Julius Caesar Thrift Study Edition

Julius Caesar Thrift Study Edition

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by William Shakespeare
     
 

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A charismatic politician's assassination leads to a civil war in Shakespeare's drama of ancient Rome. Written in 1599 about an event from more than 2,000 years ago, this historical play continues to captivate modern audiences with its memorable characters, poetic speeches, and profound examination of the conflicting claims of ambition, ethics, and loyalty.
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Overview

A charismatic politician's assassination leads to a civil war in Shakespeare's drama of ancient Rome. Written in 1599 about an event from more than 2,000 years ago, this historical play continues to captivate modern audiences with its memorable characters, poetic speeches, and profound examination of the conflicting claims of ambition, ethics, and loyalty.
With its compelling insights into history and human nature, Julius Caesar often serves as an introduction to the works of Shakespeare — and this Dover Thrift Study Edition offers a definitive survey of the drama. Created to help the reader gain a thorough understanding of the content and context of Julius Caesar, the guide includes:
• Scene-by-scene summaries
• Explanations and discussions of the plot
• Question-and-answer sections
• Shakespeare biography
• List of characters and more
Dover Thrift Study Editions feature everything that students need to undertake a confident reading of a classic text, as well as to prepare themselves for class discussions, essays, and exams.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780486112732
Publisher:
Dover Publications
Publication date:
05/03/2012
Series:
Dover Thrift Study Edition
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
160
File size:
982 KB

Read an Excerpt

Julius Caesar


By WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 2009 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-11273-2



CHAPTER 1

Act I—Scene I—Rome


A STREET

Enter FLAVIUS, MARULLUS, and certain Commoners.

FLAV.

Hence! home, you idle creatures, get you home:
Is this a holiday? what! know you not,
Being mechanical, you ought not walk
Upon a labouring day without the sign
Of your profession? Speak, what trade art thou?

FIRST COM. Why, sir, a carpenter.

MAR.

Where is thy leather apron and thy rule?
What dost thou with thy best apparel on?
You, sir, what trade are you?

SEC. COM. Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am but, as you would say, a cobbler.

MAR. But what trade art thou? answer me directly.

SEC. COM. A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may use with a safe conscience; which is indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles.

MAR. What trade, thou knave? thou naughty knave, what trade?

SEC. COM. Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me: yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you.

MAR. What mean'st thou by that? mend me, thou saucy fellow!

SEC. COM. Why, sir, cobble you.

FLAV Thou art a cobbler, art thou?

SEC. COM. Truly, sir, all that I live by is with the awl: I meddle with no tradesman's matters, nor women's matters, but with awl. I am indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes; when they are in great danger, I re-cover them. As proper men as ever trod upon neats-leather have gone upon my handiwork.

FLAV.

But wherefore art not in thy shop to-day?
Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?

SEC. COM. Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes, to get myself into more work. But indeed, sir, we make holiday, to see Caesar and to rejoice in his triumph.

MAR.

Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?
What tributaries follow him to Rome,
To grace in captive bonds his chariot-wheels?
You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!
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 live-long 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!
Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,
Pray to the gods to intermit the plague
That needs must light on this ingratitude.

FLAV.

Go, go, good countrymen, and, for this fault,
Assemble all the poor men of your sort;
Draw them to Tiber banks and weep your tears
Into the channel, till the lowest stream
Do kiss the most exalted shores of all.

[Exeunt all the Commoners.]

See, whether their basest metal be not moved;
They vanish tongue-tied in their guiltiness.
Go you down that way towards the Capitol;
This way will I: disrobe the images,
If you do find them deck'd with ceremonies.

MAR.

May we do so?
You know it is the feast of Lupercal.

FLAV.

It is no matter; let no images
Be hung with Caesar's trophies. I'll about,
And drive away the vulgar from the streets:
So do you too, where you perceive them thick.
These growing feathers pluck'd from Caesar's wing
Will make him fly an ordinary pitch,
Who else would soar above the view of men
And keep us all in servile fearfulness.

[Exeunt.]


Scene II—A public place

Flourish. Enter CAESAR; ANTONY, for the course; CALPURNIA, PORTIA, DECIUS, CICERO, BRUTUS, CASSIUS, and CASCA; a great crowd following, among them a Soothsayer.

CAES. Calpurnia!

CASCA. Peace, ho! Caesar speaks.

[Music ceases.]

CAES.

Calpurnia!

CAL. Here, my lord.

CAES.

Stand you directly in Antonius' way,
When he doth run his course. Antonius!

ANT. Caesar, my lord?

CAES.

Forget not, in your speed, Antonius,
To touch Calpurnia; for our elders say,
The barren, touched in this holy chase,
Shake off their sterile curse.

ANT.

I shall remember:
When Caesar says "do this," it is perform'd.

CAES. Set on, and leave no ceremony out.

[Flourish.]

SOOTH. Caesar!

CAES. Ha! who calls?

CASCA. Bid every noise be still: peace yet again!

CAES.

Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
Cry "Caesar." Speak; Caesar is turn'd to hear.

SOOTH. Beware the ides of March.

CAES.

What man is that?

BRU. A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.

CAES. Set him before me; let me see his face.

CAS. Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Caesar.

CAES. What say'st thou to me now? speak once again.

SOOTH. Beware the ides of March.

CAES. He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.

[Sennet. Exeunt all but BRUTUS and CASSIUS.]

CAS. Will you go see the order of the course?

BRU. Not I.

CAS. I pray you, do.

BRU.

I am not gamesome: I do lack some part
Of that quick spirit that is in Antony.
Let me not hinder, Cassius, your desires;
I'll leave you.

CAS.

Brutus, I do observe you now of late:
I have not from your eyes that gentleness
And show of love as I was wont to have:
You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand
Over your friend that loves you.

BRU.

Cassius,
Be not deceived: if I have veil'd my look,
I turn the trouble of my countenance
Merely upon myself. Vexed I am
Of late with passions of some difference,
Conceptions only proper to myself,
Which give some soil perhaps to my behaviours;
But let not therefore my good friends be grieved—
Among which number, Cassius, be you one—
Nor construe any further my neglect
Than that poor Brutus with himself at war
Forgets the shows of love to other men.

CAS.

Then, Brutus, I have much mistook your passion;
By means whereof this breast of mine hath buried
Thoughts of great value, worthy cogitations.
Tell me, good Brutus, can you see your face?

BRU.

No, Cassius; for the eye sees not itself
But by reflection, by some other things.

CAS.

'T is just:
And it is very much lamented, Brutus,
That you have no such mirrors as will turn
Your hidden worthiness into your eye,
That you might see your shadow. I have heard
Where many of the best respect in Rome,
Except immortal Caesar, speaking of Brutus,
And groaning underneath this age's yoke,
Have wish'd that noble Brutus had his eyes.

BRU.

Into what dangers would you lead me, Cassius,
That you would have me seek into myself
For that which is not in me?

CAS.

Therefore, good Brutus, be prepared to hear:
And since you know you cannot see yourself
So well as by reflection, I your glass
Will modestly discover to yourself
That of yourself which you yet know not of.
And be not jealous on me, gentle Brutus:
Were I a common laugher, or did use To stale with ordinary oaths my love
To every new protester; if you know
That I do fawn on men and hug them hard,
And after scandal them; or if you know
That I profess myself in banqueting
To all the rout, then hold me dangerous.

[Flourish and shout.)

BRU.

What means this shouting? I do fear, the people
Choose Caesar for their king.

CAS.

Ay, do you fear it?
Then must I think you would not have it so.

BRU.

I would not, Cassius, yet I love him well.
But wherefore do you hold me here so long?
What is it that you would impart to me?
If it be aught toward the general good,
Set honour in one eye and death i' the other,
And I will look on both indifferently:
For let the gods so speed me as I love
The name of honour more than I fear death.

CAS.

I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus,
As well as I do know your outward favour.
Well, honour is the subject of my story.
I cannot tell what you and other men
Think of this life, but, for my single self,
I had as lief not be as live to be
In awe of such a thing as I myself.
I was born free as Caesar; so were you:
We both have fed as well, and we can both
Endure the winter's cold as well as he:
For once, upon a raw and gusty day,
The troubled Tiber chafing with her shores,
Caesar said to me "Darest thou, Cassius, now
Leap in with me into this angry flood,
And swim to yonder point?" Upon the word,
Accoutred as I was, I plunged in
And bade him follow: so indeed he did.
The torrent roar'd, and we did buffet it With lusty sinews, throwing it aside
And stemming it with hearts of controversy;
But ere we could arrive the point proposed,
Caesar cried "Help me, Cassius, or I sink!"
I, as Aeneas our great ancestor
Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder
The old Anchises bear, so from the waves of Tiber
Did I the tired Caesar: and this man
Is now become a god, and Cassius is
A wretched creature, and must bend his body
If Caesar carelessly but nod on him.
He had a fever when he was in Spain,
And when the fit was on him, I did mark
How he did shake: 't is true, this god did shake;
His coward lips did from their colour fly,
And that same eye whose bend doth awe the world
Did lose his lustre: I did hear him groan:
Ay, and that tongue of his that bade the Romans
Mark him and write his speeches in their books,
Alas, it cried, "Give me some drink, Titinius,"
As a sick girl. Ye gods! it doth amaze me
A man of such a feeble temper should
So get the start of the majestic world
And bear the palm alone.

[Shout. Flourish.]

BRU.

Another general shout!
I do believe that these applauses are
For some new honours that are heap'd on Caesar.

CAS.

Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonourable graves.
Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Brutus, and Caesar: what should be in that Caesar?
Why should that name be sounded more than yours?
Write them together, yours is as fair a name;
Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well;
Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure with 'em,
Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Caesar.
Now, in the names of all the gods at once,
Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed,
That he is grown so great? Age, thou art shamed!
Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods!
When went there by an age, since the great flood,
But it was famed with more than with one man?
When could they say till now that talk'd of Rome
That her wide walls encompass'd but one man?
Now is it Rome indeed, and room enough,
When there is in it but one only man.
O, you and I have heard our fathers say
There was a Brutus once that would have brook'd
The eternal devil to keep his state in Rome
As easily as a king.

BRU.

That you do love me, I am nothing jealous;
What you would work me to, I have some aim:
How I have thought of this and of these times,
I shall recount hereafter; for this present,
I would not, so with love I might entreat you,
Be any further moved. What you have said
I will consider; what you have to say
I will with patience hear, and find a time
Both meet to hear and answer such high things.
Till then, my noble friend, chew upon this:
Brutus had rather be a villager
Than to repute himself a son of Rome
Under these hard conditions as this time
Is like to lay upon us.

CAS.

I am glad that my weak words
Have struck but this much show of fire from Brutus.

BRU. The games are done, and Caesar is returning.

CAS.

As they pass by, pluck Casca by the sleeve; And he will, after his sour fashion,
tell you
What hath proceeded worthy note to-day.

Re-enter CAESAR and his Train.

BRU.

I will do so: but, look you, Cassius,
The angry spot doth glow on Caesar's brow,
And all the rest look like a chidden train:
Calpurnia's cheek is pale, and Cicero
Looks with such ferret and such fiery eyes
As we have seen him in the Capitol,
Being cross'd in conference by some senators.

CAS. Casca will tell us what the matter is.

CAES. Antonius!

ANT. Caesar?

CAES.

Let me have men about me that are fat,
Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep o' nights:
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;
He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.

ANT.

Fear him not, Caesar; he's not dangerous;
He is a noble Roman, and well given.

CAES.

Would he were fatter! but I fear him not:
Yet if my name were liable to fear,
I do not know the man I should avoid
So soon as that spare Cassius. He reads much;
He is a great observer, and he looks
Quite through the deeds of men: he loves no plays,
As thou dost, Antony; he hears no music:
Seldom he smiles, and smiles in such a sort
As if he mock'd himself, and scorn'd his spirit
That could be moved to smile at any thing.
Such men as he be never at heart's ease
Whiles they behold a greater than themselves,
And therefore are they very dangerous.
I rather tell thee what is to be fear'd
Than what I fear; for always I am Caesar.
Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf,
And tell me truly what thou think'st of him.

[Sennet. Exeunt CAESAR and all his Train but CASCA.]

CASCA. You pull'd me by the cloak; would you speak with me?

BRU.

Ay, Casca; tell us what hath chanced to-day,
That Caesar looks so sad.

CASCA. Why, you were with him, were you not?

BRU. I should not then ask Casca what had chanced.

CASCA. Why, there was a crown offered him: and being offered him, he put it by with the back of his hand, thus: and then the people fell a-shouting.

BRU. What was the second noise for?

CASCA. Why, for that too.

CAS. They shouted thrice: what was the last cry for?

CASCA. Why, for that too.

BRU. Was the crown offered him thrice?

CASCA. Ay, marry, was't, and he put it by thrice, every time gentler than other; and at every putting by mine honest neighbours shouted.

CAS. Who offered him the crown?

CASCA. Why, Antony.

BRU. Tell us the manner of it, gentle Casca.

CASCA. I can as well be hang'd as tell the manner of it: it was mere foolery; I did not mark it. I saw Mark Antony offer him a crown: yet 't was not a crown neither, 't was one of these coronets: and, as I told you, he put it by once: but for all that, to my thinking, he would fain have had it. Then he offered it to him again; then he put it by again: but, to my thinking, he was very loath to lay his fingers off it. And then he offered it the third time; he put it the third time by: and still as he refused it, the rabblement hooted and clapped their chopped hands and threw up their sweaty nightcaps and uttered such a deal of stinking breath because Caesar refused the crown, that it had almost choked Caesar; for he swounded and fell down at it: and for mine own part, I durst not laugh, for fear of opening my lips and receiving the bad air.

CAS. But, soft, I pray you: what, did Caesar swound?

CASCA. He fell down in the market-place and foamed at mouth and was speechless.

BRU. 'T is very like: he hath the falling-sickness.

CAS.

No, Caesar hath it not: but you, and I,
And honest Casca, we have the falling-sickness.

CASCA. I know not what you mean by that, but I am sure Caesar fell down. If the tag-rag people did not clap him and hiss him according as he pleased and displeased them, as they use to do the players in the theatre, I am no true man.

BRU. What said he when he came unto himself?

CASCA. Marry, before he fell down, when he perceived the common herd was glad he refused the crown, he plucked me ope his doublet and offered them his throat to cut. An I had been a man of any occupation, if I would not have taken him at a word, I would I might go to hell among the rogues. And so he fell. When he came to himself again, he said, if he had done or said any thing amiss, he desired their worships to think it was his infirmity. Three or four wenches, where I stood, cried "Alas, good soul!" and forgave him with all their hearts: but there's no heed to be taken of them; if Caesar had stabbed their mothers, they would have done no less.

BRU. And after that, he came, thus sad, away?

CASCA. Ay.

CAS. Did Cicero say any thing?

CASCA. Ay, he spoke Greek.

CAS. To what effect?

CASCA. Nay, an I tell you that, I'll ne'er look you i' the face again: but those that understood him smiled at one another and shook their heads; but for mine own part, it was Greek to me. I could tell you more news too: Marullus and Flavius, for pulling scarfs off Caesar's images, are put to silence. Fare you well. There was more foolery yet, if I could remember it.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Julius Caesar by WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE. Copyright © 2009 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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