Julius Caesar: Plot Summary
Act 1, Scene 1
The story opens on a street in Rome, where two tribunes, Flavius and Marullus, disperse a crowd that is celebrating the return of the greatest ruler of the day, Julius Caesar. The tribunes, fearful of Caesar's ever-increasing power, berate the assembled commoners for their shortsightedness and fickle loyalties. Marullus reminds the cobblers and carpenters that Caesar has conquered another Roman, the noble Pompey:
O you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,
Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft
Have you climb'd up to walls and battlements,
To towers and windows, yea, to chimney-tops,
Your infants in your arms, and there have sat
The livelong day, with patient expectation,
To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome:
And when you saw his chariot but appear,
Have you not made an universal shout,
That Tiber trembled underneath her banks,
To hear the replication of your sounds
Made in her concave shores?
And do you now put on your best attire?
And do you now cull out a holiday?
And do you now strew flowers in his way
That comes in triumph over Pompey's blood? Be gone! (40-56)
The crowd scatters and Flavius and Marullus remove the decorations that cover the public statues.
Act 1, Scene 2
Caesar passes through a public square to celebrate the Roman festival of Lupercalia 1. With Caesar is his wife Calpurnia, Mark Antony, senator Cicero, republican sympathizers Brutus, Cassius, Casca, Decius, Flavius, Marullus, and Brutus' wife Portia. Caesar asks Antony to touch Calpurnia in a fertility rite,
for our elders say,
The barren, touched in this holy chase,
Shake off their sterile curse. (7-9)
As the music and merriment begins, Caesar hears someone shout his name. Hushing the crowd, he asks the voice to speak again. A soothsayer comes into view and warns Caesar to "Beware the ides of March", but Caesar ignores his premonition: "He is a dreamer; let us leave him; pass" (24). Caesar and the adoring...