Julius Caesar Summary Essay Research Paper Act

Julius Caesar Summary Essay, Research Paper

Act I, Scene i Summary Two patricians Flavius and Marcullus enter. They are

confused by the fact that the plebeians are not in their work clothes, and begin

to ask some plebeians what their jobs are. A carpenter admits he is a carpenter.

Next Marcullus asks a cobbler what his job is, and the cobbler answers in a

series of puns ("souls" / "soles"), ("withal" /

"with awl"). The cobbler explains that everyone is taking the day off

to celebrate Caesar’s victory over Pompey. Marcullus, in high rhetoric, insults

the plebeians for being fickle, since they very recently all liked Pompey. He

tells them all to go back home and feel very sorry for dishonoring Pompey’s

memory. The plebeians leave. Flavius suggests that the two of them take down all

of the pro-Caesar decorations. Marcullus is worried about getting into trouble

since it is the feast of Luprecal after all. Flavius insists, and recommends

they that drive all of the plebeians out of the streets. Finally he comments

that they must do something to humble Caesar or else he would put himself so far

above other men as to make them all slaves. Act I, Scene ii Summary Caesar and

his party enter. Caesar asks that his wife Calpurnia stand in Antony’s way and

that Antony touch her while he is running the race. Both agree. A soothsayer

warns Caesar of the ides of March. At first Caesar is interested, but then he

dismisses the soothsayer. All leaves except Brutus and Cassius. Cassius says

that Brutus hasn’t seemed himself recently. Brutus admits that he has been

troubled, and has been doing a lot of thinking. Cassius suggests he can tell

Brutus what has been troubling him. Brutus mistrusts Cassius’s motives. Cassius

assures Brutus he is trustworthy. They hear trumpets and shouting. Brutus

comments to himself that he hopes the people haven’t made Caesar a king. Cassius

asks Brutus if he fears the people will do so. Brutus admits he does, and asks

Cassius to get to the point. He says if Cassius wants him to do something for

the public good he will even if it means his death. Cassius says how upset he is

that Caesar has become so popular. He tells how he saved Caesar from drowning

when the two of them were children, and how he saw Caesar get very ill while

campaigning in Spain. Cassius says Caesar has gotten too powerful, and too

proud. Something must be done. He reminds Brutus that his ancestor of the same

name helped establish the Roman republic by driving out the Tarquin kings.

Brutus admits he is sympathetic and suggests they meet later. Caesar and company

return; they look upset. Brutus and Cassius agree to ask Casca what has

happened. Caesar tells Antony that "yond Cassius has a lean and hungry

look; / He thinks too much: such men are dangerous" (I.ii.194-5). Antony

assures him Cassius is not to be feared. Caesar agrees suggesting that he fears

nothing, but continues to criticize Cassius as a brooding and solemn fellow.

Caesar and company leave. Casca explains to Brutus and Cassius that Antony

offered Caesar a crown three times, each time Caesar refused it, but each time

less fervently, and the third time Caesar went into and epileptic fit, i.e.,

"the falling sickness" (I.ii2.52). Indeed, Caesar was so popular with

the crowd that he offered them his throat to cut as a dramatic gesture. After

Caesar recovered from his fit the crowd cheered and clapped all the more.

Cassius asks if Cicero said anything, and Casca makes several jokes about unable

to understand Cicero because he spoke in Greek. Casca also mentions that Flavius

and Marcullus are being put to death for defacing images of Caesar. Cassius

invites Casca to dinner the next night, and Casca leaves. Brutus says Casca

seemed awfully stupid. Cassius says he is just acting stupid so he can get away

with being more honest. Brutus says he will meet Cassius the next day and

leaves. In a soliloquy Cassius worries that he won’t be able to persuade Brutus

to kill Caesar. He decides to forge some letters encouraging him to do so, and

make it look like all of Rome is behind the idea. Act I, Scene iii Summary At

night Cicero enters with Casca. Cicero asks Casca if he brought Caesar home, and

why he looks so scared. Casca explains that he has seen several bad omens

including fire coming out of the sky, a slave’s hand go unburnt while on fire,

and a lion at the capitol. Casca realizes some would explain these things as

natural, but he thinks the gods must be angry with each other or with man.

Cicero admits things are strange but suggests that people interpret things

however they want to interpret them. Cicero asks Casca if Caesar is going to go

to the capitol the next day. Indeed he is, Casca answers. Cicero leaves, and

Cassius enters. After identifying him Casca reiterates his fears about the

weather to Cassius. Cassius coolly explains that he isn’t worried. Cassius

claims that Casca is stupid not to see that these omens are the result of

someone’s ambitious evil deeds. Casca takes the hint that Cassius is blaming

Caesar and admits he has heard a rumor the senate will crown Caesar the next day

at the capitol. Caesar is to wear the crown everywhere except Italy. Cassius

insists he won’t tolerate tyranny. Casca says, me too. They agree to do

something about Caesar. Cinna enters, asks where Cassius has been. Cassius wants

to know if the other conspirators are waiting for him. Cinna says they are, and

implores Cassius to persuade Brutus to join the conspirators. Cassius gives

Cinna the fake letters to drop off at Brutus’s house, and Cinna leaves. Casca

and Cassius discuss how helpful having Brutus’s cooperation would be to make the

assassination seem right and proper. Act II, Scene i Summary Not knowing what

time it is, Brutus calls for his sleeping servant, Lucius. Brutus asks him for a

candle to be put in his study. Next comes a very famous speech by Brutus

(II.i.10-34). He must kill Caesar even though Caesar hasn’t done anything

personally offensive to him. In fact Brutus can’t think of anytime when Caesar

acted out of emotion rather than reason. But he must be killed, because like a

serpent in the egg he is likely to be poisonous after a while. Lucius returns

having found a letter on the windowsill. Brutus wants to know if it is the ides

of March. Lucius doesn’t know, and leaves to check. The meteor shower that so

scared Casca has given Brutus enough light to read. The letter says "kill

Caesar" in veiled terms. Lucius returns to say that it is the ides of march

(March 15) just in time to answer the door where Cassius and his pals wait.

Lucius leaves. Cassius presents the conspirators and Brutus welcomes them:

Trebonius, Decius Brutus, Casca, Cinna, Metellus Cimber. They all hold hands.

Cassius proposes an oath. Brutus says there will be no oath since they are all

honest Romans doing honest business. Cassius proposes they add Cicero to the

group. This idea gains popularity but is struck down by Brutus. Cassius proposes

they kill Antony too, again Brutus says no in a famous speech (II.i.162-183):

"Lets carve him [Caesar] like a dish fit for the gods / not hew him like a

carcass fit for hounds" (II.i.173-4). Antony is no danger once Caesar is

dead. He may kill himself, but that is unlikely since he likes to party. The

clock strikes (a frequently commented upon impossibility in Roman times).

Cassius says that despite his normal attitude Caesar is superstitious and may

not come to the capitol that day. Decius says he can make sure Caesar comes.

Cassius insists they all go to meet Caesar at his house at 9 o’clock. Metellus

suggests Cais Ligarius be added to the conspiracy. Brutus agrees and tells

Metellus to bring Cais Ligarius to Brutus’ house. They all depart after Brutus

reminds them to look happy and well slept. Brutus calls for Lucius, decides to

let him sleep, and says how nice it would be to sleep carefree. Portia, Brutus’

wife, enters worried about why Brutus has been so anxious. Brutus says he is

sick, but Portia doesn’t believe him and wants to know who the men were that

just visited. Each assure the other of how much the love each other, and Brutus

agrees to share his secrets, but not right now because someone is at the door.

Lucius presents Cais Ligarius who is sick. Ligarius asks if Brutus has a project

worth doing. Brutus admits he has. Ligarius recovers from his illness and agrees

to participate not knowing what the project is. Act II, Scene ii Summary Caesar

also hasn’t been sleeping well, and takes note of the strange weather. He

mentions Calpurnia, his wife, cried three times in her sleep "Help ho! They

murder Caesar!" (II.ii.3). Caesar has a servant tell the priest to perform

sacrifice and report the results back to him. Calpurnia comes and asks that

Caesar spend the day at home in light of all the bad omens. Caesar isn’t sure

the omens apply to him, and says that if fate will have him die there isn’t much

he can do. The priest also recommends he stay, but he doesn’t listen until

Calpurnia, kneeling, asks that he stay home just to keep her happy. He agrees

not to leave, but the conspirators arrive. By reinterpreting Calpurnia’s

nightmares, and telling Caesar of the rumor he will be given a crown, Decius

persuades him to go to the capitol. Brutus comments to himself it is a pity

Caesar is so trusting of his enemies. Act II, Scene iii Summary A guy named

Artemidorus looks over a warning note he is going to give to Caesar. He comments

to himself how much he hopes Caesar will read it in time. Act II, Scene iv

Summary Portia asks Lucius to go to the Capitol. He wants to know why. She is

nervous and has trouble explaining. She tells him to go see what happens and

especially to watch Brutus and Caesar. The soothsayer enters. Portia asks, where

he has been, what time it is, and is Caesar going to the Capitol? The soothsayer

explains that he comes from his home, it is nine o’clock, and Caesar is very

soon to come, and he fears Caesar is in some danger. He says goodbye to Portia

explaining he wants a better place to stand in order to talk to Caesar. Before

gong back home Portia reminds Lucius of his task. Act III, Scene I Summary On

his way to the capitol Caesar tells the soothsayer that the ides of March have

come. The soothsayer reminds him that the day isn’t over yet. Artemidorus tries

to give Caesar his letter of warning. Decius also tries to present a suit, but

Artemidorus argues that his is more important, and that Caesar should read it

first. Caesar says he will save what pertains most to him till last. Artemidorus

cries for his suit to be read, and Caesar thinks he is acting a bit weird. In

terms of the conspiracy, Popilius wishes Cassius well, implying he knows about

the plot. Cassius and Brutus start to worry about the success of their plot, as

Trebonius distracts Antony. Metellus asks Caesar to revoke the banishment of his

brother. The other conspirators join in asking. Caesar is surprised that they

all want him to release Metellus’s brother but insists that though they petition

well, he won’t change his mind. He, unlike other men, is constant. They all stab

Caesar at Cassius’s word. His final words are "Et tu Brute" meaning

"you too Brutus?" The conspirators celebrate, and assure the senators

they mean no one else harm. Casca and Brutus mention that they have done Caesar

a favor by cutting short the time he will fear death. Cassius and Brutus predict

that Caesar’s death will be acted out many centuries in the future. A servant of

Antony’s asks if Antony can talk to Brutus. Brutus says that’s fine and Antony

enters. Antony is sad that Caesar is dead and asks Brutus to kill him. Brutus

and Cassius assure Antony they mean him no harm. Brutus says he will explain why

they did this after he addresses the crowd. Antony shakes hands with the

conspirators and apologizes to Caesar’s body for doing so. He goes on and on

about how sad he is. Cassius asks Antony if he is going to cause them trouble.

Antony promises them friendship but asks to speak at Caesar’s funeral. Brutus

agrees. Cassius doesn’t want Antony to speak in case he sways the favor of the

crowd. Brutus assures Cassius, saying that he will speak first, but Cassius is

still worried. Everyone but Antony leaves. In a very famous speech

(III.i.254-275). Antony apologizes to Caesar for being nice to the conspirators

and then predicts that the country will soon be ravaged by a terrible civil war.

A servant of Octavius enters saying that Octavius is coming, upon Caesar’s

request. Then the servant notices Caesar is dead. Antony says Octavius should

wait before he comes to Rome, because Rome isn’t safe. Antony says he will try

to sway public opinion against the conspirators during his funeral oration. They

both leave. Act III, Scene ii Summary Brutus and Antony will both address the

crowd. First, Brutus’s speech: He says he loved Caesar dearly but loved Rome

more. Just as Brutus appropriately responded to Caesar’s triumphs and valor with

rejoicing and honor, he responded to his ambition by slaying him. If he has

offended someone that person loves tyranny and clearly there is no such person.

Brutus says he will die for Rome whenever it is necessary, just as it was

necessary for Caesar to die. The crowd is very pleased with Brutus and even

suggests he be crowned. Brutus asks that everyone stay to hear Antony’s very

famous speech (III.ii.74). Antony starts by saying he will not disagree with

Brutus, but quickly he says Caesar wasn’t ambitious. The comment he repeats

"And Brutus is an honorable man" is seen to be ironic. Every time

Antony pauses in his speech the comments of the plebeians are more spiteful

toward the conspirators. Antony reads Caesar’s will where Caesar gave a lot to

the public. He also displays Caesar’s body. The crowd is turned into an angry

mob out to get the conspirators. The crowds depart to burn and pillage.

Octavius’s servant comes and says that Octavius and Lepidus are at Caesar’s

house. Antony says he will meet them there. The servant mentions that Brutus and

Cassius have left the city in fear. Act III, Scene iii Summary Cinna the poet

(no relationship to Cinna the conspirator) is walking along the street. He

recalls a dream where he had dinner with Caesar. He says he doesn’t want to be

outside but "something leads me forth" (III.iii.4). Four plebeians ask

him his name, his destination, where he lives, and if he is married. He jokes

with them a little and reports that he lives near the capitol, is a bachelor, is

going to Caesar’s funeral, and his name is Cinna. They think is Cinna the

conspirator. He explains that he isn’t but they kill him anyway. Act IV, Scene I

Summary Antony, Octavius and Lepidus are making a list of whom to kill. Octavius

says they have to kill Lepidus’ brother. Lepidus says OK as long as they kill

Antony’s nephew. Antony sends Lepidus to fetch Caesar’s will so they can change

it in order to get some money. Lepidus Leaves. Antony says that Lepidus is only

good for doing busy work, and he is no longer useful. Octavius defends Lepidus

but says Antony can have it his way. Antony says Brutus and Cassius are raising

an army, and suggests to Octavius that the two of them have to do strategic

planning. Act IV, Scene ii Summary Lucius tells Brutus that Cassius and his army

are coming. Lucius says that Cassius was a bit cold to him when they met.

Cassius and his army arrive. Cassius is angry with Brutus and wants to talk to

him. Brutus says that he doesn’t want their armies to see them angry with each

other and suggests they talk in his tent. Act IV, Scene iii Summary Cassius is

angry because Brutus punished Lucius Pella for taking bribes even though Cassius

had written letters on his behalf. Brutus criticizes Cassius for taking bribes

himself. Cassius is angry and offended. Brutus reminds Cassius that they killed

Caesar for justice’s sake, so they would be hypocrites if they were unjust now.

The two of them threaten each other and begin to bicker like children. Cassius

says Brutus doesn’t love him, and offers Brutus a dagger and his naked chest.

Now they start to calm. They make up. A poet enters with some guards; he tries

to make everyone feel better by singing, but is quickly shown the door. Brutus

tells Cassius that he is sad. Cassius says that Brutus isn’t being very stoic as

he usually is, if he lets ordinary misfortunes upset him. Brutus tells Cassius

that Portia has killed herself. Lucius brings a bowl of wine. Brutus says not to

mention Portia anymore, and they pledge friendships to one another. Cassius is

clearly upset by Portia’s death. Titinius and Messala enter to bring news.

Antony and Octavius are bringing their armies to Phillipi. They have killed 70

(according to Brutus) or 100 (according to Messala) senators including Cicero.

Messala asks if Brutus has heard from Portia and then regretfully reports that

she is dead. Brutus says too bad; we all must die sometime. Cassius and Messala

comment about how well Brutus is handling Portia’s death. Returning to business,

Brutus suggests they meet the enemy at Phillipi. Cassius prefers waiting. Each

presents his arguments, and they agree to go to Phillipi. It’s time for bed.

Cassius, Titinius and Messala leave. Varro and Claudius come to be by Brutus

while he sleeps, in case he needs something. Lucius plays some music for Brutus.

Caesar’s ghost enters. Brutus is scared and asks what it is. The ghost says it

is Brutus’ evil spirit, and will meet him again at Phillipi. Brutus says: OK,

I’ll see you then. Brutus wakes his servants and asks them if they saw anything.

They say no. Brutus tells Varro and Claudius to go tell Cassius to get his

troops on the move. Act V, Scene I Summary Octavius is happy to see that Brutus

and Cassius’s army is coming to meet them. Antony suggests that Octavius lead

the left flank. Octavius suggests the opposite. Antony is upset that Octavius

contradicts him. Octavius says he isn’t contradicting him, but he will have his

way. Brutus and Cassius enter and exchange taunts with Octavius and Antony.

Octavius and Antony depart to prepare for battle. Brutus leaves to talk with

Lucius. Cassius tells Messala that it is his birthday, and even though he

usually doesn’t credit omens, the day before he saw two eagles eating from his

soldiers’ hands. Today there are ravens instead. Messala tells him to credit the

omen. Brutus and Cassius say their final good-byes. Act V, Scene ii Summary

Brutus perceives a weakness in Octavius’s army, and sends order to Cassius. Act

V, Scene iii Summary Antony has done very well against Cassius. Cassius send

Titinius to see how Brutus’s side is doing. Pindarus watches Titinius from a

hill; he sees him surrounded, taken off his horse, and hears a shout. Cassius

and his servant Pindarus assume that Brutus has lost. Cassius gives Pindarus his

freedom. Pindarus helps Cassius kill himself. Pindarus runs off. Titinius and

Messala come to tell Cassius the good news that Brutus has defeated Octavius.

They discover Cassius dead. Messala goes to report the bad news to Brutus. While

Messala is gone, Titinius crows Cassius’ corpse and kills himself. Brutus, Cato,

and Messala discover the two bodies. Brutus says that Caesar’s ghost still walks

and caused this confusion. Next, Brutus stoically says that he will find time to

mourn his two good friends, but now he will engage in second battle. Act V,

Scene iv Summary Brutus leaves for another part of the battlefield. Brutus’s

friends Cato and Lucilius charge the enemy. Lucilius shouts that he is Brutus.

Cato is killed, Lucilius taken prisoner. Antony’s soldiers present Lucilius to

Antony thinking he is Brutus. Antony realizes that Lucilius isn’t Brutus, and

tells his men to be very nice to Lucilius. Antony tells his men to report to

Octavius that the battle is going well. Act V, Scene v Summary Brutus is trying

to convince various members of his army to help him kill himself. No one agrees

saying that they might still win, and that it isn’t a nice thing to ask a

friend. Everyone runs because Antony and Octavius are coming. After saying his

good-byes to life, Brutus gets one of his servants Strato to hold his sword

while he runs into it. Antony and Octavius enter with Lucilius and Messala

captive. Octavius says any of Brutus’ servants can serve him now. With Messala’s

permission Strato become Octavius servant. Antony gives a nice, and famous,

speech about how noble Brutus was (V.v.68-76). Octavius ends the play by saying

that because Brutus had a good reputation if they give him an expensive funeral

it will make them look good. THE END List of Characters For Julius Caesar Julius

Caesar – The titular character is a loving husband, a devoted statesman, and a

trusting friend. Childless and deaf in one ear, at home he is a feeble and

superstitious, but kind man. At work he is strong, powerful, and stubborn. He

lets power go to his head and suffers for it. Brutus – Brutus is "the

noblest Roman of them all" (V.v.68). A devoted stoic, he always puts the

good of the state first. Also a good husband and an accomplished orator, Brutus

is a bit too trusting, and learns his lesson the hard way. Some consider Brutus

to be the play’s protagonist. Mark Antony – Always man number two, Mark Antony

is great to have as a friend and bad to have as an enemy. Perhaps not as bright

or honest as Brutus, he may be the most passionate character of the play.

Cassius – A sly and cynical manipulator, Cassius betrays Caesar for personal

motivations. Although he has "a lean and hungry look" (I.ii.194) in

the end he too is shown to be a human being worth empathy. Octavius – Octavius

is the soulless strong man who puts everything right in the end. Caesar may have

been ambitious, but at least he had a family, and a softer side. Octavius is a

terse and single minded power seeker, just the sort of thing necessary to get

things back in order after a civil war. Casca – A not very bright, and often

mercurial conspirator. Portia – Brutus’s wife. Calpurnia – Caesar’s wife.

Lucilius – A servant of Brutus Cinna, Ligarius, Trebonius, Decius Brutus,

Metellus Cimber – Other conspirators.


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