List of Characters
Julius Caesar—Dictator of Rome
Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony)—Friend of Caesar and one of the leaders of Rome after Caesar’s death
Marcus Brutus—Friend of Caesar who kills him “for the good of Rome”
Cassius—Leader of the conspiracy against Caesar and brother-in-law of Brutus
Casca—The first conspirator to stab Caesar
Trebonius—Member of the conspiracy against Caesar
Caius Ligarius—Final member of the conspiracy, a sick man who joins them when Brutus asks him to help make Rome well
Decius Brutus—Conspirator who uses flattery to get Caesar to the Senate House
Metellus Cimber—Conspirator and brother of Publius Cimber who was banished from Rome
Cinna—Conspirator who urges Cassius to bring Brutus into the conspiracy to gain favorable public opinion
Flavius and Marullus—Tribunes who guard the rights of Roman citizens
Octavius Caesar—Nephew of Julius Caesar and first Roman Emperor
Lepidus—Ally of Antony and Octavius and one of the three rulers of Rome after Caesar’s assassination
Cicero—Roman senator and orator later killed by Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus
Publius—Elderly senator and witness to Caesar’s death
Popilius Lena—Senator who was opposed to Caesar
Calphurnia—Wife of Caesar who tried to keep her husband home on the day of his...
(The entire section is 403 words.)
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Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Marcus Brutus (MAHR-kuhs BREW-tuhs), one of the leading conspirators who intend to kill Julius Caesar. Although defeated in the end, Brutus is idealistic and honorable, for he hopes to do what is best for Rome. Under Caesar, he fears, the Empire will have merely a tyrant. Something of a dreamer, he, unlike the more practical Cassius, makes a number of tactical errors, such as allowing Marcus Antonius to speak to the citizens of Rome. Finally, defeated by the forces under young Octavius and Antonius, Brutus commits suicide. He would rather accept death than be driven, caged, through the streets of Rome.
Caius Cassius (KAY-yuhs KAS-ee-uhs), another leading conspirator, one of the prime movers in the scheme. A practical man as well as a jealous one, he is a lean and ambitious person. Some of his advice to Brutus is good. He tells Brutus to have Antonius killed; failure to do this dooms the conspirators to defeat. Like Brutus, Cassius commits suicide when his forces are routed at Philippi. To the last a brave man, he has fought well and courageously.
Julius Caesar (JEWL-yuhs SEE-zur), the mighty ruler of Rome, who hopes to acquire even more power. As portrayed in the play,...
(The entire section is 652 words.)
Antony (Character Analysis)
A professional soldier and public official. He has the third largest speaking role in the play. While his role in the first two acts of the play is minimal, in the third act Mark Antony takes on a dominance maintained through the rest of the play.
Antony's first appearance in the play is as a runner in the games in honor of Lupercal. His athletic nature, as well as other virtues, are noted by Brutus who states that Antony is "given / To sports, to wildness, and much company" (II.1.188-89). Caesar also points out that Antony "revels long o'nights" (II.ii.116). This view of Antony is the factor that spares him from being an additional target of the conspirators' murderous plans. When the conspirators are considering whether to kill Antony along with Caesar, Trebonius agrees with Brutus in the assessment that Antony is somewhat of a playboy, and not a threat to their plans. The two reassure the others that there is nothing to fear in Antony.
Though Antony is not regarded before the conspiracy as a serious threat by Brutus, the conspirators still take the precaution of having Trebonius draw him off from the scene of the assassination, and after the deed Antony flees to his home. He sends word immediately afterward via a servant, asking permission to speak to the conspirators. Antony returns to the Capitol and at the sight of Caesar's body, he voices his grief. When Brutus promises to explain to Antony the reasons why Caesar was killed, Antony...
(The entire section is 775 words.)
Brutus (Character Analysis)
Despite the play's title, Brutus is the central character of Julius Caesar, and it is within the anguished workings of Brutus's mind that the issue of tyranny versus freedom is played out. The last word on the character of Brutus falls to Mark Antony, and it ironically contradicts Antony's previous doubts about Brutus as an honorable man.
This was the noblest Roman of them all:
All the conspirators, save only he
Did that they did in envy of great Caesar,
He, only in a general honest thought
And common good to all, made one of them.
His life was gentle, and the elements
So mix'd him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world: "This was a man!"
Brutus is a Roman nobleman who plays a prominent role in the conspiracy against Caesar. The primary issues surrounding Brutus's character are his idealism and devotion to the principle of republicanism, his political judgment, his motives for joining the conspiracy, and his role as a tragic hero. Brutus is typically viewed as a noble man, although some argue that he is flawed in his philosophical commitment to principle. It has also been suggested that Brutus unwittingly creates the chaos that descends upon Rome after the assassination.
When Brutus first appears at the Lupercal, he is approached by Cassius, who discuss with Brutus the weaknesses of Caesar. Although...
(The entire section is 1141 words.)
Julius Caesar (Character Analysis)
Julius Caesar, a Roman statesman and general, appears in only three scenes and is assassinated halfway through the play. Although he is the title character, he speaks fewer lines in the play than Brutus, Cassius, or Antony.
One of the most controversial issues surrounding the character of Caesar is the question of whether he was a good or bad leader, and whether or not his assassination was justified. There is no clear answer to this question. Caesar has been interpreted in a number of ways: as superstitious and weak, as ambitious and arrogant, as a commanding leader concerned with the well-being of Rome.
Caesar's own words and actions, as well as those of other characters in the play, can provide insight into his character. However, as some scholars emphasize, most of the characters in the play who discuss Caesar are his enemies, so their views of him should be regarded with this in mind.
In the first scene of Act I, the tribunes Flavius and Murellus subdue commoners who are celebrating one of Caesar's recent military victories. This scene gives the reader an early glimpse of Caesar's character. It has been suggested that since the commoners are celebrating Caesar's victory, perhaps they do not feel as though they are oppressed by a tyrannical leader. What of the tribunes, however? Their actions against the commoners indicate negative feelings toward Caesar.
Caesar appears in the next scene at the games in honor of...
(The entire section is 1018 words.)
Cassius (Character Analysis)
Cassius is the instigator in the conspiracy against Caesar. Statements Cassius makes, particularly during the "seduction scene," suggest that his motivation for initiating such a plot is a combination of political ideology and personal envy. Throughout the play Cassius reveals himself to be an accurate judge of other men and their abilities. Against this good judgment, Cassius unfailingly defers to Brutus's decisions in various matters throughout the course of the play.
In I.ii, in what is known as the "seduction scene," Cassius attempts to convince Brutus to join the plot against Caesar. Cassius offers no hard evidence of Caesar's tyrannical or ambitious nature, although he does discuss the stature Caesar has achieved. Rather, he speaks at length about Caesar's physical weakness. Cassius compares himself to Aeneas, the legendary founder of Rome, in his saving of Caesar from drowning in the Tiber. He reveals his personal envy of Caesar in expressing resentment that Caesar has risen to the status of ''a god" (I.ii.116) and that he, Cassius, must be subordinate to such a man: ''and Cassius is / A wretched creature, and must bend his body / If Caesar carelessly but nod on him" (I.ii.116-118). Cassius incorporates references to honor and equality and republican ideals into the speech as well. After Brutus leaves, Cassius in a soliloquy states his intention to further sway Brutus to his cause. Cassius plans to send Brutus forged letters, ostensibly from Roman...
(The entire section is 795 words.)
Other Characters (Descriptions)
An unnamed poet approaches the tent of Brutus to seek out Brutus and Cassius. He is ridiculed by both men for his crude verses and philosophy.
Brutus's and Cassius's army is originally encamped at Sardis. In the final act of the play this army confronts the army led by Mark Antony and Octavius at Philippi.
Artemidorus of Cnidos
Artemidorus is a teacher of rhetoric. He writes Caesar a blunt letter of warning, naming the men who have plotted against Caesar. He plans to stand along the road and hand his letter to Caesar as he goes to the Capitol. On the Ides of March, Artemidorus urges Caesar to read his letter, as it contains a matter of personal interest to Caesar, but Caesar sees that as the very reason to postpone reading it until last, and dismisses Artemidorus as "mad" (III.i.10).
Attendants, servants, and messengers appear in several scenes in the play. One of Caesar's servants is sent to consult the augurers and to report back to Caesar. Another servant delivers a message from Antony to the conspirators shortly after the assassination. Other characters such as Portia also have unnamed attendants. Portia takes her life in the absence of her attendants. Octavius's servant is the most fully depicted of the unnamed messengers. He comes to Rome bearing a message for Antony from Octavius. The servant is shocked at...
(The entire section is 2513 words.)