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Introduction This ebook written by Michael German and Anna Skinner is designed for students in a high school or college classroom who are learning about William Shakespeare’s famous play Julius Caesar. It is our hope that students will be able to use this book to help with the learning process. Shakespeare can be a very difficult subject to grasp or to teach and it is our goal for this eBook to help teachers and students make the learning process just a little bit easier and perhaps even a little fun.

cuss the famed Globe Theatre in London where many of Shakespeare’s plays were performed. This section gives a description of the theatre’s history mainly focused on the building itself and not so much what happened inside. After that we have included a brief description of Julius Caesar’s life work as we feel it is important for students to know about the man himself when they read the play. And finally we have included information about the actual play Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare.

The eBook begins with a brief description of William Shakespeare’s life and work. From his marriage and children, to his many accomplishments as a writer. It then moves to dis-

We hope that you will be able to find this eBook both informative and fun. Happy Reading!

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit i




William Shakespeare the Man


April 23, 1564 in Stratford-upon-

Avon ❖ Wrote many famous plays including (tragedies, comedies, and historical) ❖ Is known for having created many words still in existence today (fashionable, laughable, obscene) ❖ Died April 23, 1616

Shakespeare’s father was called John Shakespeare. His profession was as a glover and leather merchant. He also dealt in farm products and wool. He was a lower class man, but by the time he died he had owned three houses. An impressive feat for a peasant of the time. Shakespeare’s mother, Mary Arden, was a local heiress. She married down to Shakespeare and this is largely how John Shakespeare was able to achieve the levels of status that he did. Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon (although there are no kept records of his birth, but records of his baptism, three days later, indicate the birth being 3

around this date). He was the third of eight children, although he was only five of eight to survive.

Judith (February 2, 1585). Hamnet would die at the age of 11, but both of his sisters would live into adulthood to marry and have children of their own.

Shakespeare goes underground and there are no more records of his life until he reappears in London in 1592. These years are known as the lost years. There are speculations that Shakespeare was a poacher, and got into some trouble with a noble man ( Sir Thomas Lucy) causing him to flee during the lost years.

Shakespeare began writing in the 1580s. His first play The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1589) was an almost instantaneous hit and the start of a very famous career for a young William Shakespeare. During his lifetime, Shakespeare would go on to write 38 plays, 154 sonnets, and 2 epic narrative poems.

On November 27, 1582 Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway. They had three children during the marriage. The first born Susanna (born May 26, 1583) was born shortly after their marriage indicating that Anne was probably pregnant with the child before she and Shakespeare married. A few years later Anne Hathaway gave birth to Shakespeare’s only male child, Hamnet, and his twin sister, 4

Julius Caesar (1599) As You Like It (1599) Hamlet: Prince of Denmark (1600) Twelfth Night (1600) Othello (1601) Troilus and Cressida (1601) All’s Well That Ends Well (1603) Measure for Measure (1604) Timon of Athens (1604) King Lear (1605) Antony and Cleopatra (1606) Macbeth (1606) Pericles (1607) Coriolanus (1608) Cymbeline (1609) A Winter’s Tale (1610) The Tempest (1611) This is the last play that Shakespeare writes on his own. Henry VIII (1612) The Two Noble Kinsmen (1613)

Shakespeare’s plays in chronological order:

The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1589) Titus and Andronicus (1590) Henry VI Part II (1590) Henry VI Part III (1590) The Taming of the Shrew (1590) Henry VI Part I (1592) Richard III (1592) Comedy of Errors (1594) Love’s Labour’s Lost (1594) Romeo and Juliet (1594) A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1595) King John (1595) Richard II (1595) Henry IV Part I (1596) The Merry Wives of Windsor (1597) Henry IV Part II (1597) The Merchant of Venice (1597) Much Ado About Nothing (1598) Henry V (1599) 5

All of Shakespeare’s plays are divided into different periods.

Finally, Shakespeare’s final period of plays are the romantic and tragicomedy. This final period includes Cymbeline and The Tempest.

The first period of plays has its roots in Roman and medieval drama. These plays were written before 1594 and include such works as Richard III and Comedy of Errors.

Shakespeare Review Question 1 of 5

What was Shakespeare’s wife’s name?

The second period of plays marks mostly historical plays and are written from 1594-1600. This period portrays the lives of Kings and royalty in the most human terms. It really begins to show the nobility as being human beings. This period shows more growth in style and Shakespeare’s construction became a little less labored and includes such works as Henry V and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

A. Mary B. Susanna C. Anne D. Judith

The third period of Shakespeare’s plays includes most of his great tragedies. They were written from 1600-1608. The tragedies include Macbeth and King Lear.

Check Answer


Chapter 2



The Globe Theatre


in 1576 ❖ Originally owned by James Burbage ❖ Was later moved across the river to its final location in 1598 ❖ Burned down in 1613 ❖ Was demolished in 1644

Before Shakespeare started writing plays there were no theaters for the shows to play in. Most of the shows took place in inns, college halls, and private houses. That was until 1576 when actor-manager James Burbage decided to build the Globe Theatre in Shoreditch. This was the first playhouse built in London. Shakespeare became part of the resident troupe at the Theatre in the 1580s. In 1596, a dispute over the renewal of the lease arose and Burbage began negotiations to buy an old hall to use for the playhouse. Unfortunately, James Burbage died in February of 1597, so when the lease for the theater expired in April 8

the dispute over the leases renewal for the theater fell to the responsibility of Burbage’s two sons Cuthbert and Richard. The dispute over the lease would actually continue for two more years.

The theater was rebuilt quickly after, this time with a tiled roof to prevent the theater from burning down again this theater was known as the Second Globe. This theater would remain home to Shakespeare’s company until the closure of all theaters under England’s Puritan administration in 1642 and was demolished in 1644.

In December of 1598, the sons decided that they would move the theater across the river to avoid the higher lease price. The brothers leased a new lot and demolished the original theater carrying the timbers from the original theater across the river to build a new theater. By early 1599 the theater was open for business and thrived for 14 years. During this time period it would present many of Shakespeare’s greatest plays.

The Globe Theatre

Unfortunately in 1613 during a performance of Henry VIII, a stage cannon lit the thatched roof on fire and the theater burned to the ground “all in less than two hours, the people having enough to do to save themselves.” 9

Chapter 3



Julius Caesar the Man


July 12, 100BC in Rome ❖ Was a Roman Soldier from 81-69BC ❖ Was a high powered Roman and Senator from 69-44BC ❖ Was emperor/dictator of Rome from 59-44BC ❖ Died March 14, 44BC

Although many dates were hard to document back then, it is speculated that Julius Caesar was born around July 12, 100 BC in Rome. His parents, Julius Caesar the Elder and Aurelia Cotta, also had a girl named Julia Caesar. The Caesar family was the prestigious Julian clan, and this gave Julius Caesar the opportunity to progress through the Roman political system.  Although he first started out as a soldier in the Roman army in 81 BC, he was interested in politics because of his family’s success. Caesar began his political career as a succession quaestor in 69 BC, where he most likely held a financial administrator position.  A few years later in 65 BC, 11

Caesar progressed to an aedile. At this position, Caesar was probably responsible for public works and games and supervising the markets around Rome.  Aediles are elected officials, so Rome would have had to hold an election for Caesar to gain this position.  By 62 BC, Caesar advanced to praetor.  This means he ranked below a consul, but he had the same abilities.  

After two expeditions to Britain, Caesar appointed himself consul and dictator of the empire.  He created reform, relieved death, added members to the senate, revised the calendar, and built the Forum Iulium.  The Forum Iulium is also known as the Forum of Caesar, and it served as a place for public business as well as a shrine for Caesar. The Forum Iulium

Caesar served as governor over the Spain province in Rome from 61 to 60 BC. He made a pact with Pompey in 60 BC, which then helped him get elected for consul in 59 BC.  The next year he moved up to governor of Roman Gaul.  This meant he was the governor of the Roman Empire, which is modern day France, Belgium, Luxembourg, western Switzerland, and western Germany. He stayed there for eight years and he spent that time making Rome safe from Gallic invasions. 12

The Forum Iulium was built for business trade and markets. It is considered a “shrine” to Caesar. When built, it consisted of three parts: the Temple of Venus Genetrix (contained famous statues), the porticos (famous paintings hung there), and the main piazza (the placement of the shrine of Caesar). In AD 80, the temple was destroyed by a fire.

other round of civil wars that eventually ended the Rome Republic and Caesar’s great nephew, Octavius Augustus, rose to the position and became emperor. As far as Caesar’s immediate family, he had three wives over the course of his life.  Cornelia Cinna minor was his first wife, and he married her in 83 BC.  Cornelia Cinna’s family demanded Caesar divorce her, but he refused.  They had a daughter, Julia Caesaris.  Cornelia Cinna died in 69 BC giving birth to a stillborn son. Two years later, in 67 BC, Caesar married his second wife, Pompeia. However, Pompeia ended up throwing an “all women’s party” at Caesar’s house where a man dressed as a woman arrived to seduce Pompeia.  The man was prosecuted and Caesar divorced his wife.  In 59 BC,  he married Calpurnia Pisonis.  According to various websites, including the site “Julius Caesar’s Three

Later in AD 113, Trajan, an emperor, tries to reconstruct part of the forum and in AD 283: Forum destroyed once again under another emperor’s reign. In 44 BC, Caesar decided to take the dictatorship position for life even though it was originally only a temporary spot.  Unfortunately, his great success lowered the respect of strong Republican senators.  An angry group, led by the famous Cassius and Brutus, assassinated Caesar in the Senate house on the Ides of March 44 BC (March 15).  This created an13

Wives”, Caesar had a mistress while married to Calpurnia. Calpurnia and Caesar stayed married until Caesar’s assassination, when Calpurnia finalized Caesar’s final papers and will.

Caesar Review Question 1 of 4

When was Julius Caesar born?

A. 200 BC B. 150 BC

Are Caesar salads named after Julius Caesar?

C. 100 BC D. 50 BC

Check Answer

Click on the image to find out!


Chapter 4



Julius Caesar the Play


tragedy in 5 Acts ❖ One of Shakespeare’s 10 historical plays ❖ Shakespeare’s 20th play, written in 1599 ❖ Depicts the life of Julius Caesar and other high ranking Senators in Rome leading up to Caesar’s Death.

Shakespeare wrote The Tragedy of Julius Caesar supposedly in 1599. Shakespeare was able to access much of Caesar’s life by reading the book “Life and Times of Noble Greek and Romans” by a man named Plutarch.  With much of Caesar’s information of his ruling and family and life at his hands, Shakespeare wrote the famous play. The Tragedy of Julius Caesar has five acts, and has various scenes in each act.  

*image from the 1953 movie Julius Caesar


Cast of Characters:

Act 1:

Julius Caesar: Dictator of Rome

Act 1 has three scenes. The main idea of Act 1 is to set a setting for where the play is taking place.  It introduces Rome, and explains how Caesar is returning and there is a celebration.  It also brings up a little fear of Caesar’s power, which foreshadows what is to happen later on in the play.  Caesar is also approached by a person saying to “Beware the Ides of March”, which is also a foreshadowing event. The following passage is one of the most important passages from the play. It warns Caesar of the Ides of March (March 15) warning him of his impending death.

Calpurnia: Caesar’s wife Mark Antony: devoted follower of Caesar, presents him with a crown, and also battles Brutus and Cassius Marcus Brutus: A praetor of Rome, loves Caesar but fears he will become a tyrant so he joins the conspiracy Cassius: Brutus’s brother-in-law, main conspirator for Caesar’s assassination Portia: Brutus’s wife Octavius: Caesar’s great nephew. Fights Brutus and Cassius with Antony.

Soothsayer Caesar! Caesar

There are many other characters involved with Julius Caesar, especially with the conspirators, but the play mostly revolves around these six.

Ha! who calls?




Bid every noise be still: peace yet again! Caesar

Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Caesar.

Who is it in the press that calls on me?


I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,

What say'st thou to me now? speak once again.

Cry "Caesar!" Speak; Caesar is turn'd to hear.



Beware the ides of March.

Beware the ides of March.



He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.

What man is that? Brutus

Act 2:

A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.

Act 2 Scene 1 focuses heavily on the conspirators of Caesar’s assassination. At the end of Act 1, the assassination is brought into consideration.  During Act 2, Brutus debates being a part of it because he loves Caesar, but he also fears his growing power.  In the end, Brutus

Caesar Set him before me; let me see his face.


agrees to the assassination, and plans it for the next day on the 15th of March.

of Act 3 focuses on Brutus speaking to the people of Rome and trying to convince them that now that Caesar is dead, they are free from tyranny.

Scene 2 focuses on Caesar and his wife, Calpurnia. Calpurnia is worried and she doesn’t want Caesar to go to the capitol because she has heard of bad things happening.  However, Caesar hears that he will be granted a crown for his successes, so he decides to go anyway.  

Act 4: Act 4 is focused on Antony and Octavius searching for a solution to regain their power over Rome. They debate who must be murdered to regain their power.  There is brief conflict amongst the assassins, but they are shortly reconciled.

Later on in Act 2, the soothsayer from Act 1 returns and says he wants to warn Caesar again of the Ides of March. Act 3:

Act 5:

At the Capitol, Caesar’s assassination happens. Caesar is shocked that his friend, Brutus, is part of the conspirators to kill Caesar.  He utters the famous latin sentence “Et tu, Brute?” and then he dies from the stab wounds received from the assassins.  The rest

Antony and Octavius have put together an army to fight Brutus and Cassius to avenge Caesar’s murder. Cassius, fearing being captured by Antony and Octavius, kills himself with the same blade that killed Caesar.  An19

other conspirator kills himself as well, and Brutus finds both of his friends dead by their own hand. Brutus tries to convince his servants to kill him, but the refuse, so Brutus also runs a sword through himself.  Octavius then eventually moves up to Caesar’s position as Dictator of Rome.

to be “hacked and mangled among them, as a wild beast taken of hunters.” Despite those little differences, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar is one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays and it has been reenacted on stage many times. It was also acted out and made into a movie in 1953.

Although Shakespeare’s account of Julius Caesar’s life is a great historical play to read in class, there are differences between Shakespeare’s version and what really happened. According to “Life of Noble Greek and Romans” by Plutarch, there is a period of three years from when Caesar triumphs and returns to Rome and when Antony and Octavius regain control.  Shakespeare condensed it down into about five total days.  The assassination is also depicted as being much more brutal in Plutarch’s account than what Shakespeare wrote.  In Plutarch’s account, Caesar is said 20

Citations William Shakespeare Information: Globe Theatre Information: Julius Caesar (the man) Information: information about the Ides of March Julius Caesar (the play) Information: Glossary definitions courtesy of The Collins English Dictionary via Photos: %2Fcommons%2F1%2F13%2FWilliam_Shakespeare_Portrait.jpg&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2 xxi

AEDILE Either of two Roman magistrates responsible for public buildings and originally also for the public games and the supply of grain to the city.

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CAESAR Roman dictator until 44 BC. Lived from 100-44 BC.

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CONSUL One of the two annually elected chief magistrates who jointly ruled the republic.

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IDES OF MARCH The 15th of March. The reason it is called the Ides of March is because the Romans did not number days of a month sequentially from the first through the last day. Instead, they counted back from three fixed points of the month: the Nones (5th or 7th, depending on the length of the month), the Ides (13th or 15th), and the Kalends (1st) of the following month. The Ides occurred near the midpoint, on the 13th for most months, but on the 15th for March, May, July, and October. The Ides were supposed to be determined by the full moon, reflecting the lunar origin of the Roman calendar. On the earliest calendar, the Ides of March would have been the first full moon of the new year. (source: ) The Ides of March famously mark the death of Caesar in 44 BC.

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PRAETOR Each of two ancient Roman magistrates ranking below consul.

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QUAESTOR Any of a number of officials who had charge of public revenue and expenditure.

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SHAKESPEARE Famous play-write who lived from 1564-1616.

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SOOTHSAYER A person who is supposed to be able to see into the future.

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STRATFORD-UPON-AVON A small town in England most famous for being the birth place of William Shakespeare.

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TRAGICOMEDY A play or novel involving aspects from both tragedy and comedy. Commonly seen in Shakespeare’s fourth period of plays.

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W200 Shakespeare Ebook  

This is an ebook about William Shakespeare and his play, Julius Caesar. It goes over aspects of the real Caesar's life as well, and it prov...

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