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, he is a somewhat bombastic and arrogant man, possibly even a cowardly one. From the first, he mistrusts men who, like Cassius, have “a lean and hungry look.” Finally reaching for too much power, he is stabbed by a large number of conspirators led by Brutus and Cassius.
Marcus Antonius (an-TOH-nee-uhs), also known as Mark Antony, the close friend of Caesar. Although he denies it, he has a great ability to sway a mob and rouse them to a feverish pitch. As a result of his oratorical abilities, he, with the help of a mob, forces the conspirators to ride for their lives to escape the maddened crowd. Later, along with Octavius and Lepidus, he is to rule Rome.
Calpurnia (kal-PUR-nee-uh), Caesar’s wife. Afraid because she has had frightful dreams about yawning graveyards and lions whelping in the streets, she begs her arrogant husband not to go to the capitol on the day of the assassination.
Portia (POHR-shuh), Brutus’s wife. When she learns that her husband has been forced to flee for his life, she becomes frightened for his safety. As matters worsen, she swallows hot coals and dies.
Decius Brutus (DEE-shuhs), one of the conspirators against Julius Caesar. When the others doubt that the superstitious Caesar will come to the capitol, Decius volunteers to bring him to the slaughter; he knows Caesar’s vanities and will play on them until Caesar leaves the security of his house.
Cicero (SIHS-uh-roh), and
Popilius Lena (poh-PIHL-ee-uhs LEE-nuh), three senators.
A soothsayer, who at the beginning of the play warns Caesar to beware the Ides of March. For his trouble, he is called a dreamer.
Artemidorus of Cnidos
Artemidorus of Cnidos (AHR-teh-mih-DOH-ruhs of NI-dos), a teacher of rhetoric who tries to warn Caesar to beware of the conspirators led by Brutus and Cassius. Like the soothsayer, he is ignored.
Caius Ligarius (lih-GAY-ree-uhs),
Cinna (SIHN-uh), and
Metellus Cimber (meh-TEHL-uhs SIHM-bur), the other conspirators.
Flavius (FLAY-vee-uhs) and Marullus (ma-RUHL-uhs), tribunes who speak to the crowd at the beginning of the play.
Pindarus (PIHN-da-ruhs), Cassius’ servant. At his master’s orders, he runs Cassius through with a sword.
Strato (STRAY-toh), a servant and friend to Brutus. He holds Brutus’ sword so that the latter can run upon it and commit suicide.
Marcus Aemilius Lepidus
Marcus Aemilius Lepidus (ee-MIHL-ee-uhs LEHP-ih-duhs), the weakest member of the triumvirate after the deaths of Brutus and Cassius.
Lucius (LEW-shee-uhs), Brutus’ servant.
Young Cato (KAY-toh),
Messala (meh-SAY-luh), and
Titinius (tih-TIHN-ee-uhs), friends of Brutus and Cassius.