Julius Caesar

Abridged Julius Caesar/#1/Background/Act 1, Scene 1

The play opens on the streets of Rome in 32 B.C.  The plebeians (common people) are out in the
streets, anticipating the return of Julius Caesar to Rome; he having been on a
military expedition.  Two tribunes,
Flavius and Marullus, are there trying to reduce the crowd’s size.   Flavius asks a Cobbler “Why dost thou lead
these men about the streets?”  The
Cobbler answers, saying “Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes, to get myself
into more work.  But indeed, sir, we make
holiday to see Caesar and to rejoice in his triumph.”  Marcellus asks him “Wherefore rejoice?  What conquest brings he home?  Knew you not Pompey?  Many a time you climbed up to walls to see
great Pompey pass the streets of Rome.
And do you now put on your best attire, pick out a holiday, strew
flowers in his way, in triumph over Pompey’s blood?  Be gone!”
The plebeians exit.  Flavius says
“I’ll about and drive away the vulgar from the streets.”  Pompey was loved by the plebeians and was
succeeded by Julius Caesar.  Caesar is
now returning, having defeated his political rivals, Pompey’s sons.

Abridged Julius Caesar/#2/Persuasion/Act 1, Scene 2.1

Caesar has now returned to Rome. Crowds line the streets.  A Soothsayer shouts “Caesar.”  Caesar says “I hear a tongue shriller than
all the music cry ‘Caesar.’  Speak.
Caesar is turned to hear.”  The
Soothsayer says “Beware the ides of March.”
Caesar pretty much ignores him.
All but Brutus and Cassius exit.
Brutus and Cassius consider themselves brothers-in-law.  Cassius was married to Brutus’ sister.  Cassius says “Brutus, I do observe you now of
late.”  Cassius goes on to say that he believes
that lately Brutus hasn’t been quite his normal self.  Brutus replies “Vexed I am of late with
passions of some difference, which give some blemish, perhaps, to my
behaviors.”  Cassius asks “Good Brutus,
can you see your face?”  Brutus replies,
“No, Cassius, but by reflection.”
Cassius continues, saying “I have heard many with the best reputation in
Rome wish that noble Brutus had his eyes.”
Brutus asks “Into what dangers would you lead me, Cassius?”  Cassius replies “I, your mirror, will
modestly reveal to you things of you that you yet know not of.”  There is a flourish and shouting.  Brutus asks “What means this shouting.  I do fear the people choose Caesar for their
king.”  Cassius replies “If you fear it,
I must think you would not have it so.”
Brutus says “I would not.”  Brutus
seems to have other things to do; wanting to know why Cassius is keeping him
there.  Cassius then gets to his
point.  Cassius tells antidotal stories
of some of the times he and Caesar were together as young men; the stories
mostly dealing with Caesar’s rather lame responses to situations.  Cassius finally says “And this man is now
become a god, and Cassius is a wretched creature and must bend his body if
Caesar carelessly but nod on him.”  There
are more shouts and flourishes.  Cassius
persists, saying to Brutus “Caesar?  Why
should that name be sounded more than yours?”
Brutus replies “What you have said I will consider.  What you have to say I will with patience

Abridged Julius Caesar/#3/Progress/Act 1, Scene 2.2

Caesar and his train begin to cross the stage.  Cassius ask Brutus “As they pass by, pluck
Casca by the sleeve.”  Brutus replies “I
will do so.  Caesar looks angry.  Calphurnia’s cheek is pale.”  Caesar sees Cassius, and he says to Antony “I
do not know the man I should avoid so soon as that spare Cassius.  He reads much, he is a great observer, and
seldom smiles.  Such men as he behold a
greater than themselves, and therefore are they very dangerous.”  Caesar and his train cross the stage; Casca
remains behind.  Casca says to Brutus
“You pulled me by the cloak.  Would you
speak with me?”  Brutus asks him “Tell us
why Caesar looks so sad.”  Casca says
“There was a crown offered him; and being offered him, he put it by with the
back of his hand.  And then people
shouted, and shouted again.”  Brutus asks
“Was the crown offered him thrice?”
Casca says “Why, marry, was ‘t.”
Brutus asks “Who offered him the crown?”
Casca says “Why, Antony.  When he
offered it the third time, Caesar swooned and fell down at it.”  Cassius asks “What, did Caesar swoon?”  Casca says “He fell down in the marketplace
and foamed at mouth and was speechless.”
Brutus asks “What said he when he came unto himself?”  Casca says “When he came to himself again, he
said, if he had done or said anything amiss.
Those that understood him smiled at one another and shook their heads.  I could tell you more news too: Marullus and
Flavius, for pulling scarves off Caesar’s images, are silenced.”  Cassius asks him “Will you dine with me
tomorrow?”  Casca replies “Ay, if I be
alive.”  He exits.  Brutus says “And so it is.  For this time I will leave you.  Tomorrow, I will wait for you.”  Brutus exits.
Cassius says “Well, Brutus, thou art noble. Therefore it is appropriate
that noble minds keep ever with their likes; for who so firm that cannot be
seduced?  I will this night in several
hands throw writings, where Caesar’s ambition shall be mentioned.”

Abridged Julius Caesar/#4/Consolidation/Act 1, Scene 3

Casca and Cicero are on stage.  There is thunder and lightning
everywhere.  Superstitious Casca says
“Either there is a civil strife in heaven, or else the world, too saucy with
the gods, incenses them to send destruction.”
Cicero, on the other hand, says “Why, saw you anything more
wonderful?”  Casca says “I believe these
storms are portentous things unto the climate that they point upon.”  Cicero asks “Comes Caesar to the Capitol
tomorrow?”  Casca says “He doth.”  Cicero exits.
Cassius enters.  Casca says “Who
ever knew the heavens menace so?”
Cassius says “When the crisscrossing blue lightening seemed to open the
breast of heaven, I did present myself in the very flash of it.”  Casca says “But wherefore did you so much
tempt the heavens?”  Cassius says “You
are dull, Casca.  You look pale, and
gaze, and put on fear, and cast yourself in wonder.”  Cassius then uses the storm to his advantage,
saying “You shall find that heaven uses these instruments of fear and warning
upon some monstrous state.  Casca, I
could name thee a man most like this dreadful night.”  Casca says “’Tis Caesar that you mean, is it
not, Cassius?”  Cassius says “Let it be
who it is.”  Casca says “They say the
Senators tomorrow mean to establish Caesar as a king.”  Cassius says “I know where I will wear this
dagger then; Cassius from bondage will deliver Cassius.  Therein you gods, you make the weak most
strong; therein, you gods, you tyrants do defeat.”  Thunder continues.  Cassius clearly knows how he’s going to move
forward, saying “O grief, where hast thou led me?  I know my answer must be made.  Dangers are to me indifferent.”  They shake hands.  Cassius says “There’s a bargain made.  Casca, know I have moved certain of the
noblest-minded Romans to undergo with me an enterprise of honorable-dangerous
consequence.”  Cinna enters, saying “O
Cassius, if you could win the noble Brutus to our party.”  Cassius says “Be you content.  Take this paper and throw this in at his
window.  All this done, repair to
Pompey’s Porch (the colonnade opposite Rome’s first public theater), where you
shall find us.”  Cinna exits.  Cassius says “Come, Casca, you and I will
before the day is over see Brutus at his house.
Let us go.”

Abridged Julius Caesar/#5/Majesty/Act 2, Scene 1.1

Brutus can’t sleep.
He tells Lucius, his servant, to prepare his study and to call him “when
it is lighted.”  He then offers his
thoughts on political leadership, noting that “it common proof that humility is
young ambition’s ladder, but when he once attains the upmost round he looks in
the clouds, scorning the base degrees by which he did ascend.”  Brutus convinces himself that the risks of
Caesar as king or emperor are greater than the rewards, and that Caesar has to
go.  Lucius reenters with a letter.  Brutus asks him “Is not tomorrow, boy, the
ides of March?”  Lucius says “I know not,
sir.”  He exits.  The letter reads “Brutus, speak, strike,
redress!  Brutus, thou sleep’st.  Awake.”
He asks himself “Am I entreated to speak and strike?  Since Cassius first did whet me against
Caesar, I have not slept.”  There’s a
knock at the door.  The Conspirators have
arrived.  Cassius introduces the men,
saying “no man here but honors you.”
Brutus says “Give me your hands all over, one by one.”  Cassius says “And let us swear our
resolution.”  Brutus says “No, not an
oath.  What need we any spur but our own
cause to incite us to redress?  What bond
other than discreet Romans who have spoke the word and will not waver?  Why do we need an oath when every drop of
blood that every Roman bears, and nobly bears, is guilty if he do break the
smallest particle of any promise that hath passed from him.”  Cassius asks “But what of Cicero?”  Brutus says “O, name him not.”  Casca agrees, saying “Indeed, he is not fit.”

Abridged Julius Caesar/#6/Solidarity/Act 2, Scene 1.2

Decius, a Conspirator, asks “Shall no man else be
touched, but only Caesar?”  Cassius says
“Decius, well urged.  Should Antony
outlive Caesar, his means, may well stretch so far as to annoy us all; which to
prevent, let Antony and Caesar fall together.”
Brutus chimes in, saying “Cassius, to cut the head off and then hack the
limbs seems too bloody, for Antony is but a limb of Caesar.  Let’s be sacrificers, but not butchers.  This shall make our purpose necessary and not
envious; which so appearing to the common eyes, we shall be called purgers, not
murderers.  Mark Antony can do no more
than Caesar’s arm when Caesar’s head is cut off.”  Cassius says “Yet I fear him.”  Brutus says “Alas, good Cassius, do not think
of him.”  Trebonius adds “There is no
fear in him.  Let him not die.  ‘Tis time to part.”  Cassius says “But it is doubtful yet whether
Caesar will come forth today or no, for he is superstitious grown of
late.”  Decius says “Never fear
that.  I will bring him to the
Capitol.”  Cassius says “We’ll leave you
Brutus.  But all remember what you have
said, and show yourselves true Romans.”
Brutus says “Good morrow to you every one.”  All exit but Brutus.

Abridged Julius Caesar/#7/Inclusive/Act 2, Scene 1.3

Portia, Brutus’ wife, enters.  He says “Portia!  Wherefore rise you now?”  She says whatever the matter is “it will not
let you eat nor talk nor sleep.  Dear my
lord, make me acquainted with your cause of grief.”  He says “I am not well in health, and that is
all.”  She says “No, my Brutus, you have
some sick offense within your mind.”  She
kneels.  She goes on, saying “Upon my
knees I entreat you that you unfold to me, why you are heavy, and what men
tonight have had resort to you.”  He
lifts her up, saying “You are my true and honorable wife.”  She says “If this were true, then should I
know this secret.  Tell me your counsels;
I will not disclose ‘em.”  He cries “O
you gods, render me worthy of this noble wife!”
There’s a knock at the door.
Brutus says “Portia, go in a while, and by and by all my engagements I
will construe to thee.”  She exits.  Ligarius, appearing to be sick, enters, and
asks “I am not sick, if Brutus have in hand any exploit worthy the name of honor.”  Brutus says “Such an exploit have I in hand,
had you a healthful ear to hear of it.”
Ligarius says “By all the gods that Romans bow before, I here discard my
sickness.  What’s to do?”  Brutus says “A piece of work that will make
sick men whole.”  Ligarius comes back
with “But are not some whole that we must make sick?”  Brutus says “That must we also.”  Ligarius says “Set on your foot.  I follow you to do I know not what.”  Thunder claps.  They exit.

Abridged Julius Caesar/#8/Persuasion/Act 2, Scene 2

Julius Caesar is on stage, in his nightgown.  He says “Nor heaven nor earth have been at
peace tonight.”  Calphurnia enters.  She says “What means you, Caesar?  You shall not stir out of your house
today.”  He says “Caesar shall
forth.”  She says “Caesar, I never believed
in omens, yet now they fright me.”  He
says “Yet Caesar shall go forth, for these predictions are to the world in
general as to Caesar?  She says “Alas, my
lord, your wisdom is consumed in confidence.
Do not go forth today.  We’ll send
Mark Antony to the Senate House, and he shall say you are not well today.”  She kneels.
He says “Mark Antony shall say I am not well, and for thy humor I will
stay at home.”  He lifts her up.  Decius enters.  He says “Worthy Caesar, I come to fetch you
to the Senate House.”  Caesar says “I
will not come today.  Tell them so,
Decius.”  Calphurnia says “Say he is
sick.”  Caesar says “Shall Caesar send a
lie?  Am I afeard to tell graybeards the
truth?  Decius, go tell them Caesar will
not come.”  Decius says “Let me know some
cause, lest I be laughed at when I tell them so.”  Caesar says “The cause is my will.  That is enough to satisfy the Senate.”  Decius says “the Senate have concluded to
give this day a crown to mighty Caesar.
If you shall send them word you will not come, their minds may
change.  If Caesar hide himself, shall
they not whisper ‘Lo, Caesar is afraid?”
Turning to his wife, Caesar says “How foolish do your fears seem now,
Calphurnia!  I am ashamed I did yield to
them.  Give me my robe, for I will
go.”  Brutus, Ligarius, Metellus and
other Conspirators enter.  Caesar greets
them.  Antony enters.  Caesar says “See, Antony that revels long
a-nights is notwithstanding up.  Good
morrow, Antony.”  Antony says “So to most
noble Caesar.”  Caesar turns to Trebonius,
saying “I have an hour’s talk in store for you.
Be near me that I may remember you.”
Trebonius says “Caesar, I will.”
They exit.

Abridged Julius Caesar/#9/Anxiety/Act 2, Scenes 3&4

Artemidorus is on stage reading a letter.  It’s a letter from himself to Caesar.  In part it reads “Caesar, beware of Brutus,
Cassius, Casca, Cinna, Trebonius, Ligarius.
There is but one mind in all these men, and it is bent against Caesar.”  He says to himself “Here will I stand till
Caesar pass along.”  He exits. Meanwhile,
Portia tells their servant, Lucius, “I prithee, boy, run to the Senate
House.”  Lucius says “Madam, what should
I do?”  She says “Bring me word, boy, if
thy lord look well.  Hark, boy, what
noise is that?”  Lucius says “I hear
nothing, madam.”  The Soothsayer enters.  Portia says “Thou hast some suit to Caesar,
hast thou not?”  He says “That I have,
lady.”  Portia says “Why, know’st thou
any harms intended towards him?”  He says
“None that I know will be, much that I fear may chance.  I’ll get me a place, and there speak to great
Caesar as he comes along.”  He
exits.  Aside she says “Ay me, how weak a
thing the heart of woman is!  O Brutus,
the heavens speed thee in thine enterprise!
Run, Lucius, and commend me to my lord.”

Abridged Julius Caesar/#10/Death/Act 3, Scene 1.1

Caesar is on stage and says “The ides of March are
come.”  The Soothsayer says “Ay, Caesar,
but not gone.”  Artemidorus cries “Read
this schedule.”  Decius cries “Trebonius
doth desire you to o’erread his humble suit.”
Artemidorus shouts “O Caesar, read mine first, for mine’s a suit that
touches Caesar nearer.”  Caesar says
“What touches us ourself shall be last served.”
Not to be denied, Artemidorus comes back “Delay not, Caesar, read it
instantly.”  Caesar says “What, is the
fellow mad?”  Caesar moves forward.  Cassius fears all may not be going as
planned.  Decius says “Where is Metellus
Cimber?  Let him go and presently prefer
his suit to Caesar.”  Metellus kneels,
saying “Metellus Cimber throws before thy seat an humble heart.”  Caesar responds “I must prevent thee,
Cimber.  Thy brother by decree is
banished.”  Both Brutus and Cassius plead
that Publius Cimber’s banishment be repealed, crowding about Caesar.  Caesar holds firm, saying “I was constant
Cimber should be banished and constant do remain to keep him so.”  Casca strikes Caesar.  Others then rise and stab him.  Caesar famously says “Et tu, Brute?  Then fall, Caesar.”  He dies. Cinna cries “Tyranny is dead!”  Brutus cries “Fly not; stand still.  Ambition’s debt is paid.”  All but the Conspirators exit.  Trebonius enters.  Cassius says “Where is Antony?”  Trebonius says “Fled to his house
amazed.”  Decius says “What, shall we
forth.”  Cassius says “Brutus shall lead, and we will grace his heels with the most boldest and best hearts of Rome.”  A Servant enters.  Brutus says “Soft, who comes here?  A friend of Antony’s.”  The Servant kneels and says “Thus, Brutus,
did my master bid me kneel.  He bade me
say “If Brutus will vouchsafe that Antony safely come to him, he will follow
the fortunes and affairs of noble Brutus through the hazards of this untrod
state with all true faith.  So says my
master Antony.”  Brutus says “Tell him,
so please him come unto this place, he shall be satisfied and, by my honor,
depart untouched.  The Servant exits,
saying “I’ll fetch him presently.”
Cassius says “I have a mind that fears him much.”