Julius Caesar | Sunday Observer

Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare is set in Rome, Italy in 44 B.C. and it begins with a depiction of Roman citizens watching Julius Caesar’s victory parade after returning from defeating his rival Pompey’s sons. Caesar is intoxicated with power, and there is dissent against him among Roman politicians such as Cassius and Brutus who think that Caesar is abusing his power and trying to establish a dictatorial regime which oppresses the people. Brutus is an honourable man who genuinely cares about the welfare of the people of Rome and he is democratic in his outlook. Brutus is a friend of Caesar’s and he decides to join the conspirators in assassinating Caesar only because Caesar’s unbridled quest for power threatens to destroy Rome, and not out of jealousy or hatred. Brutus’s anguish is made evident in Act 2 Scene 1 when his wife Portia pleads with him to confide in her about the reason for his recent change in behaviour.

A soothsayer has already warned Caesar to “beware of the Ides of March”, and Caesar’s wife Calpurnia pleads with him not to go to the Senate on that particular day because she had a bad dream that he will be murdered, but Caesar ignores these omens and goes to the Senate where he is assassinated by the conspirators. At Caesar’s funeral Brutus tells the Roman people that he loved Caesar but he loves Rome more and Caesar’s ambition and quest for power would have destroyed Rome. Mark Antony, a friend and supporter of Caesar’s vows to take revenge and he speaks at Caesar’s funeral and paints a picture of Caesar as a good leader who cared about the people and turns the public opinion against Brutus and the conspirators. Brutus and Cassius are driven out of Rome by the angry public and Caesar’s ghost visits Brutus and tells him that they will meet again on the battlefield. Cassius and Brutus commit suicide after conceding defeat in the battle with Mark Antony and Octavius Caesar. Shakespeare explores the themes of friendship, honour and fate in this play.