Julius Caesar Summary

In Julius Caesar, a charismatic military leader inspires jealousy in the Roman Senators. His friends and enemies conspire to kill him. His friend Brutus participates in the assassination, but is later killed in the ensuing civil war.

Julius Caesar summary key points:

  • Julius Caesar’s growing popularity sparks fear among the tribunes and a conspiracy takes shape with Cassius at its head.

  • A storm hits Rome. Cassius recruits Caesar’s friend Brutus. Caesar ignores all warnings and goes to the Capitol, where the conspirators stab and kill him.

  • Mark Antony volunteers to speak at Caesar’s funeral and rouses an angry mob. The new triumvirate and conspirators begin to argue and flee.

  • Caesar’s ghost visits Brutus. Brutus and Cassius go to war against Mark Antony and Octavius.

  • Cassius, thinking his friend Titinius has been captured, kills himself. Brutus wins the day but loses the following battle and kills himself, leaving Antony and Octavius triumphant.


Probably written in 1599, Julius Caesar was the earliest of Shakespeare's three Roman history plays. Like Antony and Cleopatra and Coriolanus, Julius Caesar is a dramatization of actual events, Shakespeare drawing upon the ancient Roman historian Plutarch's Lives of Caesar, Brutus, and Mark Antony as the primary source of the play's plot and characters. The play is tightly structured. It establishes the dramatic problem of alarm at Julius Caesar's ambition to become "king" (or dictator) in the very first scene and introduces signs that Caesar must "beware the Ides of March" from the outset. Before its midpoint, Caesar is assassinated, and shortly after Mark Antony's famous funeral oration ("Friends, Romans, and countrymen … "), the setting shifts permanently from Rome to the battlefields on which Brutus and Cassius meet their inevitable defeat. Julius Caesar is also a tragedy; but despite its title, the tragic character of the play is Brutus, the noble Roman whose decision to take part in the conspiracy for the sake of freedom plunges him into a personal conflict and his country into civil war.

Literary scholars have debated for centuries about the question of who exactly is the protagonist of this play. The seemingly simple answer to this question would be Julius Caesar himself—after all, the play is named after him, and the events of the play all relate to him. However, Caesar only appears in three scenes (four if the ghost is included), thus apparently making him an unlikely choice for the protagonist who is supposed to be the main character. Meanwhile, Brutus, who is in the play much more often than Caesar (and actually lasts until the final scene), is not the title character of the play and is listed in the dramatis personae not only after Caesar but after the entire triumvirate and some senators who barely appear in the play. Determining the protagonist is one of the many engaging issues presented in the play.

Julius Caesar Free Summary

Act I, Scene 1

On a street in Rome, two tribunes named Flavius and Marullus are angrily confronting a crowd of commoners. Rome used to be ruled by a triumvirate of three men, but because of the recent civil war, Julius Caesar has emerged as the single most powerful man in Rome. This troubles Flavius and Marullus because they think that Caesar’s growing power will threaten the stability of the Republic. They yell at the commoners for celebrating Caesar’s return, reminding them that they once supported Pompey, one of the triumvirate who was killed in the civil war. After they drive the commoners off the streets, Flavius and Marullus decide to remove all the decorations from statues of Caesar.

Act I, Scene 2

Caesar and a procession of people—including his wife, Calphurnia; his friends; and a few conspirators against him—are on their way to the Coliseum for a celebratory footrace. On the way there, a soothsayer calls out a warning to Caesar, telling him to “Beware the ides of March.” Caesar dismisses the man, and the procession continues to the Coliseum. However, Brutus and Cassius remain behind. Brutus tells Cassius that he has been distracted by conflicting emotions lately, admitting he is afraid that the people have chosen Caesar to be king. Cassius takes this opportunity to start undermining Caesar as a man who is too weak to be a sole ruler. After this conversation, the games end and the rest of the procession return. When Caesar sees Brutus and Cassius together, he feels uneasy, but dismisses the threat because of his vain self-assurance. He and his followers leave, but a sarcastic tribune named Casca stays to tell Brutus and Cassius what happened at the race. Apparently, Antony presented Caesar with a symbolic crown three times, and Caesar refused it each time. When Casca describes how Caesar fainted afterward (he has epilepsy), Casca reveals that he doesn’t approve of Caesar. The scene ends with a soliloquy by Cassius. He reveals that he is conspiring against Caesar and wants to trick Brutus into joining the conspiracy. 

Act I, Scene 3

A month later, on the night before the ides of March, there is a storm raging in Rome. Casca meets Cicero, a senator, on the streets and describes all the frightening and unusual signs he has witnessed lately. Then Casca meets Cassius, who is not concerned at all about the storm because he thinks they are divine warnings against Caesar. Cassius tells Casca that the senators plan to make Caesar king and convinces Casca to join the plot to kill Caesar. Another conspirator, Cinna, enters and tells them that the other conspirators are waiting at Pompey’s Theater. They decide to first go to Brutus’s house and give him one last push to join the conspiracy. 

Act II, Scene 1
Brutus is in his garden, unable to sleep because he is wrestling with conflicting emotions about Caesar. On one hand, Caesar is a good friend and has not done anything to abuse his power yet. On the other hand, Caesar’s ambition and vanity have the potential to harm Rome. Brutus decides to prevent Caesar from gaining any more power for the greater good of Rome, comparing him to a poisonous snake’s egg. Brutus’s servant brings some letters that Cassius had planted, urging Brutus to act against Caesar. Then, all of the conspirators arrive at the house. Brutus immediately takes charge of the plot. When they leave, Brutus’s wife, Portia, appears, demanding to know what has been troubling him. She convinces him that she is strong enough to keep his secrets by stabbing herself in the thigh. Brutus is moved by this and is about to tell her everything, but he is interrupted by the arrival of his friend Ligarius. Ligarius joins the conspiracy, and they both leave for Caesar’s house.
Act II, Scene 2
At Caesar’s house, Calphurnia is awakened by a bad dream in which a statue of Caesar is oozing blood and Roman citizens are bathing their hands in it. She begs Caesar not to leave the house, and he agrees. It is at this moment that the conspirator Decius arrives to escort Caesar to the Senate. Decius appeals to Caesar’s vanity by telling him that Calphurnia’s dream is actually a good omen of Caesar as the lifeblood of Rome. Decius appeals to Caesar’s pride by telling him that if he doesn’t show up to the Senate, everyone will think he is a coward. Caesar changes his mind and leaves for the Senate House. 
Act II, Scene 3
This is a short scene in which Artemidorus, a Roman teacher, reads a letter he has written to Caesar, warning him about the conspirators and cautioning him against overconfidence. He plans to pass the note to Caesar. 
Act II, Scene 4
Portia tells Brutus’s servant boy to find out what Brutus is doing at the Capitol and report back. They see the soothsayer on his way to the Capitol, and Portia asks if he knows of any harm intended towards Caesar. The soothsayer says he fears so and that he plans on speaking to Caesar when he passes.
Act III, Scene 1
Caesar arrives at the Capitol and promptly ignores the warnings of both the soothsayer and Artemidorus. He believes he is invincible. One of the conspirators removes Antony from the scene, and the rest of them surround and isolate Caesar. Then they all strike—with Brutus being the last one to stab Caesar. Caesar is shocked that his good friend is part of the conspiracy. He says, “Et tu, Brute?” and dies. The senators and the citizens run in a panic while the conspirators bathe their hands and swords in Caesar’s blood. Before they can tell the public what happened, Antony arrives and asks for permission to speak at Caesar’s funeral. Cassius opposes this, thinking that the practical idea would be to kill Antony, but the idealistic Brutus agrees to let Antony speak. After they leave, Antony reveals in a soliloquy that he intends to launch Rome into another bloody civil war in revenge for Caesar’s death.
Act III, Scene 2
At Caesar’s funeral, the angry crowd demands an explanation for Caesar’s death. Brutus gives a sincere speech, telling the crowd that although he was Caesar’s friend and loved him, Caesar had to be killed for the good of Rome. He declares that if the Romans think he did wrong, he will readily kill himself. This moves the crowd. Then, Antony ascends the pulpit and begins to slowly win over the crowd. With his words, he convinces the crowd that Caesar was not an ambitious but a loving leader. He ironically calls the conspirators “honorable,” shows the crowd Caesar’s bloody cloak and body, and finally reads them Caesar’s will, in which Caesar left a generous amount to the public of Rome. By the end of the speech, the crowd has been stirred into a frenzy and intend to destroy the conspirators. Antony is pleased by the angry mob, but a messenger arrives with the news that Caesar’s nephew Octavius has arrived in Rome, and that Brutus and Cassius have fled the city.
Act III, Scene 3
Cinna, a poet, is on his way to Caesar’s funeral when he is swarmed by the angry mob. He has the same name as one of the conspirators, so the mob’s fury increases. Even when he manages to convince them that he is Cinna the poet, not Cinna the conspirator, they no longer care. They kill him for simply being there.
Act IV, Scene 1
Rome is at the brink of civil war, and the ruling triumvirate is now Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus. They have a cold and power-hungry conversation about executing their political enemies and reducing the money left to citizens in Caesar’s will. When Lepidus leaves the room, Antony tells Octavius that he plans on getting rid of Lepidus once they have consolidated their power. They reveal that Brutus and Cassius are in Greece, gathering an army. 
Act IV, Scene 2
In Brutus’s camp in Greece, Brutus is having regrets about the course of events in Rome. When Cassius arrives, Brutus and Cassius begin arguing.
Act IV, Scene 3
Brutus and Cassius have an argument about money and bribes. They finally make up when Cassius offers Brutus his own sword and tells Brutus to kill him with it. Brutus reveals that he is so distraught because Portia has committed suicide by swallowing hot coals. Two officers in their army, Messala and Titinius, enter to make plans for battle. Cassius thinks they should stay and wait for their enemies to come to them, but Brutus convinces him that they should march to Phillippi. At the end of the scene, Brutus is dozing off in his tent when he is visited by the ghost of Caesar, who tells him that they will meet again at Phillippi. 
Act V, Scene 1
On the battlefield at Phillippi, Antony and Octavius exchange insults with Brutus and Cassius. Cassius confirms to Brutus that he had been right all along in his desire to kill Antony. Cassius also confides to Messala that he thinks they will lose the battle because of all the bad omens, including the fact that this day is Cassius’s birthday. Brutus and Cassius say good-bye to each other, agreeing that if they lose, they will kill themselves rather than become captives of Rome.
Act V, Scene 2
The battle begins, and Brutus orders Messala to attack Octavius’s army all at once.
Act V, Scene 3
On the other side of the field, Cassius is surrounded by Antony’s troops. He sends his friend Titinius to see who is in the tents. His slave Pindarus describes the ensuing scene as Titinius is taken by enemies. Cassius is so distraught by this that he promises to give Pindarus his freedom if he ends Cassius’s life for him. Pindarus unwillingly agrees and stabs Cassius to death. However, when Titinius and Messala enter, they explain that the troops that surrounded Titinius were actually Brutus’s troops, who had triumphed over Octavius’s troops. Titinius is so grieved by Cassius’s death that he kills himself as well. Brutus readies his troops for a second battle. 
Act V, Scene 4
In the final battle, Brutus’s army have mostly all been captured or killed. Antony’s soldiers capture Lucilius, who tries to confuse them by claiming to be Brutus and allowing the real Brutus to escape. Antony recognizes Lucilius and orders that he be treated kindly because Antony wants such loyal soldiers on his side.
Act V, Scene 5
Brutus, knowing that he has lost, tries to convince his soldiers to help him kill himself. All of them refuse except for Strato, who holds a sword while Brutus runs into it and dies. When Octavius and Antony arrive, they offer amnesty to everyone who served Brutus and thus end the civil war. They praise Brutus and make plans to give him an honorable burial. They then leave to spread the news of their victory.

Julius Caesar Synopsis of the Play

Synopsis of the Play
The play begins in Rome in 44 B.C. on the Feast of Lupercal, in honor of the god Pan. Caesar has become the most powerful man in the Roman Republic and is eager to become king. Caesar, however, has many enemies who are planning his assassination. When Caesar and his entourage appear, a soothsayer warns him to “Beware the ides of March,” (March 15), but Caesar is unconcerned.

Cassius tries to convince Brutus that Caesar is too ambitious and must be assassinated for the welfare of Rome. Cassius is determined to win Brutus to his cause by forging letters from citizens and leaving them where Brutus will find them. The letters attack Caesar’s ambition and convince Brutus that killing...

(The entire section is 361 words.)

Julius Caesar One-Page Summary

(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

At the feast of Lupercalia all Rome rejoices, for the latest military triumphs of Julius Caesar are being celebrated during that holiday. Nevertheless, tempers flare and jealousies seethe beneath the public gaiety. Flavius and Marallus, two tribunes, coming upon a group of citizens gathered to praise Caesar, tear down their trophies and order the people to go home and remember Pompey’s fate at the hands of Caesar.

Other dissatisfied noblemen discuss with concern Caesar’s growing power and his incurable ambition. A soothsayer, following Caesar in his triumphal procession, warns him to beware the Ides of March. Cassius, one of the most violent of Caesar’s critics, speaks at length to Brutus of the dictator’s unworthiness to rule the state. Why, he demands, should the name of Caesar be synonymous with that of Rome when there are so many other worthy men in the city?

While Cassius and Brutus are speaking, they hear a tremendous shouting from the crowd. From aristocratic Casca they learn that before the mob Marcus Antonius three times offered a crown to Caesar and three times the dictator refused it. Thus do the wily Antonius and Caesar catch and hold the devotion of the multitude. Fully aware of Caesar’s methods and the potential danger that he embodies, Cassius and Brutus, disturbed by the new turn of events, agree to meet again to discuss the affairs of Rome. As they part, Caesar arrives in time to see them, and suspicion of Cassius enters his mind. Cassius does not look contented; he is too lean and nervous to be satisfied with life. Caesar much prefers to have fat, jolly men about him.

Cassius’s plan is to enlist Brutus in a plot to overthrow Caesar. Brutus is one of the most respected and beloved citizens of Rome; were he in league against Caesar, the dictator’s power could be curbed easily. It will, however, be difficult to turn Brutus completely against Caesar, for Brutus is an honorable man and not given to treason, so that only the most drastic circumstances would override his loyalty. Cassius plots to have Brutus receive false papers that imply widespread public alarm over Caesar’s rapidly growing power. Hoping that Brutus might put Rome’s interests above his own personal feelings, Cassius has the papers secretly laid at Brutus’s door one night. The conflict within Brutus is great. His wife Portia complains that he did not sleep at all during the night and that she found him wandering, restless and unhappy, about the house. At last he reaches a decision. Remembering Tarquin, the tyrant whom his ancestors banished from Rome, Brutus agrees to join Cassius and his conspirators in their attempt to save Rome from Caesar. He refuses, however, to sanction the murder of Antonius, which is being planned for the same time—the following morning, March 15—as the assassination of Caesar.

On the night of March 14, all nature seems to misbehave. Strange lights appear in the sky, graves yawn, ghosts walk, and an atmosphere of terror pervades the city. Caesar’s wife, Calpurnia, dreams she sees her husband’s statue with a hundred wounds spouting blood. In the morning, she tells him of the dream and pleads with him not to go to the Senate that morning. When she almost convinces him to remain at home, one of the conspirators arrives and persuades the dictator that Calpurnia is unduly nervous and that the dream is actually an omen of Caesar’s tremendous popularity in Rome, the bleeding wounds a symbol of Caesar’s power extending out to all Romans. The other conspirators arrive to allay any suspicions Caesar might have of them and to make sure that he attends the Senate that day.

As Caesar makes his way through the city, more omens of evil appear to him. A paper detailing the plot against him is thrust into his hands, but he neglects to read it. When the soothsayer again cries out against the Ides of March, Caesar pays no attention to the warning.

In the Senate chamber, Antonius is drawn to one side. Then the conspirators crowd about Caesar as if to second a petition for the repealing of an order banishing Publius Cimber. When he refuses the petition, the conspirators attack him, and he falls dead of twenty-three knife wounds.

Craftily pretending to side with the conspirators, Antonius is able to reinstate himself in their good graces. In spite of Cassius’s warning, he is granted permission to speak at Caesar’s funeral after Brutus delivers his oration. Before the populace, Brutus frankly and honestly explains his part in Caesar’s murder, declaring that his love for Rome prompted him to turn against his friend. The mob cheers him and agrees that Caesar was a tyrant who deserved death. Then Antonius rises to speak. Cleverly and forcefully, he turns the temper of the crowd against the conspirators by explaining that even when Caesar was most tyrannical, everything he did was for the people’s welfare. The mob becomes so enraged over the assassination that the conspirators are forced to flee from Rome.

The people’s temper gradually changes and they split into two camps. One group supports the new triumvirate of Marcus Antonius, Octavius Caesar, and Aemilius Lepidus. The other group follows Brutus and Cassius to their military camp at Sardis.

At Sardis, Brutus and Cassius quarrel constantly over various small matters. In the course of one violent disagreement, Brutus tells Cassius that Portia, despondent over the outcome of the civil war, killed herself. Cassius, shocked by this news of his sister’s death, allows himself to be persuaded to leave the safety of the camp at Sardis and meet the enemy on the plains of Philippi. The night before the battle, Caesar’s ghost appears to Brutus in his tent and announces that they will meet at Philippi.

At first, Brutus’s forces are successful against those of Octavius. Cassius, however, is driven back by Antonius. One morning, Cassius sends one of his followers, Titinius, to learn if approaching troops are the enemy or Brutus’s soldiers. When Cassius sees Titinius unseated from his horse by the strangers, he assumes that everything is lost and orders his servant Pindarus to kill him. Actually, the troops were sent by Brutus; rejoicing over the defeat of Octavius, they are having rude sport with Titinius. When they return to Cassius and find him dead, Titinius also kills himself. In the last charge against Antonius, Brutus’s soldiers, tired and discouraged by events, are defeated. Brutus, heartbroken, asks his friends to kill him. When they refuse, he commands his servant to hold his sword and turn his face away. Then Brutus falls upon his sword and dies.

Julius Caesar Act and Scene Summary and Analysis

Julius Caesar Act I, Scene 1: Summary and Analysis

New Characters:
Flavius and Marullus: tribunes opposed to Caesar’s growing power

Roman Citizens: among them a cobbler and carpenter, supporters of Caesar

The setting is February 15, 44 B.C., the Feast of Lupercal, on a street in Rome. After the death of Pompey, Caesar has returned to Rome as the most powerful man in the Republic. The play begins on a Roman street with a confrontation between Flavius and Marullus (Roman tribunes) and a crowd of citizens out to celebrate Caesar’s arrival for the games. The tribunes are concerned about Caesar’s growing power and popular support and how it may destroy the Roman Republic. They scold the citizens and remind them of the love and support Rome...

(The entire section is 591 words.)

Julius Caesar Act I, Scene 2: Summary and Analysis

New Characters:
Caesar: the most powerful man in the Roman Republic after the death of Pompey

Calphurnia: Caesar’s wife

Brutus: friend of Caesar, concerned about the welfare of Rome

Cassius: brother-in-law of Brutus and leader of the conspiracy against Caesar

Casca: a conspirator against Caesar

Antony: a close friend of Caesar

Soothsayer: one who sees the future and tries to warn Caesar

The setting for this scene is another Roman street on the Feast of Lupercal. Caesar enters at the head of a procession (triumph) with a flourish of trumpets, accompanied by his wife, friends, and some of the conspirators who will...

(The entire section is 1349 words.)

Julius Caesar Act I, Scene 3: Summary and Analysis

New Characters:
Cicero: a Roman senator and orator

Cinna: a conspirator against Caesar

It is the night before the ides of March, and a terrible storm is raging. A frightened Casca, with his sword drawn, meets Cicero on a Roman street. Casca describes to Cicero all the unusual things he has witnessed: heaven “dropping fire,” a man with his hand ablaze but not burning, a lion in the Capitol, an owl hooting in the marketplace at noon, and men on fire walking through the streets. Casca interprets all these signs to mean either the gods are engaged in civil war, or they are determined to destroy Rome. They mention Caesar’s plans to be at the Capitol in the morning, and...

(The entire section is 741 words.)

Julius Caesar Act II, Scene 1: Summary and Analysis

New Characters:
Lucius: Brutus’ servant

Decius: conspirator who plans to flatter Caesar and bring him to the Senate House

Metellus Cimber and Trebonius: conspirators against Caesar

Portia: wife of Brutus

Caius Ligarius: ill friend of Brutus; the last to join the conspiracy

The setting for the scene is before three o’clock in the morning of the ides of March, and Brutus is alone in his garden. He is unable to sleep. His mind is still disturbed as he wrestles with what to do about Caesar. In a soliloquy, Brutus considers the possibilities. He has no personal feelings against Caesar, yet he must consider the good of Rome. Caesar has not...

(The entire section is 1140 words.)

Julius Caesar Act II, Scene 2: Summary and Analysis

It is almost eight o’clock in the morning on the ides of March at Caesar’s house. Caesar is awakened by Calphurnia crying out in her sleep. Caesar orders his servant to have the priests sacrifice an animal and bring back word of the results. Calphurnia asks her husband to stay at home because she is afraid he will be murdered, but the proud and haughty Caesar refuses to take her warning. Caesar’s servant returns with word from the augurers (priests), who want Caesar to remain inside because, “They could not find a heart within the beast.” (43)

Caesar interprets this differently. He says, “The gods do this in shame of cowardice. / Caesar should be a beast without a heart / If he should...

(The entire section is 732 words.)

Julius Caesar Act II, Scenes 3 and 4: Summary and Analysis

New Character:
Artemidorus: teacher and friend of some of the conspirators; he has learned about the plot against Caesar

The setting is a Roman street on the ides of March shortly before the planned assassination. Artemidorus, a teacher and friend of some of the conspirators, has learned about the plot to kill Caesar. He has written a letter naming each man and warning Caesar to be on his guard. He plans to wait for Caesar to pass and then present the letter as a suitor looking for a political favor.

At the same time, on another part of the street, an agitated Portia tells Lucius to run to the Capitol and report back to her everything his master, Brutus, says and does. The...

(The entire section is 482 words.)

Julius Caesar Act III, Scene 1: Summary and Analysis

New Characters:
Lepidus: one of the three rulers of Rome after Caesar’s death

Publius: elderly Roman senator who escorts Caesar to the Senate

Popilius Lena: senator who wishes success to Cassius

Servant: messenger from Octavius

Caesar arrives at the Senate House on the ides of March. Artemidorus tries to give Caesar his warning letter, as Decius offers Caesar a petition. Artemidorus presses Caesar to read his letter first because it “touches Caesar nearer.” (7) Caesar responds, “What touches us ourself shall be last served.” (8) In other words, he ignores the letter because it is of a personal nature. Cassius is afraid that their plans are...

(The entire section is 1265 words.)

Julius Caesar Act III, Scenes 2 and 3: Summary and Analysis

New Characters:
Plebeians: Roman citizens at Caesar’s funeral

Servant: messenger from Octavius

Cinna the Poet: a poet with the same name as one of the conspirators

The setting is in the marketplace at Caesar’s funeral shortly after his death. The agitated crowd demands an explanation for Caesar’s assassination. Cassius leaves with some of the crowd to give his version of why Caesar was killed, while Brutus remains behind with the others to give his own account of the events. Brutus explains that although he was Caesar’s friend, and loved him, Caesar was ambitious and had to be killed for the good of Rome. If allowed to live, Caesar would have made slaves...

(The entire section is 1201 words.)

Julius Caesar Act IV, Scene 1: Summary and Analysis

New Characters:
Octavius: Caesar’s nephew and one of the three leaders to rule Rome after his death

Lepidus: the third leader to rule Rome after Caesar’s death

The setting is a house in Rome some time after Caesar’s death. The Republic is in turmoil, as Antony predicted. Rome is in the hands of Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus. They are compiling a death list of their political enemies. Antony sends Lepidus to “fetch” Caesar’s will so they might reduce some of the legacies mentioned by Antony to the citizens in his funeral speech. When Lepidus leaves, Antony tells Octavius that Lepidus is unfit to have so much power. Antony plans to use Lepidus to achieve his...

(The entire section is 387 words.)

Julius Caesar Act IV, Scenes 2 and 3: Summary and Analysis

New Characters:
Pindarus: servant to Cassius taken prisoner in Partheia

Lucilius: officer in Brutus’ army

Messala: officer in Brutus’ army

Titinius: friend of Cassius and Officer in his army

Varro: soldier in Brutus’ army

Claudius: soldier in Brutus’ army

Poet: jester who enters Brutus’ tent

Caesar’s Ghost


The setting is the camp of Brutus in Sardis, Greece. Brutus and his soldiers are awaiting the arrival of Cassius and his army. When Pindarus, a slave to Cassius, brings his master’s greetings, Brutus indicates his misgivings about the course of events. He confides to...

(The entire section is 1156 words.)

Julius Caesar Act V, Scene 1: Summary and Analysis

The setting is on the battlefield at Philippi. Antony and Octavius, at the head of their armies, are preparing to begin the battle. Through spies Antony knows the enemy is not ready for the fight. A messenger brings word that the battle is at hand. Before the combat, Antony and Octavius go into the field to exchange insults with Brutus and Cassius. They call each other traitors to Rome. Cassius says to Brutus that Antony would not be alive if Cassius had his way on the ides of March. They break off and plan to settle matters with their swords.

Cassius confides in Messala that he is reluctant to fight this battle on his birthday. He has seen signs that have convinced him that they are going to lose....

(The entire section is 500 words.)

Julius Caesar Act V, Scenes 2 and 3: Summary and Analysis

New Character:
Cato: Brutus’ brother-in-law and a soldier in his army

The battle begins as Brutus orders Messala to send all of his legions against Octavius’ army. While Brutus gains the advantage on another part of the field, Cassius is in retreat, surrounded by Antony’s forces. Pindarus, the slave of Cassius, enters with a warning for his master to fall back further. But Cassius decides that he has retreated far enough. He asks his friend, Titinius, to ride his horse and determine if the soldiers in his tents are friend or enemy. As Pindarus climbs the hill to report Titinius’ progress, Cassius considers the real possibility that his life has reached its end on his birthday....

(The entire section is 818 words.)

Julius Caesar Act V, Scenes 4 and 5: Summary and Analysis

New Characters:
Clitus, Dardanus, Strato, and Volumnius: soldiers in Brutus’ army

At the height of the second battle Brutus charges into the field. Young Cato is killed and Lucilius, an officer in Brutus’ army, is captured. To confuse the enemy soldiers, Lucilius tells them he is Brutus, and offers them money to kill him. Antony identifies their captive and tells the soldiers to keep Lucilius safely under guard.

On another part of the field, after hours of fighting, Brutus and his men are in retreat. They have lost the war. Brutus begs Clitus, Volumnius, and Dardanus to assist him in his suicide, but they decline and run off as Antony and Octavius advance. Brutus...

(The entire section is 634 words.)