William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar begins with the greatest betrayal of all: Caesar's betrayal of Rome and the Roman people.
In 46 B.C.E., two years before the plays begins, Caesar had himself appointed dictator of Rome for ten years. Not content to be dictator for only ten years, in February, 44 B.C.E.—just one month before the events of Julius Caesar take place—Caesar appoints himself dictator of Rome for life.
Caesar hopes to centralize all power in Rome in himself, and perhaps even have himself crowned king. This would cause not only a change in the power structure of Rome, but also a complete change of the Roman form of government, from a republic to an empire, or even to a monarchy—something that the Roman people have resisted and gone to war to prevent for the past five hundred years. Caesar is risking a civil war among the Roman people solely to consolidate his power.
Julius Caesar opens with two Roman tribunes, Flavius and Marullus, who are dispersing people who are gathering...
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