Summary Act I
This scene is set on a street in Rome. Flavius and Marullus (Roman Tribunes, elected officials of the Roman Republic) encounter a group of commoners who are away from work. Flavius and Marullus are surprised to see them roaming the streets on a work day, so they question them about what their trades are and why they are not working. The commoners reveal that they are taking the day off work to see Caesar (who is returned in victory from the civil war) and celebrate his triumph over Pompey (opposing general in the civil war).
Marullus chastises the commoners for celebrating Pompey's defeat, and reminds them that they have often celebrated Pompey's victories in the past. Flavius then tells the commoners to go mourn Pompey's defeat instead.
The commoners exit, leaving Flavius and Marullus on stage. Flavius laments the hypocrisy of the commoners and tells Marullus that he will go through the city removing any signs of celebration. In the course of this conversation it is revealed that the day is Lupercalia, a Roman festival taking place on February 15.
This scene is set in a public space of Rome on the same day. Caesar and his entourage enter with flourish, they are followed by a crowd, and a soothsayer is amongst the crowd. Caesar's entourage is composed of Calpurnia, Portia, Antony, Casca, Cassius, Decius Brutus, Brutus, and Cicero. They are on their way to a “course,” a race being held as part of the celebrations.
Caesar calls to his wife Calpurnia, and has Antony (who is going to run in the race) touch her, as a good-luck gesture because she is barren, revealing they have no children. A soothsayer from the crowd calls to Caesar and tells him to “beware the ides of March” (March 15). Caesar dismisses the soothsayer as a “dreamer” and continues on his victory march to the course.
All exit except Brutus and Cassius. The two men are interrupted three times by cheering from where Caesar went. Cassius complains to Brutus that he...