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Julius Ceaser Essay, Research Paper
Summaries of Julius Caesar Act I This first Act contains only three scenes, but each are important for many reasons. It begins with two tribunes, Flavius and Murellus, who scold commoners who parade down the street to celebrate Caesar’s victory over Pompey. The two tribunes shame the commoners for celebrating the death of one of Rome’s former leaders, and they depart solemnly. On February 15th the festival of Lupecalia is celebrated, and Caesar arrives in the city along with Antony and Brutus. A soothesayer approaches Caesar and tells him to, “Beware the ides of March”. Brutus and Cassius remain and converse with one and other. Cassius complains that Caesar has become so powerful that even though he once saved Caesar’s life, he must now bow before him. Meanwhile Caesar remarks to Antony that Cassius thinks too much, and that such men are dangerous. Later on, Antony offers Caesar the crown three times, and three times Caesar turns it down. The people worshiped Caesar even more for turning away from the crown. There are many details in Act I that to what will happen in the near future. Act II In this Act, with the help of Brutus, the conspirators come together to seriously form a plan to kill Caesar. It begins with Brutus in his garden who has made up his mind that Caesar must be killed because Caesar is abusing his power and is ascending too far too quickly. The conspirators come to Brutus’s house to discuss their plan. After they leave, Brutus’s wife Portia begs him to tell her why he’s been so upset recently by stabbing herself in the leg. Caesar’s wife Calpurnia had a dream where Caesar is murdered, and she convinces him not to go to the Senate that morning. However, Decius arrives at that moment and claims that Caesar would be mocked if he didn’t show up. Decius also sarcastically asks if the Senate should be dissolved until Calpurnia has a more favorable dream. Caesar decides to go the Senate and is escorted by the rest of the conspirators along with Antony. Artemidorus has written a letter to Caesar containing the names of all the conspirators, and he plans to give it to Caesar who is on his way to the Senate. The beginning stages of Caesar’s assassination have already taken place so the final act is inevitable. Act III This Act can be considered the climax of the play. Caesar is outside of the Senate house with Antony and all of the conspirators when he sees the soothesayer, and tells him that the ides of March have come. The soothesayer responds, “Ay Caesar, but not gone”. Next, Artemidorus attempts to give Caesar the letter, but is thwarted by Decius. Then, Trebonious lured Antony away so that he may not interfere with the assassination. Caesar decides not to grant Metellus Cimber’s brother release from banishment which creates an uproar of disapproval from many of the conspirators. Finally Casca kneels down and says, “Speak hands for me”. They all stab Caesar many times who falls saying, “Et tu, Brute!” Brutus then gives a short speech of finally receiving peace and freedom. Antony’s servant then arrives, and tells Brutus that Antony wishes to meet with and learn why it was necessary to kill Caesar. Antony arrives and laments the death of Caesar. Brutus tells him that Caesar was destroying the republic and had to be removed from power. Antony pretends to be convinced, and shakes the hand of each of the conspirators naming them as he shakes their hand. Antony asks for permission to take the body to the marketplace, and show it to the crowd. Brutus decides to give his speech first at the funeral, and allow Antony to speak afterwards, as long as he speaks positively about the conspirators which Antony agrees to. Brutus and Cassius tell the plebeians to follow them to hear why Caesar was murdered. Brutus gives a powerful speech to public and finally asks them if they want him to commit suicide to which they reply, “Live Brutus, live!” Antony gives his speech next. He presents images where Caesar has not been ambitious, and the crowd begins to think that Caesar was wrongly murdered. Antony then reads Caesar’s will in which Caesar gives every citizen seventy-five drachmas. This throws the crowd into anger against all who killed Caesar. Next, Octavius’s servant arrives and tells Antony that Octavius is waiting for him at Caesar’s house. Cinna the poets was wandering through the town, and was attacked by a mob who thought that he was Cinna the conspirator. So this Act was truly the main, climactic Act of the play. Act IV In this Act Antony, Octavius and Lepidus have banded together in a counter-conspiracy to destroy the men who killed Caesar.Antony then sends Lepidus to Caesar’s house to fetch the will. He hopes to somehow reduce the amount of money that needs to be paid to the beneficiaries.. Antony implies that he will eventually remove Lepidus from rule, but that they should keep him a while longer. Brutus has brought his armies to Sardis and set up camp there. A messenger whom he sent to Cassius informs him that Cassius is not as friendly anymore. At that moment Cassius’ army arrives. Cassius is upset that Brutus publicly disgraced a friend of his for taking bribes from the Sardians. Brutus tells Cassius that he is upset that Cassius refused to send him gold with which to pay his soldiers. Cassius denies it, and in exasperation pulls out his dagger and tells Brutus to kill him if he is such a bad person, but Brutus refuses and they become friends once again. Brutus finally informs Cassius that Portia is dead. Cassius is surprised by the news and asks how it happened. Brutus tells him that Portia, left alone in the city after he fled, was upset that Octavius and Antony had seized control of Rome. She therefore took live embers and swallowed them, thus killing herself. Brutus tells him not to speak of her anymore. Brutus and Messala compare letters they have received informing them that Antony and Octavius are marching towards them from Greece. Messala tells Brutus that over one hundred senators have been put to death, but Brutus says his letter only mentioned seventy.Brutus and Cassius must then decide whether to wait for Antony and Octavius in Sardis or march to meet the opposing army in Philippi. Cassius would prefer to wait and keep his men fresh, but Brutus thinks that the enemy is gaining in power every day and therefore needs to be stopped as soon as possible. Cassius finally agrees with him and leaves for his tent to go to bed before leaving in the morning. Brutus takes his book and starts reading, but the ghost of Julius Caesar enters and causes the flame to dim. Brutus demands to know who has entered the room, and the ghost tells him, “Thy evil spirit, Brutus”. Brutus then asks the ghost why he has come, and is told that the ghost will see him again at Philippi. The ghost leaves, and Brutus immediately wakes up everyone in the room. He tells Varrus and Claudio to go inform Cassius that he should take his army and march on ahead. Act V In this Act, Antony and Octavious get their revenge. Octavius and Antony, located on a battlefield in Philippi, have just learned that Brutus and Cassius are marching to their location. A messenger arrives and tells both generals that the enemy is so close that they must do something quickly. Brutus and Cassius arrive at the head of their army. The generals all meet and start to insult each other. Antony accuses Brutus and Cassius of being “villains,” whereas Cassius tells Brutus that they would not have to listen to Antony now if he had been allowed to kill him as he originally wanted to. The men refuse to back down and they are forced to return to their armies and prepare for battle. Cassius then talks to Brutus and asks him what he will do if they should lose the battle. Brutus rejects suicide, but also tells Cassius that he will never be dragged through the street of Rome as a prisoner. The two generals say farewell to one another and return to their respective armies to prepare for battle. The battle has started and Brutus gives Messala orders to take to Cassius. He tells Messala to inform Cassius that he needs to advance faster in order to catch Octavius’ flank which is not fighting very well. Cassius is upset because he is afraid his men are running away from the field of battle. He tells Titinius that he personally killed his standard-bearer who was trying to run away and took up the banner himself. Titinius informs him that Brutus “gave the word too early” and that his soldiers quickly started looting the enemy camp once they captured it. In the meantime, Antony’s army has been able to surround Cassius. Pindarus arrives and tells Cassius to run further away. Cassius sends Titinius to check on some soldiers and find out if they are his men or not, and simultaneously sends Pindarus up a hill to watch and see what happens. Pindarus tells him that Titinius is captured by the troops. Cassius calls Pindarus back down from the hill and hands him the sword with which he stabbed Caesar. He tells Pindarus to take the sword and stab him with it. Pindarus obeys and kills Cassius on the spot before running away himself. Titinius then picks up Cassius’ sword and kills himself. Brutus arrives and sees the two dead bodies lying on the ground. He remarks, “Oh Julius Caesar, thou art mighty yet” (5.3.93). Brutus quickly recovers from the loss of his confederate and immediately orders the soldiers to prepare for another battle, this time against Antony. Lucillius pretends to be Brutus and challenges the soldiers, but he is quickly captured. The soldiers send for Antony, thinking they have finally captured Brutus. Antony arrives and recognizes Lucillius and tells his soldiers that although they did not get Brutus, they still captured a nobleman. He orders his soldiers to continue fighting. Brutus arrives accompanied by several stranglers from his defeated army. At the sound of another call to battle, Brutus hastily gets up and orders his men to flee ahead of him. He keeps Strato with him, and finally convinces Strato to hold the sword while he impales himself upon it. Antony and Octavius arrive with their army. They find Brutus dead on the ground and Strato nearby who informs them how Brutus died. Of all the conspirators only Brutus really believed that he was killing Caesar to uphold the Roman Republic. Octavius orders the body to be placed in his tent and gives the order to cease fighting. He ends the play with the lines, “So call the field to rest, and let’s away / To part the glories of this happy day”. Now all of the conspirators are dead, and thus ending the play.
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