William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar tells of the events leading to and following the assassination of Rome’s would be emperor. It begins with Caesar’s victory over his rival Pompei, showing how adored he is by the masses, and it ends in all out war between his betrayers and friends to decide who will succeed him.
Julius Caesar is something of an odd play. It’s sort of like staccato storytelling with an abrupt narrative that leaves scenes feeling detached from each other rather than having a natural dramatic flow. Perhaps it’s because we’re thrust so far into what could be the middle (or end) of a story that the title implies should be about Julius Caesar when it’s the other characters (Brutus/Marc Antony/et al) who drive the story forward. And because he is such an notable and renowned character, it’s hard to deny him as the focal point of the few scenes he’s in before dying two thirds through act one. On the other hand, when you consider the dialogue and the key speeches, Julius Caesar is a brilliant piece of writing. Mark Antony’s speech at the end of act one is one of the most powerful pieces of writing I can think of.
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