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Julius Caesar [Mass Market Paperback]

William Shakespeare
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 27 1998 Shakespeare, Signet Classic

Shakespeare's timeless tragedy of conspiracy and betrayal tells the story of the murder of Julius Caesar and the gruesome aftermath as Rome descends into a violent mob.

This edition includes:

An overview of Shakespeare's life, canon, and dramaturgy
An introduction to the play by Barbara Rosen and William Rosen of the University of Connecticut
Selections from Plutarch's Lives of Noble Grecians and Romans, the source from which Shakespeare derived the play

Also included are the following commentaries:

Maynard Mack: The Modernity of Julius Caesar
Coppelia Kahn: A Voluntary Wound
Roy Walker: From Unto Caesar: A Review of Recent Productions
Richard David: A Review of Julius Caesar (Royal Shakespeare, 1972) 
Ralph Berry: On Directing Shakespeare: An Interview with Trevor Nunn, Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company
Peggy Goodman Endel: Julio Cesar: The 1986 Florida Shakespeare Festival
Sylvan Barnet: Julius Caesar on the Stage and Screen

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Product Description

From Amazon

One of Shakespeare's most political plays, Julius Caesar continued Shakespeare's interest in Roman history, first developed in Titus Andronicus. Drawing on Plutarch, the great historian of Rome, Shakespeare dramatises one of the most crucial moments in Roman history--the assassination of Julius Caesar. Loved by the Roman crowd but increasingly feared by the Senators, Caesar increasingly shows signs of his desire to abolish the Republic and crown himself emperor. A conspiracy is hatched, led by Cassius and Brutus, who murder Caesar on the steps of the Capitol. Mourning over his dead friend's body, Mark Antony gives one of the famous rhetorical speeches in literature, asking "Friends, Romans, Countrymen" to lament Caesar's death, privately vowing to "let slip the dogs of war" against those who have shed Caesar's blood. Antony joins forces with Caesar's son Octavius to defeat Cassius and Brutus in battle, and establish an uneasy alliance whose collapse is dramatised in Shakespeare's later play Antony and Cleopatra. Written at the end of Queen Elizabeth's reign, Julius Caesar has been seen by many as a radically pro-Republican play which sailed close to the political wind of the time. --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-One of the marks of Shakespeare's greatness is the continued interest in adapting his enduring works. This recording of Julius Caesar is one in a series drawn from Leon Garfield's Shakespeare Stories. Liberally sprinkled with lines from the original play, the recording presents a condensation of all five acts in a little more than an hour. Beginning with a brief biography of the Bard, the recording then offers a thorough but not lengthy overview of the play. All this sets the stage for Simon Russell Beale's well paced narration. This Royal Shakespeare Company veteran moves so skillfully between story text and dialogue that at times it seems as though there are several actors reading. Classic lines such as "Et tu. Brute" and "Friends, Romans, Countrymen " are rendered with fresh vigor. At the conclusion of the play, an article on "Shakespeare Today" offers suggestions to help youngsters have fun with Shakespeare. Short selections of period music make a nice transition between sections of the recording. Though aimed at a middle school audience, both teens and adults will find this presentation a good way to learn about one of the earliest plays performed at the Globe Theatre.
Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Friends, Romans, countrymen April 30 2011
Gaius Julius Cæsar is the Caesar we think of when we hear the word "Caesar" -- he conquered Gaul, bedded Cleopatra, and died a pretty dramatic death. And while he only appears in a few scenes of "Julius Caesar," he's the nucleus that William Shakespeare's taut conspiracy play revolves around -- his murder, his legacy, and the bitter jealousy he inspired.

Julius Caesar is returning to Rome in triumph, only to be stopped by a strange old soothsayer who warns him, "Beware the ides of March." Caesar brushes off the warning, but he has no idea that a conspiracy is brewing under his nose. In a nutshell, a group of senators led by the creepy Cassius are plotting against Caesar because of his wild popularity, suspecting that he wants to become KING.

And Cassius' latest target: Brutus, one of Caesar's best buddies. Brutus is slowly swayed over to the conspiracy's side, beginning to believe that Caesar as a great man corrupted by power. Everything comes to a a devastating assassination on... guess when... the ides of March, which will elevate some men to greatness and destroy others.

Though the story is supposedly about Julius Caesar, Caesar himself only has a few scenes -- but his charismatic, dominating presence hangs over the play like a heavy tapestry. What he does, what he plans, what he thinks and who he is are constantly on people's minds, and even after his death he is a powerful presence in the memories of the living.

And Shakespeare cooks up a dialogue-heavy play that is a bit on the slow side, but whose speeches are so powerful and intense that you don't quite notice.
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By M. B. Alcat TOP 1000 REVIEWER
"Julius Caesar" was written by William Shakespeare (1564-1616), and even though it is not as well-known as some of his other plays, it is a classic that should be read with the attention it deserves.

The main character is, of course, Julius Caesar, and this play tells us about his assassination. The plays also highlights how those who survived him tried to earn the approval of the fickle plebeians. In my opinion, one of the best scenes is that in which Brutus, and then Mark Anthony, speak to the plebeians. Brutus, depicted as an idealistic man that loved Caesar but feared his ambitions, stands by his actions and seems to be respected for taking a stand on behalf of the republic. However, soon enough Anthony starts his eulogy to Caesar, pointing out that Caesar cared for Rome above everything and that he had remembered the people of Rome in his testament. As a result of Anthony mastery of words, the plebeians turn their back on Brutus, and start a riot.

Truth to be told, "Julius Caesar" doesn't end there, but that scene is a turning point in the story, and perhaps more importantly, an excellent way to realize that words can be as dangerous as weapons, when wielded with expertise.

All in all, I can say that I liked this play. Yes, it is true that it is not overly easy to read, due to the fact that the language in which it is written is quite dated, but you can always buy a reading companion to "Julius Caesar", or an edition with good footnotes. And even though Shakespeare's English isn't "your" English, I think you will manage!

In my opinion, you should try to overcome that small inconvenient. The reasons for that are at least two. First, the story is interesting. Secondly, it is always a good idea to remember how important a good mastery of language is, and this play helps you to do exactly that. On the whole, recommended!

Belen Alcat
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4.0 out of 5 stars Julius Caesar June 19 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is one of Shakespeares most famous plays. I was required to read this play for school and I found that it was best when it was read aloud than when I read it too myself. It has been debated on whether Brutus or Caesar was the main character of the play and having read it i can see why. Julius Caesar is an essential role in the play as the dictator of Rome but Brutus is also a very important character. It is Brutus' internal conflict on whether or not he should betray his friend for the good of Rome that is the main subject of the beginning of the play. Also, many of Brutus' flaws like his bad judgement of character fuels the plot of the play. The lanuage is a little difficult to read but it enhances the play and the story. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in history or wants to read a compelling classic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Roman political intrigue meets Elizabethan drama Oct. 27 2003
By A.J.
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Not much is more sensational than the assassination of a major public figure; reading Act 3, Scene 1 of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," in which the title character is stabbed and hacked to death by half a dozen conspirators, I feel like I'm depriving myself of a thrilling theatrical spectacle that must be seen to be appreciated. It is not necessary to know much about Caesar to sense the power of the drama; the play provides just enough background and information about Caesar's personality to suggest the reason for his murder and its consequences.
In historical actuality, Caesar's murder was in some ways the pivot around which Rome transformed from a republic into an empire, and the play, which Shakespeare bases faithfully on Plutarch's histories, is ultimately about the political struggle that drives this transformation. The main conspirator against Caesar, and the one to deal him the final blow, is Brutus, who foresees nothing but tyranny if Caesar is made a king. There is something atavistic about his attitude, for he is descended from the family that was instrumental in turning the kingdom of Rome into a republic five centuries earlier.
The scenes leading up to Caesar's murder build with forceful tension.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Julius Caesar
I loved "Romeo and Juliet", "Hamlet" and other Shakespeare novels, so I thought that I might try a history Shakespeare had written for my advanced English class. Read more
Published on Dec 8 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent edition of Julius Caesar
When it comes to Shakespeare, there really isn't a discussion about how good the play is...they are all fantastic and are all worth devoting time to read. Read more
Published on Sept. 22 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars GOOD MORROW, JULUIS CAESAR
Julius Caesar was a play of epic proportions. Even though much of it was drawn out and needed more action, other parts were emotionally inspirational and uplifting. Read more
Published on June 4 2003 by amy
3.0 out of 5 stars Julius Caesar
The book Julius Caesar was a very interesting and good book. Although the language was hard to understand in the beginning, you end up getting used to it and the book basically... Read more
Published on May 29 2003 by sally morrow
5.0 out of 5 stars Friends, Romans, Web Surfers...
A while back, a friend of mine and I decided to pick a Shakespeare play every couple months, read it, then get together and discuss it. Read more
Published on May 27 2003 by C. Fletcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Profoundly Powerful - All Hail Caesar!!!
"Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once." - Caesar
Just one of the many brilliant quotes from this powerful and enduring... Read more
Published on Nov. 7 2002 by Chris Salzer
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense
Shakespeare gives a whole new face to history, transforming Caesar's assassination into a conspiracy, in which the conspirators have some reluctancy to join in. Read more
Published on Nov. 3 2002 by "miezee"
1.0 out of 5 stars Deplorable (...)
A further proof of the dumbing down of our society are this entire series. It is a shame and a disgrace that ever such as these were needed. Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars A great play
Julius Caesar is probably one of the better plays written by Shakespeare. This play if full of intrigue, action, betrayal, and emotion. Read more
Published on Feb. 20 2002 by D. Pachal
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