Julius Caesar

Key points

  • William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar is a tragedy based on true events in Roman history.
  • It is thought to have been written and performed in 1599.
  • The play is set in Rome in 44 BC.

  • The plot outlines the power struggle among Rome's political leaders and events leading up to Caesar's assassination.

  • Shakespeare used the story of Caesar to comment on the concentration of power under the reign of Elizabeth I, Queen of England at the time the play was written and first performed.

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Statue of Julius Caesar

Main characters

The play's main characters include:

  • Brutus
  • Julius Caesar
  • Antony
  • Cassius
  • Octavius
  • Casca
  • Calpurnia
  • Portia
  • Flavius
  • Cicero.


Things to consider

  • The play explores concepts of fate and free will, and the conflict the main characters experience as they juggle their private and public lives (as politicians).
  • Throughout the play, characters – including Julius Caesar – misinterpret actions, events and characters. There are many symbolic omens and warnings that are ignored.
  • The story explores the notions of friendship, ambition, rivalry and betrayal.
  • Shakespeare included anachronistic references in the play to the Elizabethan period, including mention of hats, doublets (jackets) and a clock.
  • The role of speech to inspire, persuade and manipulate individuals and the wider public is also examined.

More information



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