Julius Ceasar: Overview


SUMMARY:

Shakespeare's Julius Caesar is the story of the resulting
conflicts from the assassination of perpetual dictator and Roman
emperor, Julius Caesar. A great friend of Caesar, Mark Antony,
comes to the senate to see the dead body of their dictator. He
pretends to not be angry at those who took part in the
assassination, and asks to speak at his funeral, a request which
he is granted. However, after the men leave, he begins a soliloquy
in which he suggests that Caesar's spirit will take revenge upon
his murderers and invoke a war involving the entire country.
Antony begins the revenge of his death by speaking at the funeral
about the wrong done to Caesar, the man's generosity to the
people, and how Brutus tried to persuade them to believe his
justification of the murder. The crowd turns to agreement with
Antony and then accuse the conspirators of murder. The accused
men flee, eventually leaving the bounds of the city, and the
citizens leave to loot and burn the houses of the guilty men.
The armies of Brutus and Cassius set up camps near another city
and knowing that Antony's soldiers are coming, they decide to
march toward the enemy at once. The fighting begins with the
confrontation of the two sides, as Cassius' and Brutus' armies
arrive. Antony and his partner challenge the assassins to fight,
and the bloody battle begins. The armies of the conspirators fall
into vulnerability many times, and their side does poorly, losing
many men. Cassius hears mistakenly that one of his important
soldiers has been captured, loses hope, and commits suicide, while
Brutus feels that his army has been cornered, and throws himself
onto another man's sword, killing himself also. They call off the
rest of the battle, for Antony's army now had victory over Brutus
and Cassius, Caesar's murder had been avenged, and order had been
restored.

CHARACTERS:

There are a couple of main characters in this story. Caesar is
well liked by the citizens of Rome, yet is a somewhat arrogant man
and believes himself to be above everybody else. He is given
praise often and honored by events such as a holiday in his name.
However, several men do not agree that Caesar should have such a
high title, as they despise his character. These six men conspire
to kill the emperor to end what they see as his tyranny and
oppression in Rome.

A man named Cassius organizes the event, while a powerful figure,
Brutus, persuades Caesar to come to the senate, where he is to be
killed. While the emperor argues with one of the conspirators, a
man named Casca stabs him in the back, and the other men follow
and wound him with their swords until he falls to the ground,
dead.

EVALUATION:

In this play, Shakespeare gave morals to the audience about right
and wrong and acting upon one's opinion. He showed that one
should not bring death to someone else based on their personal
desires, or whether they believe it is in the best interest of
their society, for they are only one person out of the many who
have a voice. He also implies that if one commits an act of wrong,
justified, or not, they can expect to be punished for it by the
others who were hurt by those actions.