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Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar: Summary

The story of Shakespeare‘s Julius Caesar sets forth in Rome around 44 B.C. Caesar is a beloved Roman official. People hold him in such high esteem that an official named Mark Antony offers Caesar the crown that would make him king. Caesar refuses but by now there is a group of men who are so jealous of Caesar’s standing that they come up with a plan to murder Caesar. The men say they are acting out of their love for Rome. They say that Caesar has become so ambitious that he will make slaves of them all. Among the conspirators is Caesar’s good friend, Brutus.

Caesar receives a warning that something bad will happen on the ides of March. The morning arrives and Caesar’s wife, Calpurnia, pleads with Caesar to remain home from the Senate. Calpurnia says she’s had a dream about Caesar and believes it means that Caesar is going to die. Caesar initially laughs it off, saying that he can’t hide each time danger threatens. Calpurnia pleads with him and says that he can tell everyone that he is staying home just to satisfy her. He agrees and prepares to send word that he won’t be attending the Senate meeting that day. One of the conspirators, Decius, arrives. He agrees to take the message to the Senate but asks Caesar for an explanation. When Caesar recounts Calpurnia’s dream, Decius offers a different interpretation. He says the dream means that Caesar is going to be offered a great honor on this day. While he says the same honor might be offered some other day, he suggests that the officials might have time to reconsider and that the offer might never come a second time. Caesar says he has been foolish to consider Calpurnia’s dream a warning and goes to the Senate.

There, several of the officials, including Brutus, Decius, and Cassius, gather around Caesar and begin stabbing him with their daggers. Caesar realizes that Brutus is among his attackers and sees this as the ultimate betrayal. He dies. The conspirators kill no one else, fearing that they will be seen as butchers rather than men with a clear and honorable objective. Antony is given permission to speak at Caesar’s funeral and he does so, following Brutus’s comments.

Brutus points out that Caesar was overly ambitious and that Rome was in danger under his leadership. The crowd takes Brutus’s words to heart. The people are ready to condemn Caesar. Then Brutus leaves and Antony takes the podium. He reminds the people of Caesar’s actions and they realize that Brutus lied. When Antony tells the people that Caesar left each person some money and left some of his private lands to be used by the people, the citizens become angry at Brutus and the others who killed their beloved Caesar. They are soon running through the city, killing everyone they believe to be among the murders.

A short time later, Brutus and Cassius meet Antony on the battlefield. Antony is joined by another who believes the conspirators must be punished, Octavius. Antony and Octavius are victorious and Brutus and Cassius are among those who die, bringing an end to the need to avenge Caesar’s death.

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