Beware the SPOILER ALERT!
Due to popular demand, and popular enjoyment, here’s a full synopsis of the play. Remember, DO NOT read if you like surprises, but please DO read if you’re curious about content.
(If visuals are more your style, scroll down for an animated YouTube video)
JULIUS CAESAR by William Shakespeare
To note: In a modern twist, a number of key male roles will be played by women in our production!
Julius Caesar, a great Roman General, is triumphantly returning from battle. He has defeated the sons of his archrival, and the people hold a parade in his honour. Amidst the celebration, a soothsayer calls out above the crowd, “Beware the Ides of March!” (I, ii) Caesar calls him down and asks him to speak again. He does. Caesar decides to ignore the warning and continues to celebrate.
Brutus, an honourable man, sees the joy and blind faith the people hold for Caesar, and fears that they want him for their King. This would overturn the republic, and although Brutus is a friend of Caesar, he knows this cannot be. Brutus struggles with his conscience. Cassius, a jealous woman out of favour with Caesar, agrees with him. “What should be in that Caesar? Why should that name be sounded more than yours?” (I, iii) She also believes Caesar must be stopped, but she needs Brutus on her side. Cassius plots to sway Brutus. She sends fake letters from Roman citizens opposing Caesar’s reign and asking for Brutus’ help. Then she appears with a team of conspirators to appeal to him in person. Now convinced, Brutus plots with them to murder Caesar for the good of the republic. They depart. Portia, Brutus’ wife, pleads with him to tell her what troubles him, but he refuses her.
The 15th, or the Ides of March arrive and Caesar prepares to go to Senate. But not without warning: his wife Calpurnia begs him not to go after recounting a disturbing dream of his death. He goes anyway. The soothsayer tries to reach him a second time without success, and a citizen presents him with a letter with word of the murderous plot. Caesar ignores them all. He meets his fate: ten hooded thugs encircle him, before stabbing him, one by one. The last to strike a blow is Brutus, and Caesar utters the famous Latin phrase, “Et tu, Brute?” (III, i) and dies. Antony, a loyal friend of Caesar, discovers the scene, and left alone, vows to avenge Caesar’s death.
Both Brutus and Antony speak to the masses. Brutus says Caesar was ambitious and only wanted power. Brutus confesses his deed and admits that he loved Caesar, but loves Rome more. Therefore, his act was justified. The crowds seem appeased, until Antony speaks. Antony questions Brutus’ intent, saying Caesar was a kind and generous man who had refused three offers of the crown. He had brought power and wealth to Rome. She then reads Caesar’s will, which demands that his money and property be distributed amongst the people. The masses are outraged that such a generous man is dead – so Brutus and Cassius are driven into exile.
Civil war breaks out. The murderers raise armies to protect themselves. Octavius, Caesar’s successor, also raises an army to defeat the murderers. Portia, ashamed and alone, takes her life. Brutus fights valiantly, but upon receiving news of their crumbling troops, Cassius and Brutus each take their lives. Octavius celebrates his victory and becomes the new Caesar of Rome.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoWknaC082w] BBC’s Animated Shakespeare Series, Part 1 of 3. Check out the rest on YouTube!
Stage violence will be used in our production, and please consider the content above.
More links & resources:
No Fear Shakespeare! http://nfs.sparknotes.com/juliuscaesar/
Some good ol’ Wikipedia info on The Man himself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julius_Caesar
As always, catch us on Twitter @CarouselTheatre, on facebook, and online at www.carouseltheatre.ca
Until next time…