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Julius Caesar Julius Caesar

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					Julius Caesar
        Life of Marcus Brutus
• Family history
  – Descended from Junius Brutus (Roman hero)
     • Expelled the Tarquins when they tried to change
       Rome from Republic to Monarchy
     • Paranoid about people trying to overthrow him
       (killed his own 2 sons)
     • Statue in Rome (referred to throughout play)
     • Tough and good with violent affairs, but his mind
       was not up for learning
     Life of Marcus Brutus
– Marcus Brutus’s mother, Servilia, was also
  from noble descent
  • One of Caesar’s lovers
  • Marcus Brutus born around same time Servilia and
    Caesar were lovers
  • Caesar suspected that Marcus Brutus was his son
  • Pompey had Brutus’s supposed father put to death
    (not Junius…he is an ancestor to Brutus)
        Life of Marcus Brutus
• Marcus Brutus’s Life
  – Naturally a good leader; had been
     • Honorable
     • Noble
     • Virtuous
  – Well-liked and highly regarded by commoners
    and his fellows
     • Put morality and values above personal gain
     • Decisions made were for the good of the people
  – Educated in Philosophy and Oration
        Life of Marcus Brutus
• His role in the conspiracy against Caesar
  – Cassius convinced Brutus to join through
    flattery
  – After he joined conspiracy, suffers from
    insomnia and was always “ill at ease”
  – Wife Portia, becomes concerned about him,
    and confronts him
     • Stabs herself in the leg to prove her love to Brutus
     • Also to prove that she could keep secrets he bore
       (constancy)
      Life of Marcus Brutus
– Thought killing Caesar was really the best
  thing for Rome. (Caesar was too “ambitious”)
– After killing Caesar, Brutus allows Mark
  Antony (friend of Caesar’s) to live
  • Grave mistake
  • Allows Antony to speak at Caesar’s funeral
  • After speech (Caesar’s will included) the citizens
    (plebians) riot and destroy the houses of
    conspirators and run them out of Rome
  • War begins: Antony and Octavius verse Brutus
    and Cassius
      Life of Marcus Brutus

– Brutus’s Vision:
  • He sees a ghost that says, “I shall see thee at
    Phillipi.”
  • Goes on to fight Antony and Octavius at Philippi
  • Once there, his forces are destroyed as are
    Cassius
  • Commits suicide by running into his own sword
    while his servant Strato holds it
         Life of Marcus Brutus
• Philosophy of Brutus
  – Stoic
    •   Moderation of everything
    •   Not too happy or too sad
    •   Even tempered no matter what comes
    •   Anything considered “right” or “noble” about the
        conspiracy was attributed to Brutus, according to
        Plutarch
       Life of Marcus Brutus
– Contrast this with Cassius (Brutus’s Foil)
   • Cassius was an Epicurean
   • Lived life for the sole purpose of pleasure
   • Self-interest
   • He does lose his cool and shifts from emotional
     highs to lows rather quickly in this play and his life
   • He was responsible for the “barbarous and cruel”
     acts of the conspiracy according to Plutarch
 More Roman History and characters related to the
        play and other Shakespeare plays

• 1st Triumvirate
  – Pompey, Julius Caesar, and Crassus ruled
    Rome as a triumvirate
     • Caesar and Pompey were military men, Crassus
       was a rich man
     • After quickly disposing of Crassus, Pompey and
       Caesar battled for sole possession of the Roman
       Empire
     • Caesar wins out
  – Caesar’s victory over Pompey brought peace
    to Rome after many years
 More Roman History and characters related
  to the play and other Shakespeare plays


• Marcus Brutus’s role in the Civil War
  – Everyone thought that he would side with Caesar
    because Pompey had ordered his father’s death
  – Surprisingly, Brutus joined Pompey as a matter of
    principle; he truly thought that Pompey was right and
    that Caesar was wrong
  – Pompey loses
  – Caesar orders that Brutus shouldn’t be captured by
    force and that if he should flee, let him do so
 More Roman History and characters related
  to the play and other Shakespeare plays

• Julius Caesar’s Reign
  – After overcoming Pompey, Caesar has
    brought many riches to Rome through his
    Gallic campaigns : Veni. Vidi. Vici.
  – He is considered one of the greatest military
    commanders of all time
  – Brought the Roman Empire all the way into
    Great Britain to Hadrian’s Wall
  – Named dictator for life
  – He suffered from epilepsy; “falling sickness”
 More Roman History and characters related
  to the play and other Shakespeare plays

  – The people, on 3 separate occasions, offered
    him the crown, but he refused all 3 times
  – Never named himself king
  – Killed by Cassius, Brutus, and other
    conspirators at the Senate meeting held in the
    presence of a statue of Pompey
• History after the Civil War – Octavius’s
  Reign
  – 2nd Triumvirate – Antony, Lepidus, and
    Octavius
More Roman History and characters related
 to the play and other Shakespeare plays

 – Lepidus is disposed of first
 – Antony and Octavius fight for rule of King
 – Antony allies himself with Cleopatra
 – Cleopatra uses her allure, beauty, and
   experience to manipulate Antony and distract
   him
   • When he should have been getting his army ready,
     he was messing around with her
   • On one occasion, Antony was abandoned by
     Cleopatra’s navy in the middle of a battle
More Roman History and characters related
 to the play and other Shakespeare plays

   • Even after these offenses, she charms him to still
     stick with her (she charmed Julius Caesar as well)
   • Eventually Antony loses the war and his life
     because of this
   • Cleopatra kills herself rather than be subject to
     Octavius
   • These events are dramatized in Shakespeare’s
     Antony and Cleopatra
   • Octavius rules the empire – becomes Emperor –
     Pax Romana

				
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