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Julius Caesar

A scene from Julius Caesar

Introduction to the play

Shakespeare may have written Julius Caesar as the first of his plays to be performed at the Globe, in 1599. For it, he turned to a key event in Roman history: Caesar’s death at the hands of friends and fellow politicians. Renaissance writers disagreed over the assassination, seeing Brutus, a leading conspirator, as either hero or villain. Shakespeare’s play keeps this debate alive.

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Cover of the Folger Shakespeare edition of Julius Caesar

The Folger Shakespeare

Our bestselling editions of Shakespeare's plays and poems

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interrèd with their bones.

Act 3, scene 2, lines 82-85

There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune

Act 4, scene 3, lines 249-250

From the audio edition of Julius Caesar

Full recording available from Simon & Schuster Audio on CD and for download.

Julius Caesar in our collection

A selection of Folger collection items related to Julius Caesar. Find more in our digital image collection

Playbill for Julius Caesar, Nov. 25, 1864
Promotional program for MGM's Julius Caesar (1953), starring Marlon Brando
Caesar and Calphurnia: "O Caesar! These things are beyond all use & I do fear them," Act 2, scene 2. F. Dicksee pinxt. ; J. Bauer sculpt.
Imagining Julius Caesar at the Globe. From the C. Walter Hodges collection of Elizabethan and other theatre drawings, 1964.

Essays and resources from The Folger Shakespeare

Julius Caesar

Learn more about the play, its language, and its history from the experts behind our edition.

About Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar
An introduction to the plot, themes, and characters in the play

Reading Shakespeare’s Language
A guide for understanding Shakespeare’s words, sentences, and wordplay

An Introduction to This Text
A description of the publishing history of the play and our editors’ approach to this edition

Shakespeare and his world

Learn more about Shakespeare, his theater, and his plays from the experts behind our editions.

Shakespeare’s Life
An essay about Shakespeare and the time in which he lived

Shakespeare’s Theater
An essay about what theaters were like during Shakespeare’s career

The Publication of Shakespeare’s Plays
An essay about how Shakespeare’s plays were published

Related blog posts and podcasts

Teaching Julius Caesar

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.