Julius Caesar


Brutus - A supporter of the republic who believes strongly in a government guided by the votes of senators. While Brutus loves Caesar as a friend, he opposes the ascension of any single man to the position of dictator, and he fears that Caesar aspires to such power. Brutus’s inflexible sense of honor makes it easy for Caesar’s enemies to manipulate him into believing that Caesar must die in order to preserve the republic. Torn between his loyalty to Caesar and his allegiance to the state, Brutus becomes the tragic hero of the play.

Julius Caesar – A dangerously popular general, and a military genius whose talents don’t extend to the political. Seduced by the populace’s increasing idolization of his image, he ignores ill omens and threats against his life, believing himself too powerful to be touched by them.

Antony – Caesar’s right hand. Antony claims allegiance to Brutus and the conspirators after Caesar’s death in order to save his own life. Later, however, when speaking a funeral oration over Caesar’s body, he spectacularly persuades the Citizens to withdraw their support of Brutus and his fellow conspirators, and condemn them as traitors. With tears on his cheeks and Caesar’s will in his hand, Antony engages masterful rhetoric to stir the crowd to revolt against the conspirators. The seeds of Antony’s eventual downfall, a taste for excess in all things, are just beginning to be evident in him. And he backs the wrong horse in Octavius, whose own taste for power eclipses both his and Caesar’s, and who will turn on Antony eventually in pursuit of that power.

Cassius - Impulsive and unscrupulous, Cassius harbors no illusions about the political workings of Rome. He acts as the instigator in the plot to murder Caesar, manipulating his fellow conspirators into joining him, for no better motivation than jealousy. A shrewd opportunist, he lacks integrity, but not the capacity for love; his love for Brutus is as genuine as it is evident, and ultimately renders him more sympathetic than venal.

Octavius - Caesar’s adopted son and appointed successor. Octavius joins with Antony to avenge Caesar’s death, and ultimately to seize the reins of power once the conspirators have been brought down. Antony tries to control Octavius’s movements, but Octavius follows his adopted father’s example and emerges as the authoritative figure, paving the way for his eventual seizure of the reins of Roman government.

Calpurnia - Caesar’s wife, virtuous, aging and barren. She warns Caesar against going to the Senate on the Ides of March, since she has had terrible nightmares and heard reports of many bad omens. Caesar’s ambition ultimately causes him to disregard her advice.

Portia - Brutus’s wife; the daughter of a noble Roman who took sides against Caesar. Portia, accustomed to being Brutus’s confidante, is upset to find him so reluctant to speak his mind when she finds him troubled. Brutus later hears that Portia has killed herself out of grief that Antony and Octavius have become so powerful.

Casca - An aging cynic, opposed to Caesar’s rise to power. Casca relates to Cassius and Brutus how Antony offered the crown to Caesar three times, and how each time Caesar declined it. He believes, however, that Caesar is the consummate actor, lulling the populace into believing that he has no personal ambition.

Trebonius – A conspirator to murder Caesar. Initially he seems to be doing so for vicious reasons and in an underhanded way, but the more we learn of him, the more genuine his reasons for rebelling and killing Caesar seem to be. Cassius describes him as his best friend, and kills himself when he believes Trebonius has been captured by Antony’s forces.

Cinna – A conspirator to murder Caesar. A little younger than the others, idealistic, had been a follower of Pompey’s, and blames Caesar for Pompey’s death.

Metellus Cimber – A conspirator to murder Caesar. He joins the conspiracy in the hopes of securing his banished brother Publius’ reinstatement, and when Caesar refuses to recall Publius, Metellus commits to the murder.

Citizens – They act as a single will, and a howling mob, and collectively they might just be the most changeable and interesting character in the play. They sit in the audience and try to rile up the crowd. They play soldiers at Philippi. Stage combat will be needed for all four.