The Tragedy of Julius Caesar William Shakespeare 100 B.C.- 44 B.C. Veni. Vidi. Vici. I came. I saw. I conquered. Tragedy: in literature, the series of unfortunate events by which one or more of the characters in the story has several misfortunes, and finally there is a disaster of “epic proportions.” Tragedy is build up in 5 stages: 1. 2. 3. 4. Happy times The introduction of the problem The problem becomes a crisis The characters are unable to prevent the problem from taking over 5. The problem results in some catastrophic, terrible ending, which is the tragedy happens Julius Caesar: Introduction The setting of this play is ancient Rome. Shakespeare creates a world full of political intrigue (interest), magical occurrences, and military conquest. Julius Caesar: Introduction Caesar, the most powerful man in Rome, has recently returned to the city after months of fighting abroad. Roman Territory before Caesar Roman Territory after Caesar • Monarchy: King has complete rule over Rome • Republic: Roman Government ruled by the people. • Dictatorship: One leader has complete political control The Age of Caesar • Born 100 B.C. • Married Cornelia at 18 years old; daughter Julia • 69 B.C. Cornelia dies; 67 B.C. Caesar marries Pompeia Rome was ruled by a “Triumvirate” (a group of three men) Pompey -a great politician & Caesar’s son-in-law Caesar -the famous general Crassus -the wealthiest man in Rome What do we have presently in the U.S. similar to a triumvirate? “Triumvirate” Established to restore order to Rome 59 B.C. Pompey marries Caesar’s daughter, Julia. Caesar wanted more power and went after more conquests and money. 54 B.C. Julia dies; Pompey jealous of Caesar’s power and influence. In 54 B.C. Caesar’s daughter, Julia, dies. Because she was the the only real personal tie between Pompey and Caesar, tension flared between the two men. Pompey Caesar In 53 B.C. Crassus dies… This ends the First Triumvirate and sets Pompey and Caesar against one another. Caesar began a military career and his armies conquered multiple countries. After Crassus was killed, trouble began to develop between Pompey and Caesar. Caesar was fighting Pompey, another powerful Roman, and his sons. Pompey, as well as others in the Roman senate, was disturbed by Caesar’s growing ambition. Because he was jealous, Pompey persuaded the Senate to order Caesar to break up his army and return to Rome. Instead, Caesar invaded Rome and took control and chased Pompey all the way to Egypt. He was killed there before Caesar could capture him. Later Caesar defeated and killed Pompey’s sons in Spain. Julius Caesar: Introduction Their fears seem to be valid when Caesar refuses to enter Rome as an ordinary citizen after the war. Instead, he marches his army on Rome and takes over the government. Julius Caesar: Introduction But the people don’t mind—in fact, they love him. Caesar is made “dictator for life.” Caesar was an ambitious leader… Julius Caesar gained support of the people by: Spending money for public entertainment Establishing laws that freed farmers and tradesmen from heavy taxes Promising to improve the overall economy Suggesting new laws, most of which were approved by the Senate. Reorganizing the army. Improving the way the provinces were governed. This is where our play begins… When it opens, we see some citizens in support of Caesar and some against him. Many senators, resent Caesar for having so much power. One of the reasons the Senate was concerned by Caesar’s accumulation of power was Rome’s long history as a republic. Julius Caesar: Introduction Some senators begin to conspire. . . Brutus, Caesar’s friend who believes that he must act against Caesar for the good of Rome Casca, who hates the ordinary citizens of Rome yet is jealous because they love Caesar and not him Cassius, a greedy and jealous man who wants to take drastic measures to keep Caesar from winning any more power—and to take away any power that Caesar previously had! February* 15: The Feast of the Lupercal What is that? Lupercus was the fertility god the Romans worshipped. They would sacrifice goats and a dog. The goats’ blood would be smeared on the foreheads of two young men, then wiped off with wool dipped in milk. Then young men wearing only strips of goatskin around their loins, ran around the city striking women with strips of goatskin. It was believed that pregnant women would have an easier labor and infertile women would become fertile. *februaue actually means “to purify” During this feast some of the conspirators discuss Caesar and what to do about him having too much power. The plan to kill him is developed… Would you be worried if someone told you something terrible would happen to you in a month? Beware the Ides of March... Julius Caesar is warned to beware the ides of March. “Ides” means the middle of the month; he was warned that something bad would happen on March 15th, 44 B.C. He is, in fact, killed on March 15th. A tragic figure or hero is one who has a character flaw which causes them to act poorly or make poor decisions resulting in their downfall. Every Shakespearian tragedy has one. However, in Julius Caesar, the tragic hero is not the title character. Shakespeare makes BRUTUS a key figure in the play. As we read The Tragedy of Julius Caesar… • We will discuss the conspiracy… • We will discuss how Rome fell to mob rule after Caesar’s death… • We will discuss why history seems to repeat itself over and over again… • And we will discuss our own flaws in our personalities and how we can prevent a tragedy in our lives by our every day actions… Veni, vidi, vici • Veni, vidi, vici means “I came, I saw, I conquered” – it’s how Caesar summed up his accomplishments • His name means “emperor” in at least 2 languages • The month of July is named after him • During his life, he was a famous lawyer, a high priest, a brilliant general, and a major author before declaring himself dictator of Rome Julius Caesar : Discussion Starters… Discussion starter topic 1: 1. How important is loyalty? • Does your country or do your friends consider “loyalty” something to value? When can “loyalty” sometimes cause problems? • What should people do when loyalty to their country and loyalty to their friend comes into conflict? • Are there limits to what people should do in defense of the nation? Julius Caesar: Discussion Starters Discussion starter topic 2: 2. What will a person do for the sake of political ideals? • Assassinations of political figures are common in history. • What political figures do you know of who have been assassinated? • What effect did these assassinations have on the general public, a political party, or a cause at the time of the assassination? Julius Caesar : Background Shakespeare uses Roman customs and superstition to create spooky conditions to mirror the dangerous plot being planned. Julius Caesar : Background The Romans believed that omens could reveal the future. These omens could take the form of unusual weather, flights of birds, or other natural phenomena. Julius Caesar: Background Animals were seen as indicators of the future. The Romans often sacrificed animals to the gods, and had their entrails (guts) examined by an official called a haruspex. Any abnormalities or imperfections indicated the anger of a god or a particularly bad event about to happen. Julius Caesar: Background Unusual astronomical and meteorological occurrences were also seen as signs of future events. Solar eclipses were believed to foreshadow doom, as was lightning. Julius Caesar : Background Around 509 B.C., the Romans ended a monarchy by rebelling against the last king of Rome, Tarquinius. Julius Caesar: Background After this revolution, the Romans established their famous republic, in which all citizens were represented in the Senate. They were very proud of their non-king ruled government, and were determined to preserve it— but when Caesar arrived, they changed their minds!