In Julius Caesar, Act I, why are the workers celebrating at the end of Scene 1, and why does Marullus scold them?
The workers are celebrating the triumph of Caesar over Pompey and Marullus is scolding them because of their hypocritical display since they are the same people who also cheered Pompey a while back.
Caesar, Crassus and Pompey had formed a political alliance in order to dominate Roman politics. On the death of Crassus, Pompey aligned himself with the senate while Caesar went on territorial conquests. Caesar met much success which was seen to obscure Pompey’s own. Pompey and the senate resolved to have Caesar step down from military command which he refused and instead crossed the Rubicon, entering Roman Italy while armed. A Civil war erupted ending up in the death of Pompey and victory for Caesar who went ahead to assume the controls of the Roman government and establish the Roman Empire.
In Act 1, the workers are out in their fine clothes to welcome and celebrate Caesar’s victory and the fall of Pompey much to the disdain of Marullus who was loyal to Pompey.
Before the play begins, Rome is ruled by a triumvirate (3 people who rule the country). Two-thirds of the triumvirate consisted of Caesar and Pompey. However, these two clashed which started a Civil War. As the book begins, Caesar is being welcomed home with a parade celebrating his victory over Pompey. The workers line the streets to pay tribute to Caesar. Murellus is a tribune (soldier). His loyalties lie with Pompey and he chides the common workers for cheering the fact that a great Roman has died. He tries to remind them that they all once gathered together in support of Pompey, but their fickle ways have caused them to align with the evil frontrunner. The workers brush him off figuring he's just a grumpy guy; Flavius and Murellus shows us that Rome is still a country divided and that there exists a faction who is unhappy with the additional power Caesar has obtained.