JULIUS CAESAR

SYNOPSIS

Act I scene i
Flavia and Marullus scold a group of rowdy workers, chastising them for wanting to crown Caesar their king, thus ending the Roman Republic, and forgetting that they recently cheered for Pompey the Great.

I ii
Caesar enters to the cheers of the public and to initiate the races celebrating the Feast of the Lupercal. A soothsayer warns Caesar to beware the Ides of March, the next day (March 15), but he dismisses her. After the throng has gone to see the festival games, Cassius, a Senator, questions his fellow Senator Brutus about Caesar's dangerous ambitions, trying to win Brutus to his cause: the overthrow of Caesar. Caesar returns, having almost been crowned by the people. He tells Marc Antony that he does not trust Cassius. After Caesar exits, Casca, another nobleman, stays behind and confirms the fears of Brutus and Cassius. Cassius, alone onstage, considers how the upright and honorable Brutus could be made to join a deadly conspiracy against Caesar.

I iii
There is a violent storm and Casca is frightened, believing it an omen of evil, but Cassius scolds him for being afraid. The men plot. Cinna, another conspirator, enters, and they discuss how to win Brutus to their cause.

II i
In his garden, Brutus, unable to sleep, determines that the only way to prevent Caesar's ambition from destroying the Republic is to kill him. The other conspirators arrive, plan the murder and argue whether anyone else shall be killed in addition to Caesar. After they leave, Brutus' wife, Portia, enters, very worried about Brutus' secretive behavior. Brutus is moved, and comforts her, promising to confide in her later. Caius comes to fetch Brutus and pledges himself passionately to the cause.

II ii
Caesar is also sleepless, and his wife, Calpurnia, frightened by dreams, entreats him not to leave the house. Decius, another of the conspiators, arrives to escort Caesar to the Senate. When Caesar says he will not come, Decius tells Caesar that he must come because the crown will be offered to him that day.

II iii
Artemidora has written a note warning Caesar to beware of those Senators who seem to be his friends.

II iv
Portia, knowing what Brutus has planned, asks Lucius, Brutus' servant, to go to the Senate and report back to her. The Soothsayer confirms that she fears something evil will happen to Caesar.


III i
Artemidora urges Caesar to read her warning, but the conspirators brush her aside. Caesar presides over the Senate session. The Conspirators distract him, crowd around him, and kill him. They declare that liberty and freedom have overcome tyranny.
Onlookers are beginning to panic. The conspirators decide to bathe themselves in Caesar’s blood and proclaim peace, freedom, and liberty through the streets. Mark Antony’s servant asks whether it is safe for Mark Antony to approach. Brutus believes Mark Antony will be a friend, but Cassius doubts it. Mark Antony enters and praises Caesar, and demands to know why murder has been done. Brutus, against Cassius’s advice, gives Antony permission to speak at Caesar’s funeral. Antony, alone onstage, lets his love for Caesar pour forth, and his true feelings about the butchers who have murdered his friend. He sends a servant to warn Octavius Caesar, Caesar's nephew.

3.2
The people demand to know why Caesar has been murdered. Brutus takes the pulpit and explains: Caesar was an ambitious man who would have become a tyrant. He had to die so the people of Rome could be free. They are moved by Brutus’s speech and accept his reasons. Mark Antony enters with Caesar’s body. Brutus begs the people to give Antony their attention. They are convinced that Brutus has delivered them. However, Antony’s speech persuades them that Caesar has been severely wronged. They are swayed to believe that Antony, not Brutus, is the noblest man in Rome. Antony brings forth Caesar’s will and the people demand to hear it. Antony skillfully builds anticipation, refusing at first to read the will, as it will inflame their anger at the injustice that’s been done. He turns them against the “traitors” who have murdered Caesar. He laments over Caesar’s body, making especial note of the stab wound made by Brutus, so beloved of Caesar. Overcome with pity and the desire for revenge, the people erupt in a rage. Mark Antony denies that he intended to stir their blood to mutiny, faning the flames. Finally he reads Caesar’s will, which generously remembers the citizens of Rome with money and public parks. The people run wild, departing in a frenzy to seek out and burn the traitors' houses. Antony is satisfied. He receives news that Octavius has come to Rome.

3.3
The plebeians attack Cinna the poet, mistaking him for Cinna the conspirator. They proceed to the houses of the other conspirators, desiring to destroy everything.

4.1
Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus discuss killing the conspirators, including Publius, Antony’s nephew, and they plan to amend Caesar’s will to make its terms less generous. After Lepidus exits, Antony expresses his disdain for the man. He declares that since Brutus and Cassius are mustering armies, he and Octavius must do the same.



4.2
Brutus and his friend Lucilius discuss Cassius, who is nearby with his own army. Brutus feels that Cassius’s love for him is cooling. Cassius enters and openly accuses Brutus of doing him wrong. Brutus denies it and insists that they air their griefs privately. Once they are alone, Cassius complains that Brutus has condemned his friend Lucius Pella for a trivial offense. Brutus accuses Cassius of extortion. Their argument escalates. Brutus is disgusted by Cassius’s unscrupulous behavior. Cassius had refused to send Brutus money for raising arms, leaving Brutus unable to pay his troops, for he is too honorable to raise money by vile means—i.e., by taxing the poor. In the end, however, they are friends once again. Brutus tells Cassius of Portia’s horrible death—she committed suicide by swallowing hot coals. The young officers Titinius and Messala enter. They discuss how best to face Octavius and Antony’s army and agree to meet the forces at Philippi. After Cassius and the others exit, Brutus is alone with his servant; he asks for a song to divert his spirits. The ghost of Caesar appears. He tells Brutus that he shall see him again at Philippi.

5.1
Octavius, Antony, and their army enter. Cassius and Brutus approach them for a parley. Bitter words are exchanged, and they resolve to fight. After Octavius and Antony exit, Cassius confesses his misgivings about the battle. Cassius and Brutus bid each other farewell.

5.2
Brutus calls his men to arms, and the battle begins.

5.3.
Cassius’s own men desert in fear. Cassius blames Brutus for sending their forces in too early. Pindarus gives Cassius the news that Titinius has been taken. Cassius, believing that all is lost, asks Pindarus to help him commit suicide. After Cassius is dead, Messala enters with Tintinius, who has not been killed. Messala goes to tell Brutus what has happened. Titinius, overcome with grief, kills himself. Brutus finds his friends dead, and declares that Caesar has had his revenge. He then resolves to continue the fight.

5.4
The armies clash, and Lucilius is taken. Antony commands his men to treat the prisoner fairly, and to continue seeking Brutus.

5.5
Brutus and his remaining friends take a rest from the futile fight. Brutus wants to die, and asks his comrades to kill him. They refuse. Some of his friends flee and urge Brutus to do the same. But Strato agrees to help Brutus to kill himself. Antony enters, finds Brutus dead, and mourns him, declaring that only he among the conspirators stabbed Caesar for noble reasons.

Synopsis by - Vanessa Vozar

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