. He says if Cassius wants him to do something for
the public good he will even if it means his death. Cassius says how upset he is
that Caesar has become so popular. He tells how he saved Caesar from drowning
when the two of them were children, and how he saw Caesar get very ill while
campaigning in Spain. Cassius says Caesar has gotten too powerful, and too
proud. Something must be done. He reminds Brutus that his ancestor of the same
name helped establish the Roman republic by driving out the Tarquin kings.
Brutus admits he is sympathetic and suggests they meet later. Caesar and company
return; they look upset. Brutus and Cassius agree to ask Casca what has
happened. Caesar tells Antony that "yond Cassius has a lean and hungry
look; / He thinks too much: such men are dangerous" (I.ii.194-5). Antony
assures him Cassius is not to be feared. Caesar agrees suggesting that he fears
nothing, but continues to criticize Cassius as a brooding and solemn fellow.
Caesar and company leave. Casca explains to Brutus and Cassius that Antony
offered Caesar a crown three times, each time Caesar refused it, but each time
less fervently, and the third time Caesar went into and epileptic fit, i.e.,
"the falling sickness" (I.ii2.52). Indeed, Caesar was so popular with
the crowd that he offered them his throat to cut as a dramatic gesture. After
Caesar recovered from his fit the crowd cheered and clapped all the more.
Cassius asks if Cicero said anything, and Casca makes several jokes about unable
to understand Cicero because he spoke in Greek. Casca also mentions that Flavius
and Marcullus are being put to death for defacing images of Caesar. Cassius
invites Casca to dinner the next night, and Casca leaves. Brutus says Casca
seemed awfully stupid. Cassius says he is just acting stupid so he can get away
with being more honest. Brutus says he will meet Cassius the next day and
leaves. In a soliloquy Cassius worries that he won't be able to persuade Brutus
to kill Caesar. He decides to forge some letters encouraging him to do so, and
make it look like all of Rome is behind the idea. Act I, Scene iii Summary At
night Cicero enters with Casca. Cicero asks Casca if he brought Caesar home, and
why he looks so scared. Casca explains that he has seen several bad omens
including fire coming out of the sky, a slave's hand go unburnt while on fire,
and a lion at the capitol. Casca realizes some would explain these things as
natural, but he thinks the gods must be angry with each other or with man.
Cicero admits things are strange but suggests that people interpret things
however they want to interpret them. Cicero asks Casca if Caesar is going to go
to the capitol the next day. Indeed he is, Casca answers. Cicero leaves, and
Cassius enters. After identifying him Casca reiterates his fears about the
weather to Cassius. Cassius coolly explains that he isn't worried. Cassius
claims that Casca is stupid not to see that these omens are the result of
someone's ambitious evil deeds. Casca takes the hint that Cassius is blaming
Caesar and admits he has heard a rumor the senate will crown Caesar the next day
at the capitol. Caesar is to wear the crown everywhere except Italy. Cassius
insists he won't tolerate tyranny. Casca says, me too. They agree to do
something about Caesar. Cinna enters, asks where Cassius has been. Cassius wants
to know if the other conspirators are waiting for him. Cinna says they are, and
implores Cassius to persuade Brutus to join the conspirators. Cassius gives
Cinna the fake letters to drop off at Brutus's house, and Cinna leaves. Casca
and Cassius discuss how helpful having Brutus's cooperation would be to make the
assassination seem right and proper. Act II, Scene i Summary Not knowing what
time it is, Brutus calls for his sleeping servant, Lucius. Brutus asks him for a
candle to be put in his study. Next comes a very famous speech by Brutus
(II.i.10-34). He must kill Caesar even though Caesar hasn't done anything
personally offensive to him. In fact Brutus can't think of anytime when Caesar
acted out of emotion rather than reason. But he must be killed, because like a
serpent in the egg he is likely to be poisonous after a while. Lucius returns
having found a letter on the windowsill. Brutus wants to know if it is the ides
of March. Lucius doesn't know, and leaves to check. The meteor shower that so
scared Casca has given Brutus enough light to read. The letter says "kill
Caesar" in veiled terms. Lucius returns to say that it is the ides of march
(March 15) just in time to answer the door where Cassius and his pals wait.
Lucius leaves. Cassius presents the conspirators and Brutus welcomes them:
Trebonius, Decius Brutus, Casca, Cinna, Metellus Cimber. They all hold hands.
Cassius proposes an oath. Brutus says there will be no oath since they are all
honest Romans doing honest business. Cassius proposes they add Cicero to the
group. This idea gains popularity but is struck down by Brutus. Cassius proposes
they kill Antony too, again Brutus says no in a famous speech (II.i.162-183):
"Lets carve him [Caesar] like a dish fit for the gods / not hew him like a
carcass fit for hounds" (II.i.173-4). Antony is no danger once Caesar is
dead. He may kill himself, but that is unlikely since he likes to party. The
clock strikes (a frequently commented upon impossibility in Roman times).
Cassius says that despite his normal attitude Caesar is superstitious and may
not come to the capitol that day. Decius says he can make sure Caesar comes.
Cassius insists they all go to meet Caesar at his house at 9 o'clock. Metellus
suggests Cais Ligarius be added to the conspiracy. Brutus agrees and tells
Metellus to bring Cais Ligarius to Brutus' house. They all depart after Brutus
reminds them to look happy and well slept. Brutus calls for Lucius, decides to
let him sleep, and says how nice it would be to sleep carefree. Portia, Brutus'
wife, enters worried about why Brutus has been so anxious. Brutus says he is
sick, but Portia doesn't believe him and wants to know who the men were that
just visited. Each assure the other of how much the love each other, and Brutus
agrees to share his secrets, but not right now because someone is at the door.
Lucius presents Cais Ligarius who is sick. Ligarius asks if Brutus has a project
worth doing. Brutus admits he has. Ligarius recovers from his illness and agrees
to participate not knowing what the project is. Act II, Scene ii Summary Caesar
also hasn't been sleeping well, and takes note of the strange weather. He
mentions Calpurnia, his wife, cried three times in her sleep "Help ho! They
murder Caesar!" (II.ii.3). Caesar has a servant tell the priest to perform
sacrifice and report the results back to him. Calpurnia comes and asks that
Caesar spend the day at home in light of all the bad omens. Caesar isn't sure
the omens apply to him, and says that if fate will have him die there isn't much
he can do. The priest also recommends he stay, but he doesn't listen until
Calpurnia, kneeling, asks that he stay home just to keep her happy. He agrees
not to leave, but the conspirators arrive. By reinterpreting Calpurnia's
nightmares, and telling Caesar of the rumor he will be given a crown, Decius
persuades him to go to the capitol. Brutus comments to himself it is a pity
Caesar is so trusting of his enemies. Act II, Scene iii Summary A guy named
Artemidorus looks over a warning note he is going to give to Caesar. He comments
to himself how much he hopes Caesar will read it in time. Act II, Scene iv
Summary Portia asks Lucius to go to the Capitol. He wants to know why. She is
nervous and has trouble explaining. She tells him to go see what happens and
especially to watch Brutus and Caesar. The soothsayer enters. Portia asks, where
he has been, what time it is, and is Caesar going to the Capitol? The soothsayer
explains that he comes from his home, it is nine o'clock, and Caesar is very
soon to come, and he fears Caesar is in some danger. He says goodbye to Portia
explaining he wants a better place to stand in order to talk to Caesar. Before
gong back home Portia reminds Lucius of his task. Act III, Scene I Summary On
his way to the capitol Caesar tells the soothsayer that the ides of March have
come. The soothsayer reminds him that the day isn't over yet. Artemidorus tries
to give Caesar his letter of warning. Decius also tries to present a suit, but
Artemidorus argues that his is more important, and that Caesar should read it
first. Caesar says he will save what pertains most to him till last. Artemidorus
cries for his suit to be read, and Caesar thinks he is acting a bit weird. In
terms of the conspiracy, Popilius wishes Cassius well, implying he knows about
the plot. Cassius and Brutus start to worry about the success of their plot, as
Trebonius distracts Antony. Metellus asks Caesar to revoke the banishment of his
brother. The other conspirators join in asking. Caesar is surprised that they
all want him to release Metellus's brother but insists that though they petition
well, he won't change his mind. He, unlike other men, is constant. They all stab
Caesar at Cassius's word. His final words are "Et tu Brute" meaning
"you too Brutus?" The conspirators celebrate, and assure the senators
they mean no one else harm. Casca and Brutus mention that they have done Caesar
a favor by cutting short the time he will fear death. Cassius and Brutus predict
that Caesar's death will be acted out many centuries in the future. A servant of
Antony's asks if Antony can talk to Brutus. Brutus says that's fine and Antony
enters. Antony is sad that Caesar is dead and asks Brutus to kill him. Brutus
and Cassius assure Antony they mean him no harm. Brutus says he will explain why
they did this after he addresses the crowd. Antony shakes hands with the
conspirators and apologizes to Caesar's body for doing so. He goes on and on
about how sad he is. Cassius asks Antony if he is going to cause them trouble.
Antony promises them friendship but asks to speak at Caesar's funeral. Brutus
agrees. Cassius doesn't want Antony to speak in case he sways the favor of the
crowd. Brutus assures Cassius, saying that he will speak first, but Cassius is
still worried. Everyone but Antony leaves. In a very famous speech
(III.i.254-275). Antony apologizes to Caesar for being nice to the conspirators
and then predicts that the country will soon be ravaged by a terrible civil war.
A servant of Octavius enters saying that Octavius is coming, upon Caesar's
request. Then the servant notices Caesar is dead. Antony says Octavius should
wait before he comes to Rome, because Rome isn't safe. Antony says he will try
to sway public opinion against the conspirators during his funeral oration. They
both leave. Act III, Scene ii Summary Brutus and Antony will both address the
crowd. First, Brutus's speech: He says he loved Caesar dearly but loved Rome
more. Just as Brutus appropriately responded to Caesar's triumphs and valor with
rejoicing and honor, he responded to his ambition by slaying him. If he has
offended someone that person loves tyranny and clearly there is no such person.
Brutus says he will die for Rome whenever it is necessary, just as it was
necessary for Caesar to die. The crowd is very pleased with Brutus and even
suggests he be crowned. Brutus asks that everyone stay to hear Antony's very
famous speech (III.ii.74). Antony starts by saying he will not disagree with
Brutus, but quickly he says Caesar wasn't ambitious. The comment he repeats
"And Brutus is an honorable man" is seen to be ironic. Every time
Antony pauses in his speech the comments of the plebeians are more spiteful
toward the conspirators. Antony reads Caesar's will where Caesar gave a lot to
the public. He also displays Caesar's body. The crowd is turned into an angry
mob out to get the conspirators. The crowds depart to burn and pillage.
Octavius's servant comes and says that Octavius and Lepidus are at Caesar's
house. Antony says he will meet them there. The servant mentions that Brutus and
Cassius have left the city in fear. Act III, Scene iii Summary Cinna the poet
(no relationship to Cinna the conspirator) is walking along the street. He
recalls a dream where he had dinner with Caesar. He says he doesn't want to be
outside but "something leads me forth" (III.iii.4). Four plebeians ask
him his name, his destination, where he lives, and if he is married. He jokes
with them a little and reports that he lives near the capitol, is a bachelor, is
going to Caesar's funeral, and his name is Cinna. They think is Cinna the
conspirator. He explains that he isn't but they kill him anyway. Act IV, Scene I
Summary Antony, Octavius and Lepidus are making a list of whom to kill. Octavius
says they have to kill Lepidus' brother. Lepidus says OK as long as they kill
Antony's nephew. Antony sends Lepidus to fetch Caesar's will so they can change
it in order to get some money. Lepidus Leaves. Antony says that Lepidus is only
good for doing busy work, and he is no longer useful. Octavius defends Lepidus
but says Antony can have it his way. Antony says Brutus and Cassius are raising
an army, and suggests to Octavius that the two of them have to do strategic
planning. Act IV, Scene ii Summary Lucius tells Brutus that Cassius and his army
are coming. Lucius says that Cassius was a bit cold to him when they met.
Cassius and his army arrive. Cassius is angry with Brutus and wants to talk to
him. Brutus says that he doesn't want their armies to see them angry with each
other and suggests they talk in his tent. Act IV, Scene iii Summary Cassius is
angry because Brutus punished Lucius Pella for taking bribes even though Cassius
had written letters on his behalf. Brutus criticizes Cassius for taking bribes
himself. Cassius is angry and offended. Brutus reminds Cassius that they killed
Caesar for justice's sake, so they would be hypocrites if they were unjust now.
The two of them threaten each other and begin to bicker like children. Cassius
says Brutus doesn't love him, and offers Brutus a dagger and his naked chest.
Now they start to calm. They make up. A poet enters with some guards; he tries
to make everyone feel better by singing, but is quickly shown the door. Brutus
tells Cassius that he is sad. Cassius says that Brutus isn't being very stoic as
he usually is, if he lets ordinary misfortunes upset him. Brutus tells Cassius
that Portia has killed herself. Lucius brings a bowl of wine. Brutus says not to
mention Portia anymore, and they pledge friendships to one another. Cassius is
clearly upset by Portia's death. Titinius and Messala enter to bring news.
Antony and Octavius are bringing their armies to Phillipi. They have killed 70
(according to Brutus) or 100 (according to Messala) senators including Cicero.
Messala asks if Brutus has heard from Portia and then regretfully reports that
she is dead. Brutus says too bad; we all must die sometime. Cassius and Messala
comment about how well Brutus is handling Portia's death. Returning to business,
Brutus suggests they meet the enemy at Phillipi. Cassius prefers waiting. Each
presents his arguments, and they agree to go to Phillipi. It's time for bed.
Cassius, Titinius and Messala leave. Varro and Claudius come to be by Brutus
while he sleeps, in case he needs something. Lucius plays some music for Brutus.
Caesar's ghost enters. Brutus is scared and asks what it is. The ghost says it
is Brutus' evil spirit, and will meet him again at Phillipi. Brutus says: OK,
I'll see you then. Brutus wakes his servants and asks them if they saw anything.
They say no. Brutus tells Varro and Claudius to go tell Cassius to get his
troops on the move. Act V, Scene I Summary Octavius is happy to see that Brutus
and Cassius's army is coming to meet them. Antony suggests that Octavius lead
the left flank. Octavius suggests the opposite. Antony is upset that Octavius
contradicts him. Octavius says he isn't contradicting him, but he will have his
way. Brutus and Cassius enter and exchange taunts with Octavius and Antony.
Octavius and Antony depart to prepare for battle. Brutus leaves to talk with
Lucius. Cassius tells Messala that it is his birthday, and even though he
usually doesn't credit omens, the day before he saw two eagles eating from his
soldiers' hands. Today there are ravens instead. Messala tells him to credit the
omen. Brutus and Cassius say their final good-byes. Act V, Scene ii Summary
Brutus perceives a weakness in Octavius's army, and sends order to Cassius. Act
V, Scene iii Summary Antony has done very well against Cassius. Cassius send
Titinius to see how Brutus's side is doing. Pindarus watches Titinius from a
hill; he sees him surrounded, taken off his horse, and hears a shout. Cassius
and his servant Pindarus assume that Brutus has lost. Cassius gives Pindarus his
freedom. Pindarus helps Cassius kill himself. Pindarus runs off. Titinius and
Messala come to tell Cassius the good news that Brutus has defeated Octavius.
They discover Cassius dead. Messala goes to report the bad news to Brutus. While
Messala is gone, Titinius crows Cassius' corpse and kills himself. Brutus, Cato,
and Messala discover the two bodies. Brutus says that Caesar's ghost still walks
and caused this confusion. Next, Brutus stoically says that he will find time to
mourn his two good friends, but now he will engage in second battle. Act V,
Scene iv Summary Brutus leaves for another part of the battlefield. Brutus's
friends Cato and Lucilius charge the enemy. Lucilius shouts that he is Brutus.
Cato is killed, Lucilius taken prisoner. Antony's soldiers present Lucilius to
Antony thinking he is Brutus. Antony realizes that Lucilius isn't Brutus, and
tells his men to be very nice to Lucilius. Antony tells his men to report to
Octavius that the battle is going well. Act V, Scene v Summary Brutus is trying
to convince various members of his army to help him kill himself. No one agrees
saying that they might still win, and that it isn't a nice thing to ask a
friend. Everyone runs because Antony and Octavius are coming. After saying his
good-byes to life, Brutus gets one of his servants Strato to hold his sword
while he runs into it. Antony and Octavius enter with Lucilius and Messala
captive. Octavius says any of Brutus' servants can serve him now. With Messala's
permission Strato become Octavius servant. Antony gives a nice, and famous,
speech about how noble Brutus was (V.v.68-76). Octavius ends the play by saying
that because Brutus had a good reputation if they give him an expensive funeral
it will make them look good. THE END List of Characters For Julius Caesar Julius
Caesar - The titular character is a loving husband, a devoted statesman, and a
trusting friend. Childless and deaf in one ear, at home he is a feeble and
superstitious, but kind man. At work he is strong, powerful, and stubborn. He
lets power go to his head and suffers for it. Brutus - Brutus is "the
noblest Roman of them all" (V.v.68). A devoted stoic, he always puts the
good of the state first. Also a good husband and an accomplished orator, Brutus
is a bit too trusting, and learns his lesson the hard way. Some consider Brutus
to be the play's protagonist. Mark Antony - Always man number two, Mark Antony
is great to have as a friend and bad to have as an enemy. Perhaps not as bright
or honest as Brutus, he may be the most passionate character of the play.
Cassius - A sly and cynical manipulator, Cassius betrays Caesar for personal
motivations. Although he has "a lean and hungry look" (I.ii.194) in
the end he too is shown to be a human being worth empathy. Octavius - Octavius
is the soulless strong man who puts everything right in the end. Caesar may have
been ambitious, but at least he had a family, and a softer side. Octavius is a
terse and single minded power seeker, just the sort of thing necessary to get
things back in order after a civil war. Casca - A not very bright, and often
mercurial conspirator. Portia - Brutus's wife. Calpurnia - Caesar's wife.
Lucilius - A servant of Brutus Cinna, Ligarius, Trebonius, Decius Brutus,
Metellus Cimber - Other conspirators.
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