Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 397
Julius Caesar, who expects to be assassinated because many individuals and groups would like to see him dead and his career ended. All he hopes is that his assassins will be true lovers of Rome, not selfish men and women. He believes he has been right in taking over the government of the Roman Empire, for he believes that the masses of people want a strong leader who will make their decisions for them, even though they resent a concurrent loss of freedom. As for himself, Caesar wonders about life, being unsure of the gods and their influence on human affairs. Though he sometimes feels intuitively there are no gods, he guides himself by the advice of soothsayers and their omens.
Pompeia, Caesar’s wife, who is embittered because she is ordered to receive Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, even though Cleopatra is notorious for her immorality, including an affair with Caesar himself. Pompeia is divorced by Caesar when rumor has it that she gave help to Clodia Pulcher in profaning a religious ceremony devoted to the Good Goddess. Caesar says his wife must be above rumor.
Calpurnia, whom Caesar marries after divorcing Pompeia. When Caesar is about to leave Rome, he entrusts Calpurnia’s welfare to Brutus, not knowing Brutus himself will be one of his murderers.
Marcus Brutus, one of Caesar’s slayers. Once loyal to Caesar, he is persuaded by his mother, who hates Caesar and is ambitious for her own son, to become an assassin. Brutus is rumored to be an illegitimate son of Caesar.
Clodia Pulcher, a beautiful woman of great wealth and patrician birth. She blames the gods for her immorality. In defiance of law and tradition, she introduces her disguised brother into ceremonies open only to women. Caesar’s pardon for her blasphemous action only makes her resentful of him.
Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, who is making an official visit to Rome. Because of her reputation for intrigue, Caesar believes she may be a conspirator against him.
Catullus, a young poet in love with Clodia Pulcher. For her sake, Catullus writes scurrilous poems and tracts about Caesar. Catullus’ death saddens Caesar.
Lady Julia Marcia
Lady Julia Marcia, Caesar’s aunt and a directress of the mysteries of the Good Goddess. She is renowned for her dignity and moral virtue.
Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 145
Blank, Martin, ed. Critical Essays on Thornton Wilder. New York: G. K. Hall, 1996.
Blank, Martin, Dalma Hunyadi Brunauer, and David Garrett Izzo, eds. Thornton Wilder: New Essays. West Cornwall, Conn.: Locust Hill Press, 1999.
Bloom, Harold, ed. Thornton Wilder. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2003.
Burbank, Rex J. Thornton Wilder. 2d ed. Boston: Twayne, 1978.
Castronovo, David. Thornton Wilder. New York: Ungar, 1986.
Goldstein, Malcolm. The Art of Thornton Wilder. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1965.
Goldstone, Richard H. Thornton Wilder: An Intimate Portrait. New York: Saturday Review Press, 1975.
Harrison, Gilbert A. The Enthusiast: A Life of Thornton Wilder. New York: Ticknor and Fields, 1983.
Lifton, Paul.“Vast Encyclopedia”: The Theatre of Thornton Wilder. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1995.
Simon, Linda. Thornton Wilder: His World. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1979.
Walsh, Claudette. Thornton Wilder: A Reference Guide, 1926-1990. New York: G. K. Hall, 1993.
Wilder, Amos Niven. Thornton Wilder and His Public. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1980.