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Julius Caesar

Caesar's assassination is just the halfway point of Julius Caesar. The first part of the play leads to his death; the second portrays the consequences. As the action begins, Rome prepares for Caesar's triumphal entrance. Brutus, Caesar's friend and ally, fears that Caesar will become king, destroying the republic. Cassius and others convince Brutus to join a conspiracy to kill Caesar.

On the day of the assassination, Caesar plans to stay home at the urging of his wife, Calphurnia. A conspirator, Decius Brutus, persuades him to go to the Senate with the other conspirators and his friend, Mark Antony. At the Senate, the conspirators stab Caesar to death. Antony uses a funeral oration to turn the citizens of Rome against them. Brutus and Cassius escape as Antony joins forces with Octavius Caesar.

Encamped with their armies, Brutus and Cassius quarrel, then agree to march on Antony and Octavius. In the battle that follows, Cassius, misled by erroneous reports of loss, persuades a slave to kill him; Brutus's army is defeated. Brutus commits suicide, praised by Antony as "the noblest Roman of them all."

Early printed texts

Julius Caesar was published for the first time in the 1623 First Folio, and that text is the source of all later editions of the play. 

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Item Title: 
Works. 1623] Mr. William Shakespeares comedies, histories, & tragedies : published according to the true originall copies.
Item Call Number: 
STC 22273 Fo.1 no.68
Item Creator: 
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616.
Item Date: 
1623

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Item Title: 
Mr. VVilliam Shakespeares comedies, histories, and tragedies. : Published according to the true originall copies.
Item Call Number: 
STC 22274 Fo.2 no.07
Item Creator: 
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616.
Item Date: 
1632

Picturing Julius Caesar

As part of an NEH-funded project, the Folger digitized thousands of 18th-, 19th-, and early 20th-century images representing Shakespeare’s plays. Some of these images show actors in character, while others show the plays as if they were real-life events—telling the difference isn't always easy. A selection of images related to Julius Caesar is shown below, with links to our digital image collection.

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Edward Loomis Davenport as Brutus (1875)
Edward Loomis Davenport as Brutus (1875)
Item Title: 
[Edward Loomis Davenport as Brutus in Julius Caesar by Shakespeare] [graphic] / [Sarony].
Item Call Number: 
ART File D247 no.9 PHOTO part 2 (size XS)
Item Creator: 
Sarony, Napoleon, 1821-1896, photographer.
Item Date: 
[New York : s.n., 1875]

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Brutus with Caesar's ghost (Act 4, scene 3; 19th century)
Brutus with Caesar's ghost (Act 4, scene 3; 19th century)
Item Title: 
[Julius Caesar, IV, 3, The ghost of Caesar with Brutus] [graphic] / [Alexandre Bida].
Item Call Number: 
ART Box B584 no.12 (size S)
Item Creator: 
Bida, Alexandre, 1813-1895, artist.
Item Date: 
[19th century]

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Antony with Caesar's body (Act 3, scene 2; mid- to late 19th century)
Antony with Caesar's body (Act 3, scene 2; mid- to late 19th century)
Item Title: 
[Julius Caesar, act III, sc. II, Antony & Caesar's body] [graphic] / Heinrich Spiess, del. ; A. Krausse, sc.
Item Call Number: 
ART File S528j1 no.38 (size M)
Item Creator: 
Krausse, A. (Alfred), 1829-1894, printmaker.
Item Date: 
[Germany? : s.n., mid to late 19th century]

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Promotional program for 1953 film of Julius Caesar

Promotional program for 1953 film of Julius Caesar

Item Title: 
Julius Caesar. (Film) MGM Promotional Program
Item Call Number: 
Ball Collection, J.C.1953, Folder 3.
Item Date: 
1953

More images of Julius Caesar can be seen in our digital image collection. (Because of how they were cataloged, some images from other plays might appear in the image searches linked here, so always check the sidebar to see if the image is described as part of a larger group.)