Julius Caesar Summary provides a quick review of
the play's plot including every important action in
the play. Julius Caesar Summary is divided by the five
acts of the play and is an ideal introduction before
reading the original text.
Shakespeare's famous Roman play opens to the scene
of two Tribunes, Marullus and Flavius scolding Roman
citizens for blindly worshipping Caesar. Their conversation
reveals deep-seated fears that Caesar is growing too
powerful, too arrogant and must be stopped. Hoping to
reduce the blind hero worship of Caesar, the two men
remove ceremonial decorations off Caesar's "images"
(statues) despite the obvious dangers of doing so...
A little later, we see Caesar leading a procession
through the streets of Rome. A Soothsayer or fortune
teller tells Caesar to beware the "ides of March
[the 15th of March]" a warning that Caesar will
die on this day. It is ignored. Cassius, who fears Caesar's
ever growing power, begins to recruit Brutus, a close
friend of Caesar's, towards his conspiracy by implying
that Caesar is becoming too powerful... We also learn
that Marullus and Flavius, the two tribunes pulling
decorations off Caesar's statues have been put to silence
for "pulling scarfs off Caesar's images [statues]."
Brutus is suspicious of Cassius' motives but tells Cassius
that he will think it over... Casca, another conspirator,
reveals information to Brutus that suggests Caesar may
be getting more ambitious...
Cassius' conspiracy gains momentum when he recruits
a suspicious Casca to their cause against Caesar by
pointing out that several recent strange occurrences
are omens warning them against Caesar... To ensure Brutus
joins his conspiracy, Cassius has Cinna place some forged
letters where Brutus will find them convincing Brutus
to join their cause. Cinna reveals that Brutus'
good name will be an asset to their conspiracy...
Brutus cannot sleep, revealing for the first time his
own true fears that Caesar may be growing too powerful.
A letter is discovered, which Brutus reads, convincing
him to join the conspiracy. The complete group of conspirators
meets at Brutus' house, discussing Caesar's
assassination. Brutus argues against Caesar's right
hand man, Mark Antony being assassinated as well. Cassius
and Trebonius have their doubts but go along with Brutus.
Brutus' troubled wife Portia tries to find out
what her husband is planning, worried for him...
Calphurnia, Caesar's wife, wakes Caesar up after
herself awakening from a terrible nightmare. She tells
Caesar, that her dream foretells doom and succeeds in
convincing Caesar not go to the Senate (also referred
to as The Capitol) on the "ides of March"
which is tomorrow. Decius Brutus arrives and hearing
that Caesar will not be at the Senate tomorrow, flatters
Caesar into going so as not to show fear (allowing Brutus
and company to kill him there).
Artemidorus waits in a street with a letter warning
Caesar of the conspiracy, hoping to avert Caesar's assassination...
Portia worries for her husband, hoping his "enterprise"
today will succeed. The Soothsayer who warned Caesar
about the "ides of March" in Act I, waits
in a narrow street hoping to warn Caesar of his imminent
Caesar arrogantly tells the Soothsayer that today is
the "ides of March", but the Soothsayer tells him
the day is not over yet... Artemidorus nearly warns
Caesar but Decius Brutus prevents this. Popilius wishes
the conspirators good luck, scaring them that Caesar
may already know their plans.
Metellus Cimber petitions Caesar to lift his brother's
banishment order. Caesar refuses and the conspirators
kill Caesar. Mark Antony flees. Mark Antony pretends
to treat Caesar's murderers as friends. He asks
to speak at Caesar's funeral. Cassius thinks this
is dangerous, Brutus, disagreeing, lets Mark Antony
speak at the funeral.
Mark Antony reveals his true hatred for the conspirators.
Octavius, Mark Antony's ally is remain safely outside
of Rome a little longer... Brutus and Cassius explain
to the citizens of Rome why they killed Caesar, gaining
Using the immortal words, "Friends, Romans, countrymen,
lend me your ears;" Mark Antony turns the citizens of
Rome against Brutus and Cassius by making the citizens
feel remorse for Caesar's cruel death and by bribing
then with the news that Caesar's will gifts each
citizen money from his will. Mark Antony uses this fact
to suggest Caesar was a great man who should not have
The crowd, now an angry, crazed mob, go after the conspirators
including Brutus and Cassius who flee in fear...
A poet called Cinna who bears the same name as one
of the conspirators is killed by the angry mob which
shows Shakespeare's insight into the senselessness
of the mob mentality...
The Triumvirs (Octavius, Mark Antony and Lepidus) decide
which of the conspirators shall live and which shall
die. Mark Antony assures Octavius that Lepidus does
not and will not ever have any serious power... The
two men start planning their attack on Brutus' and Cassius'
Brutus learns that Cassius has finally arrived. Brutus
is angry with Cassius, Cassius saying he has done his
friend no wrong. Brutus wanting privacy from his troops,
tells Cassius to step into his tent where he will discuss
the issue further...
Brutus angrily attacks Cassius first for contradicting
his order to remove Lucius Pella for taking bribes and
then Cassius himself for his own dishonesty. Cassius
is upset by this but eventually Brutus chooses to forgive
his friend. We learn that Portia, Brutus' wife
has died, over one hundred senators have been put to
death by the Triumvirs and that a large army led by
Mark Antony and Octavius is approaching their position...
Brutus is greeted by Caesar's Ghost which tells
Brutus he will see Caesar again at Philippi.
On the Plains of Philippi, Mark Antony's and Octavius'
forces face Brutus' and Cassius' forces. The two
sides insult each other, Mark Antony and Octavius then
leaving with their army.
Later in battle with Mark Antony and Octavius, Brutus
sends orders via messenger Messala to Cassius'
forces on the other side of the battlefield.
Cassius' forces are losing ground to Mark Antony's
forces. Brutus has defeated Octavius' forces but
instead of reinforcing Cassius' forces, have instead
sought out spoils or bounty from the field.
Needing information, Cassius sends Titinius to a nearby
hill to report if it is friendly or not. Cassius instructs
Pindarus to go atop a hill to report Titinius'
progress to him.
Pindarus sees Titinius pulled off his horse and fears
Titinius has been captured. This would mean Brutus'
forces have been beaten so Cassius kills himself on
Pindarus' sword. Titinius now returns realizing
that Titinius was not captured but was greeted by Brutus'
victorious forces. Brutus learns of Cassius' death.
Titinius, mourning Cassius, kills commits suicide.
Brutus inspires his men to keep fighting. Lucilius
who is mistaken for Brutus is captured. Eventually Mark
Antony realizes this. The battle rages on and Antony
issues orders for Brutus to be captured, dead or alive...
Tired, weary, but still alive, Brutus finds a place
to catch his breath with his few remaining followers.
One by one, Brutus asks first Clitius, Dardanius and
Volumnius to kill him but each refuses. Finally Brutus
gets his wish by falling on his sword, killing himself.
Octavius, Mark Antony, Messala and Lucilius now arrive.
Strato explains how Brutus died. Mark Antony pays tribute
to Brutus' noble spirit by famously saying, "This
was the noblest Roman of them all...." Octavius
tells his soldiers to stand down, the battle now over...