Julius Caesar Overview

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Julius Caesar

Key Facts

Full title - The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

Author - William Shakespeare

Type of work - Play

Genre - Tragic drama, historical drama

Language - English

Time and place written - 1599, in London

Date of first publication - Published in the First Folio of 1623, probably from the theater company's official promptbook rather than from Shakespeare's manuscript

Publisher - Edward Blount and William Jaggard headed the group of five men who undertook the publication of Shakespeare's First Folio

Narrator - None

Climax - Cassius's death (V.iii), upon ordering his servant, Pindarus, to stab him, marks the point at which it becomes clear that the murdered Caesar has been avenged, and that Cassius, Brutus, and the other conspirators have lost in their attempt to keep Rome a republic rather than an empire. Ironically, the conspirators' defeat is not yet as certain as Cassius believes, but his death helps bring about defeat for his side.

Protagonists - Brutus and Cassius

Atagonists - Antony and Octavius

Setting (Time) - 44 B.C.

Setting (Place) - Ancient Rome, toward the end of the Roman republic

Point of view - The play sustains no single point of view; however, the audience acquires the most insight into Brutus's mind over the course of the action

Falling action - Titinius's realization that Cassius has died wrongly assuming defeat; Titinius's suicide; Brutus's discovery of the two corpses; the final struggle between Brutus's men and the troops of Antony and Octavius; Brutus's self-impalement on his sword upon recognizing that his side is doomed; the discovery of Brutus's body by Antony and Octavius

Tense - Present

Foreshadowing - The play is full of omens, including lightning and thunder, the walking dead, and lions stalking through the city (I.iii). Additionally, the Soothsayer warns Caesar to beware...