Julius Caesar is the first great tragedy in Shakespeare's oeuvre. When it was first performed in 1599 (it was probably written to open the new Globe Theatre), the play was a new departure for English theatre; nothing quite like it had been seen before. In this short political play, Shakespeare successfully combines high- paced action with powerful rhetoric. Shakespeare swiftly sketches the background to the events that built up to Caesar's assassination on 15th March 44 BC in a manner that effectively manages to capture the emotions of the times. Writing a play about a contentious historical event, Shakespeare manages to balance differing opinions about the validity of the assassination without casting his own verdict.