October 21 , 2008

Julius Caesar


Julius Cæsar is among the best of Shakespeare's historical and political plays, composed in 1599. The story is about the power struggle that occurs after the assassination of Julius Cæsar, and it takes its readers through the course of the rebels' defeat in the Battle of Philippi.

The book is set in the Roman Empire in 44 bc and paints a picture of the struggle for power that was prominent during the phase. The story begins when Brutus, a close ally and friend of Julius Cæsar's, is enticed by the conspirators who plot the murder of Cæsar under the guise of working for the interest of the republic. The book then depicts the manner in which Cæsar ignores the warning from his astrologer about the impending danger to his life. When Cæsar is assassinated after Brutus delivers the final blow, the rebels attempt to win public support for their deeds, which Mark Antony, another Cæsar faithful, works against, with the help of a rousing. Through events surrounding his death, the themes of frustrated ambition and crude demagoguery are picked up and brilliantly handled. It is interesting to see how Cæsar's personality dominates the play.


Shakespeare was the son of a prosperous merchant of Stratford-upon-Avon, and tradition gives his date of birth as 23 April 1564; certainly, three days later, he was christened at the parish church. He attended the local Grammar School but had no university education. In 1582, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had two daughters, Susanna and Judith, and a son, Hamnet, who died in 1596. How he became involved with the stage is uncertain, but he was sufficiently established as a playwright by 1592 to be criticised in print as a challengingly versatile 'upstart Crow'. He was a leading member of the Lord Chamberlain's company, which became the King's Men on the accession of James I in 1603. Being not only a playwright and actor but also a 'sharer' (one of the owners of the company, entitled to a share of the profits), Shakespeare prospered greatly, as is proven by the numerous records of his financial transactions. Towards the end of his life, he loosened his ties with London and retired to New Place, the large property in Stratford which he had bought in 1597. He died on 23 April 1616, and is buried in the place of his baptism, Stratford's Holy Trinity Church.

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