Julius Caesar Summary
The play, Julius Caesar, begins with Tribunes, Marullus and Flavius scolding the Roman people who blindly worship Caesar. Their dialog discusses their great fears that Caesar is growing too powerful and must be stopped. Later, Caesar leads a procession through the streets of Rome. A soothsayer tells Caesar to beware of the ides of March, warning he will die on this day. Caesar ignores the telling. Cassius begins to recruit Brutus, a friend of Caesar's, to help assassinate Caesar, but Brutus becomes suspicious of his motives. Casca, another conspirator, tells Brutus of the information suggesting Cassius' fears may be real.
To help ensure Brutus joins in the conspiracy, Cassius has Cinna place some forged letters in places to where Brutus will find them. Brutus is unable to sleep, and reveals his fears of Caesar. He discovers the letters and joins the conspiracy, helping plan the assassination, but argues against having Mark Antony murdered as well.
Calphurnia, one of Caesar's wives, tells Caesar her dream foretells doom, convincing him to not go to the Senate tomorrow, which is the ides of March. Decius Brutus, hears of Caesar's plans to not go to the Senate and convinces him to go to not look weak. Artemidorus and the soothsayer try to warn Caesar of Brutus, but fail. While at the Senate, the conspirators kill Caesar, leaving Mark Antony to flew, but ask to speak at the funeral. Cassius thinks it is dangerous, but Brutus tells Antony to speak.
Brutus and Cassius gain support from the citizens of Rome by explaining why they killed Caesar. Using the famous words, "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;" Mark Antony turns the citizens against Brutus and Cassius by making them feel remorse for Caesar's death. The crowd turns into a mob and go after the conspirators. Mark Antony and Octavius start planning their attack on Brutus and Cassius.
Brutus meets Caesar's ghost, which tells him he will see him again at Philippi. On the Plains of Philippi, the forces of Mark Antony and Octavius face Brutus and Cassius' forces. Later in battle, Brutus sends orders to Messala, a messenger, to give to Cassius' forces on the other side of the battlefield. Cassius' forces lose ground, but Brutus' forces defeated Octavius; but do not help Cassius.
Cassius sends Titinius to a nearby hill to report if it is friendly. Cassius then instructs Pindarus to report Titinius' progress to him. Pindarus sees Titinius pull of his horse and fears he has been captured â€“- this would mean Brutus' forces have been beaten, so Cassius kills himself using Pindarus' sword. Titinius returns and reveals that he was not killed, but greeted by Brutus' forces. Brutus learns of Cassius' death as the battle rages on. Brutus becomes tired and weary and rests with his followers. One by one, Brutus asks Clitius, Dardanius and Volumius to kill him, but each refuse. Finally Brutus falls on his sword, killing him. Octavius, Mark Antony, Messala and Lucilius arrive. Strato explains how Brutus died and Mark Antony pays tribute to Brutus' noble spirit by saying, "This was the noblest Roman of them all."Return to William Shakespeare biography