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The Tragedy of Julius

Caesar

by
William Shakespeare
Caesar Timeline
Caesar (102-44 B.C.); Son-in-Law, Pompey
Civil Wars 49 B.C. : Caesar vs. Pompey
Pompey flees to Egypt, and is murdered.
Caesar is victorious
Caesar elected consul (ruling magistrate of
Republic)
Named dictator for 10 years by Senate
Bio and play begin w/ Caesars victorious return
after defeating Pompeys son in Spain
Conspiracy already under way
Roman Empire 44 B.C.
Europe Today
Important Facts

Type of Plot: Tragedy


Time of Plot: 44 B.C.
Locale: Rome
First Performed: 1599-1600
First Published: 1601
Principal Characters
Julius Caesar, dictator of Rome
Mark Antony, his friend
Marcus Brutus, a conspirator against
Caesar
Caius Cassius, another conspirator
Portia, wife of Brutus and Cassius wife
Calpurnia, Caesars wife
Important Points
Based on Plutarchs Lives of the Noble
Grecians and Romans.
Shakespeare had to work his dramatic art
within the restrictions of known history.
We know that the play is not just about plot;
they are more about explorations into
human nature, about language, and about
the ambiguity that much of the lang.
presents.
Important Points Cont.
The historical events associated with
the death of Caesar and defeat of the
conspirators took 3 years; not 3 days.
Prose used in the play by comic and
less important characters.
This play is very political; monarchy
vs. democracy.
Important Points Cont.
Despite the title, Brutus, not Caesar, is
the hero of this play.
We often forget that these plays were
created to be heard and seen.
When we read a play, we miss some
of what we call the performance
language of the play.
Format of the Play: 5 Part
Dramatic Structure
Exposition: to Act I, scene ii
Complication: Act I, scene ii; to Act II,
scene iv
Climax: Act III, scene i
Consequence: Act III, scene ii; to Act
V, scene ii
Denouement: Act V, scenes iii to v
Key Terms
Dramatic Irony: when readers or audience know
info that a character does not know.
Blank Verse: unrhymed poetry written in iambic
pentameter.
Iambic Pentameter: has five pairs of syllables
(10 in all) with each pair following the pattern
unstressed/stressed.
Soliloquy: an act of speaking one's thoughts
aloud when alone or regardless of hearers.
Aside: an actor's remark addressed to the
audience rather than the other characters.
Key Terms Cont.
Monologue: a long speech by one
character to another character.
Tragic Flaw: a personality trait of the tragic
hero which leads to his downfall.
Anachronism: the placing of something in
the wrong historical period.
Tragedy: a play in which events turn out
disastrously for the main character or
characters.
Works Cited
Bloom, Harold, ed. William Shakespeares Julius
Caesar. New York: Chelsea House, 1988.

O Brien, Peggy, ed. Shakespeare Set Free. New


York: Washington Square Press, 1993.

Rosenblum, Joseph, ed. A Readers Guide to


Shakespeare. New York: Salem Press, Inc.,
1999.