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Investigate the characters

Investigate the characters

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  • Brutus

    Brutus is a politician in the Roman republic. At the start of the play, he is worried that the people want Caesar to be king and to have complete power. When Cassius tells him he is worried about the same thing, Brutus joins him in a plot to assassinate Caesar. Brutus is convinced that killing Caesar is the right thing to do but after he is forced to flee and his loyal wife, Portia, commits suicide because of his actions, Brutus become more troubled. When Brutus senses defeat in battle, he takes his own life.

    Facts we learn about Brutus at the start of the play:

    • He is descended from Lucius Brutus, a founder of the Roman republic who fought to overthrow the monarchy.
    • He is worried that Caesar will be crowned king and Rome will cease to be a republic.
    • These worries have made him appear troubled to those who know him well.
    • He has no personal grudge against Caesar, his only concern is the good of Rome.

    Things they say:

    ‘I love / The name of honour more than I fear death.’ (Brutus 1:2)

    Brutus would rather die than be seen as dishonourable. He values honour above all other virtues.

    ‘I slew my best lover for the good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself when it shall please my country to need my death.’ (Brutus 3:2)

    Brutus sacrificed Caesar for the good of Rome and would die for his country/the republic.

    Things others say about them:

    ‘Well, Brutus, thou art noble. Yet I see / Thy honorable mettle may be wrought From that it is disposed.’ (Cassius 1:2)

    Brutus is honourable but can be manipulated.

    No, my Brutus, / You have some sick offense within your mind, / Which by the right and virtue of my place / I ought to know of.’ (Portia 2:1)

    Brutus is not physically ill but his worries are making him seem so. He keeps this secret from his trusted wife.

    'His life was gentle and the elements / So mixed in him that nature might stand up / And say to all the world “This was a man".' (Antony 5:5)

    Brutus has inspired respect even from his enemies.

  • Cassius

    Cassius is a talented general and supporter of the Roman republic. He dislikes the fact that Caesar has become like a king in the eyes of the Roman citizens and leads his friend Brutus to believe that Caesar must die. He is impulsive and deceptive, sending Brutus forged letters to convince him to murder Caesar. He is shrewd and understands how the political world works but his friendship with Brutus means a lot to him. Despite never believing in omens, he starts to see signs of failure and loses confidence. When he senses defeat in battle, he knows it is time to die and kills himself with the blade that stabbed Caesar.

    Facts we learn about Cassius at the start of the play:

    • He does not think Caesar deserves the power he has got.
    • He once saved Caesar from drowning and considers him physically weak.
    • His dislike of Caesar appears to be more personal than that of Brutus.

    Things they say:

    ‘Were I a common laughter, 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.’ (Cassius 1:2)

    Cassius believes he is trustworthy, respected and honest. He wants Brutus to believe these things too.

    Fear him not, Caesar; he’s not dangerous. / He is a noble Roman, and well given.’ (Antony 1:2)

    Cassius has a good and trustworthy reputation.

    O, coward that I am to live so long / To see my best friend ta’en before my face!’ (Cassius 5:3)

    Cassius thinks he is a coward for not protecting his best friend.

    Things others say about them:

    ‘Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look. /He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous.’ (Caesar 1:2)

    Cassius is clever and seen as a threat by Caesar.

    The last of all the Romans, fare thee well. / It is impossible that ever Rome /Should breed thy fellow.’ (Brutus 5:3)

    Cassius is a respectable Roman citizen.

  • Julius Caesar

    Caesar is a general and the most powerful man in Rome. He begins the play as a victorious leader returning from battle. The people of Rome even offer to make him king and he seems to enjoy his power, even though he refuses the crown. Seen as too ambitious by the conspirators, he is eventually murdered by them to protect Rome and its ideals as a republic.

    Facts we learn about Caesar at the start of the play:

    • He has led an army to victory over Pompey.
    • He is the last of the three men who formed the triumvirate.
    • He is married to Calphurnia and they have no children.
    • He is popular with the people of Rome who want to crown him king.

    Things they say:

    ‘Caesar shall forth. The things that threatened me / Ne’er looked but on my back. When they shall see / The face of Caesar, they are vanishèd.’ (Caesar, 2:2)

    Caesar believes he is invincible and that when he faces danger, he will conquer it.

    ‘Be not fond / To think that Caesar bears such rebel blood / That will be thawed from the true quality / With that which melteth fools—.’ (Caesar, 3:1)

    Caesar considers himself constant and reliable.

    Things others say about them:

    ‘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.’ (Casca 1:2)

    Caesar has publicly refused the crown three times but Casca thinks he could be hiding his ambition.

    ‘he is superstitious grown of late, / Quite from the main opinion he held once /Of fantasy, of dreams, and ceremonies.’ (Cassius 2:1)

    Caesar didn’t believe in omens but has recently changed his mind.

    ‘great Caesar fell. / O, what a fall was there, my countrymen! / Then I and you and all of us fell down.’ (Antony, 3:1)

    Caesar was seen as a great leader.

  • Antony

    Antony is a general in the Roman army and a loyal friend of Caesar. When Caesar is murdered, he flees the chaos but returns to shake hands with the conspirators. Speaking at Caesar’s funeral, he proves himself to be a charismatic and manipulative speaker and turns the crowd against the conspirators. Together with Caesar’s great-nephew, Octavius, Antony goes into battle against Brutus and Cassius’ armies and defeats them.

    Facts we learn about Antony at the start of the play:

    • He is running in a ceremonial race.
    • He is trusted by Caesar who confides in him and asks his advice.
    • He offers Caesar the crown.
    • He does not think Cassius is dangerous.

    Things they say:

    ‘My credit now stands on such slippery ground / That one of two bad ways you must conceit me, / Either a coward or a flatterer.’ (Antony 3:1)

    Antony is clever and knows what the conspirators think of him.

    ‘I am no orator, as Brutus is, / But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man / That love my friend’ (Antony 3:2)

    Antony is loyal to Caesar and, despite what he actually says here, is a highly skilled public speaker.

    Things others say about them:

    ‘We shall find of him / A shrewd contriver; and, you know, his means, If he improve them, may well stretch so far / As to annoy us all’ (Cassius 2:1)

    Antony can be manipulative and clever and can turn situations to his advantage.

    ‘he is given /To sports, to wildness, and much company.’ (Brutus 2:1)

    Antony likes to have fun and go to parties so people might not take him seriously.

    ‘There’s not a nobler man in Rome than Antony.’ (Third Plebian 3:2)

    Antony is loved by the people.

  • Portia

    Portia is Brutus' wife and the daughter of a noble Roman called Cato. She is used to being Brutus’ confidante and is upset when he doesn’t tell her what is happening and why he is worried. When Brutus eventually tells her about the plot, she is nervous about the danger he is in. She later kills herself after he has run away, out of grief that he is gone and his enemies have become so powerful.

    Facts we learn about Portia at the start of the play:

    • She has already asked Brutus to share his problems and he has dismissed her.
    • She has spotted the masked conspirators in her house.
    • She is the daughter of Cato, who fought for Pompey and was known for his courage and integrity.
    • She has given herself a voluntary wound in the thigh.

    Things they say:

    ‘I have made can make strong proof of my constancy, / Giving myself a voluntary wound / Here, in the thigh. Can I bear that with patience, / And not my husband’s secrets?’ (Portia 2:1)

    Portia has injured herself in order to test her power to bear pain and suffering without complaint.

    ‘O constancy, be strong upon my side; / Set a huge mountain ’tween my heart and tongue. / I have a man’s mind but a woman’s might. /How hard it is for women to keep counsel!’ (Portia 2:3)

    Portia is anxious about Brutus’ safety and finds it hard to keep his actions to herself.

    Things others say about them:

    ‘You are my true and honorable wife, / As dear to me as are the ruddy drops / That visit my sad heart’ (Brutus 2:1)

    Portia is respected and valued by her husband. She means as much to Brutus as his own lifeblood.

    ‘O you gods, / Render me worthy of this noble wife! ’ (Brutus 2:1)

    Portia affects hers husband deeply and he does not think he is worthy of her.

    ‘Impatient of my absence, / And grief that young Octavius with Mark Antony Have made themselves so strong—for with her death / That tidings came—with this she fell distract / And, her attendants absent, swallowed fire.’ (Brutus 4:2)

    Portia would rather commit suicide than be without Brutus.

  • Calphurnia

    Calphurnia is Caesar’s wife. She has come to believe in signs and omens as warnings of the future. After having terrible nightmares and hearing reports of many bad omens, she warns Caesar against going to the Senate on the Ides of March. She also tells Caesar that his over-confidence is leading him to make bad decisions. After listening to her, Caesar agrees to stay but later changes his mind and Calphurnia’s advice is ignored.

    Facts we learn about Calphurnia at the start of the play:

    • She has not had children with Caesar.
    • She never used to pay much attention to omens but is frightened by them now.

    Things they say:

    ‘Caesar, I never stood on ceremonies, / Yet now they fright me.’ (Calphurnia, 2:2)

    Calphurnia never paid much attention to omens but now they frighten her.

    ‘Call it my fear / That keeps you in the house, and not your own.’ (Calphurnia, 2:2)

    Calphurnia knows Caesar well and that he’ll stay at home if he can blame it on his wife’s fear and not his own.

    Things others say about them:

    ‘Forget not in your speed, Antonius, / To touch Calphurnia, for our elders say / The barren, touchèd in this holy chase, / Shake off their sterile curse.’ (Caesar 1:2)

    Calphurnia has not had any children with Caesar. He hopes that by obeying superstition, this 'curse' might be stopped.

    ‘Calphurnia here, my wife, stays me at home. / She dreamt tonight she saw my statue, / Which, like a fountain with an hundred spouts, /Did run pure blood’ (Caesar 2:2)

    Calphurnia is persuasive and Caesar listens to her.

    ‘How foolish do your fears seem now, Calphurnia! / I am ashamèd I did yield to them.’ (Caesar 2:2)

    Calphurnia is easily dismissed by Caesar in public.

  • The Conspirators

    There are a total of eight conspirators in the plot to kill Caesar. This includes Cassius and finally, Brutus. The other six are named many times by Cassius, Antony and even Caesar and are well known public figures and senators in Rome.

    They are: Casca, Decius, Cinna, Metellus Cimber, Ligarius and Trebonius. They work together to recruit Brutus and to steer Caesar towards his death, collecting him from his house and accompanying him personally to the Capitol to make sure nothing goes wrong with their plan. When the time is right, they surround Caesar and all stab him, sharing responsibility for his death. When they are forced to run away they all go to fight with Cassius and Brutus.

    Facts we learn about the conspirators at the start of the play:

    • The six conspirators have been recruited by Cassius.
    • The plot to kill Caesar is well advanced before Cassius approaches Brutus.
    • They want to murder Caesar to prevent him becoming king.

    Things they say:

    ‘Let me work, / For I can give his humour the true bent, / And I will bring him to the Capitol.’ (Decius 2:1)

    Decius is confident in his ability to manipulate Caesar. He is determined to lead Caesar right into the hands of the conspirators at the Capitol.

    ‘O pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth, / That I am meek and gentle with these butchers.’ (Antony, 3:1)

    Antony thinks the conspirators have slaughtered Caesar like an animal.

    Things others say about them:

    ‘he puts on this tardy form. / This rudeness is a sauce to his good wit, / Which gives men stomach to digest his words / With better appetite.’ (Cassius about Casca 1:2)

    Brutus thinks Casca has grown stupid since school. Cassius says he pretends to be slow-witted but is sharp in action.

    ‘O conspiracy, / Sham’st thou to show thy dang’rous brow by night, / When evils are most free?’ (Brutus 2:1)

    The conspirators are cautious of being recognised. They know what they are doing is dangerous and radical.

    ‘no man here / But honours you, and every one doth wish / You had but that opinion of yourself / Which every noble Roman bears of you.’ (Cassius 2:1)

    Each of the conspirators are noblemen who value Brutus’ honour. They wish that Brutus shared the same high opinion of himself.

  • Octavius Caesar

    Octavius Caesar is a small but important role in the play. He is Caesar’s nephew and chosen heir, meaning that Octavius will rule Rome after Caesar dies. He is also an important friend to Antony and raises an army with him to fight Brutus and the conspirators. Octavius, together with Antony and Lepidus, forms the next Triumvirate to rule Rome at the end of the play.

    Facts we learn about Octavius Caesar at the start of the play:

    • Caesar has written to him asking him to come to Rome.
    • He is loyal to Caesar and obeys him.
    • He is young.
    • He is friends with Antony.

    Things they say:

    ‘we are at the stake / And bayed about with many enemies, / And some that smile have in their hearts, I fear, / Millions of mischiefs.’ (Octavius, 4:1)

    Octavius recognises that he is in a dangerous position surrounded by enemies. His uncle Caesar was betrayed by friends so Octavius knows that he can’t trust anybody.

    ‘I do not cross you, but I will do so. March.’ (Octavius, 5:1)

    Although Octavius is a younger and less experienced soldier than Antony, he is confident enough to go against Antony’s orders.

    ‘Look, I draw a sword against conspirators; / When think you that the sword goes up again? / Never, till Caesar’s three and thirty wounds / Be well avenged, or till another Caesar / Have added slaughter to the sword of traitors.’ (Octavius, 5:1)

    Octavius seems deeply affected by the way Caesar was killed, even remembering the number of stab wounds he received, and he wants revenge.

    Things others say about them:

    ‘He did receive his letters and is coming, / And bid me say to you by word of mouth— .’ (Servant, 3:1)

    Octavius is loyal to Caesar and obeyed his request to come to Rome.

    ‘Post back with speed and tell him what hathchanced. / Here is a mourning Rome, a dangerous Rome, / No Rome of safety for Octavius yet.’ (Antony 3:1)

    Octavius is important to Antony, who cares for his safety.

    ‘A peevish schoolboy, worthless of such honor’ (Cassius 5:1)

    Octavius is seen by Cassius, and possibly the other conspirators, as a spoilt, boastful child who isn’t worthy to be killed by such a man as Brutus.

  • Cinna the Poet

    Cinna is a poet in Rome. He shares the same name as one of the conspirators and is mistaken for him by the angry mob of citizens after Caesar’s funeral. Despite protesting his identity and innocence, the mob surround him and, wanting revenge for Caesar’s murder, carry him off to tear him to pieces.

    Facts we learn about Cinna the Poet at the start of the play:

    • He is unaware of the plot to kill Caesar.
    • He shares the same name as one of the conspirators.

    Things they say:

    ‘I dreamt tonight that I did feast with Caesar, / And things unluckily charge my fantasy. / I have no will to wander forth of doors, / Yet something leads me forth.’ (Cinna, 3:3)

    Cinna is superstitious. He believes his fate is being determined by something other than himself.

    ‘What is my name? Whither am I going? Where do I dwell? Am I a married man or a bachelor? Then to answer every one directly and briefly, wisely and truly: wisely I say, I am a bachelor.’ (Cinna, 3:3)

    Cinna is a man of words and obeys each instruction from the plebeians in order. He is also precise and literal and maybe pedantic.

    Things others say about them:

    ‘Tear him to pieces! He’s a conspirator.’ (First Plebeian, 3:3)

    Cinna is confused as a conspirator because of his name.

    ‘Tear him for his bad verses, tear him for his bad verses!’ (Fourth Plebeian, 3:3)

    Cinna is murdered by the mob even once they know he is a poet and not a conspirator.

  • Soothsayer

    The Soothsayer is a fortune teller. He only has nine lines in the whole play but his is an important role. In one of the most famous lines from the play, he warns Caesar to ‘Beware the Ides of March’, another name for 15 March in the Roman calendar. The Romans were highly superstitious and he attempts to warn Caesar more than once, including on the day of the murder itself, but Caesar does not take him seriously. Caesar is then murdered on the Ides of March.

    Facts we learn about the Soothsayer at the start of the play:

    • He has a distinctive voice.
    • He is not afraid to address Caesar directly.

    Things they say:

    ‘If it will please Caesar / To be so good to Caesar as to hear me, / I shall beseech him to befriend himself.’ (Soothsayer 2:4)

    The Soothsayer is convinced of his warning and determined to deliver it again.

    ‘None that I know will be, much that I fear may chance.’ (Soothsayer, 2:4)

    The Soothsayer does not know any solid facts about Caesar being in danger. He only has premonitions and fears.

    Things others say about them:

    ‘Who is it in the press that calls on me? / I hear a tongue shriller than all the music’ (Caesar 1:2)

    The Soothsayer is easy to hear, even over a large crowd.

    ‘He is a dreamer. Let us leave him.’ (Caesar 1:2)

    The Soothsayer’s appearance makes Caesar dismiss his warning.

    ‘The ides of March are come.’ (Caesar 3:1)

    The Soothsayer was memorable and made an impression on Caesar.

Explore their relationships

Brutus

  • Brutus - Portia

    Brutus and Portia have a troubled relationship when she enters in Act 2. Portia knows something is wrong but Brutus is not confiding in her or telling her what’s wrong.

    ‘you answered not, / But with an angry wafture of your hand / Gave sign for me to leave you.' (Portia, 2:1)
    ‘I am not well in health, and that is all.’ (Brutus, 2:1)

    Their relationship appears to be strong and respectful as she challenges him to tell her what’s happening. In order to get Brutus to open up to her, Portia tests their bond as husband and wife.

    ‘'upon my knees / I charm you, by my once commended beauty, / By all your vows of love’(Portia, 2:1)
    ‘You are my true and honorable wife, / As dear to me as are the ruddy drops / That visit my sad heart.’ (Brutus, 2:1)

    To further convince Brutus to talk to her, Portia uses her value as a woman as proof of character. He seems to admire her and trust her enough to promise that he will tell her soon.

    ‘A woman well-reputed, Cato’s daughter. / Think you I am no stronger than my sex, / Being so fathered and so husbanded?’ (Portia, 2:1)
    ‘O you gods, / Render me worthy of this noble wife!’ (Brutus, 2:1)

    Once Portia knows about the plot to kill Caesar she becomes extremely worried for Brutus’ safety.

    ‘O Brutus, / The heavens speed thee in thine enterprise!’ (Portia, 2:4)

    Brutus is devastated when Portia commits suicide and it is one of the things that makes him angry towards Cassius.

    ‘'Impatient of my absence, / And grief that young Octavius with Mark Antony / Have made themselves so strong—for with her death / That tidings came’ (Brutus, 4:3)

  • Brutus - Cassius

    Cassius and Brutus have been close friends in the past but they have not spoken openly for a long time. Cassius wants Brutus’ help to overthrow Caesar and he cleverly manipulates him into thinking about joining his conspiracy in Act 1.

    ‘You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand / Over your friend that loves you.’ (Cassius, 1:2)
    ‘let not therefore my good friends be grieved / Among which number, Cassius, be you one’ (Brutus, 1:2)

    Cassius puts his trust in Brutus, letting him take the lead in the conspiracy and knowing that the public are more likely to support Brutus because of his family’s popularity.

    'Let Antony and Caesar fall together.’ (Cassius, 3:1)
    'Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius, /To cut the head off and then hack the limbs’ (Brutus, 2:1)

    After the murder of Caesar, Brutus and Cassius flee the Capitol and Brutus feels that Cassius’ friendship is cooling towards him.

    ‘When love begins to sicken and decay / It useth an enforcèd ceremony.’ (Brutus, 4:2)’
    ‘Strike as thou didst at Caesar, for I know / When thou didst hate him worst, thou lovedst him better / Than ever thou lovedst Cassius.’ (Cassius, 4:2)’

    The two men fight while preparing to go into battle against Antony and Octavius but Brutus backs down from the row and Cassius regrets arguing with his close friend.

    ‘O Cassius, you are yokèd with a lamb / That carries anger as the flint bears fire.’ (Brutus, 4:2)’
    ‘O my dear brother, / This was an ill beginning of the night. / Never come such division ’tween our souls! / Let it not, Brutus.’ (Cassius, 4:2).’ (Cassius, 4:2)’

    When they face death and defeat both Brutus and Cassius speak well of each other, and Cassius does not talk to Brutus about the omens he has seen but talks about victory instead.

    ‘Now, most noble Brutus, / The gods today stand friendly that we may, / Lovers in peace, lead on our days to age.’ (Cassius, 5:1)
    ‘Forever and forever farewell, Cassius. /If we do meet again, why we shall smile; /If not, why then this parting was well made.’ (Brutus, 5:1)

  • Brutus - Caesar

    Caesar believes Brutus is honest and trustworthy but Brutus secretly considers Caesar too ambitious to rule Rome alone.

    ‘What means this shouting? I do fear the people /Choose Caesar for their king.’ (Brutus 1:2)

    Caesar trusts Brutus and follows him into the senate unaware that Brutus is plotting to kill him, even thanking him.

    ‘I thank you for your pains and courtesy.’ (Caesar, 2:2)
    ‘ That every like is not the same, O Caesar, / The heart of Brutus earns to think upon.’ (Brutus, 2:2)

    Caesar’s trust in Brutus is utterly betrayed when he is killed by the conspirators. Caesar seems more surprised at Brutus than the other conspirators, when he gives the final wound.

    ‘I kiss thy hand, but not in flattery, Caesar’ (Brutus, 3:1)
    ‘Et tu, Brutè?—Then fall, Caesar.’ (Caesar, 3:1)

  • Brutus - The Conspirators

Cassius

  • Cassius - Brutus

    Cassius and Brutus have been close friends in the past but they have not spoken openly for a long time. Cassius wants Brutus’ help to overthrow Caesar and he cleverly manipulates him into thinking about joining his conspiracy in Act 1.

    ‘You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand / Over your friend that loves you.’ (Cassius, 1:2)
    ‘let not therefore my good friends be grieved / Among which number, Cassius, be you one’ (Brutus, 1:2)

    Cassius puts his trust in Brutus, letting him take the lead in the conspiracy and knowing that the public are more likely to support Brutus because of his family’s popularity.

    ‘Let Antony and Caesar fall together.’ (Cassius, 3:1)
    ‘Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius, /To cut the head off and then hack the limbs’ (Brutus, 2:1)

    After the murder of Caesar, Brutus and Cassius flee the Capitol and Brutus feels that Cassius’ friendship is cooling towards him.

    ‘When love begins to sicken and decay / It useth an enforcèd ceremony.’ (Brutus, 4:2)’
    ‘Strike as thou didst at Caesar, for I know / When thou didst hate him worst, thou lovedst him better / Than ever thou lovedst Cassius.’ (Cassius, 4:2)’

    The two men fight while preparing to go into battle against Antony and Octavius but Brutus backs down from the row and Cassius regrets arguing with his close friend.

    ‘O Cassius, you are yokèd with a lamb / That carries anger as the flint bears fire.’ (Brutus, 4:2)’
    ‘O my dear brother, / This was an ill beginning of the night. / Never come such division ’tween our souls! / Let it not, Brutus.’ (Cassius, 4:2).’ (Cassius, 4:2)’

    When they face death and defeat both Brutus and Cassius speak well of each other, and Cassius does not talk to Brutus about the omens he has seen but talks about victory instead.

    ‘Now, most noble Brutus, / The gods today stand friendly that we may, / Lovers in peace, lead on our days to age.’ (Cassius, 5:1)
    ‘Forever and forever farewell, Cassius. /If we do meet again, why we shall smile; /If not, why then this parting was well made.’ (Brutus, 5:1)

  • Cassius - The Conspirators

  • Cassius - Caesar

Julius Caesar

  • Caesar - Calphurnia

    Caesar and Calphurnia want to have children and he instructs Calphurnia to stand in Antony’s way when he runs in the ceremonial race in Act 1, as it is seen as good luck.

    ‘for our elders say / The barren, touchèd in this holy chase, / Shake off their sterile curse.’ (Caesar, 1:1)

    Calphurnia is afraid of Caesar getting hurt and seems to care about him. She has dreams about Caesar’s death and pleads with him not to go.

    ‘What mean you, Caesar? Think you to walk forth? / You shall not stir out of your house today.’ (Calphurnia, 2:2)
    ‘The things that threatened me / Ne’er looked but on my back. When they shall see / The face of Caesar, they are vanishèd.’ (Caesar, 2:2)

    Caesar does seem to listen to Calphurnia when in private and she is quite critical of his bravado, convincing him to stay at home safely.

    ‘Alas, my lord, / Your wisdom is consumed in confidence.’ (Calphurnia, 2:2)
    ‘for thy humour, I will stay at home.’ (Caesar, 2:2)

    In public, Caesar chooses to listen to Decius rather than Calphurnia, ignores her and changes his mind about going to the senate.

    ‘How foolish do your fears seem now, Calphurnia! / I am ashamèd I did yield to them. / Give me my robe, for I will go.’ (Caesar, 2:2)

  • Caesar - Brutus

    Caesar believes Brutus is honest and trustworthy but Brutus secretly considers Caesar too ambitious to rule Rome alone.

    ‘What means this shouting? I do fear the people /Choose Caesar for their king.’ (Brutus 1:2)

    Caesar trusts Brutus and follows him into the senate unaware that Brutus is plotting to kill him, even thanking him.

    ‘I thank you for your pains and courtesy.’ (Caesar, 2:2)
    ‘ That every like is not the same, O Caesar, / The heart of Brutus earns to think upon.’ (Brutus, 2:2)

    Caesar’s trust in Brutus is utterly betrayed when he is killed by the conspirators. Caesar seems more surprised at Brutus than the other conspirators, when he gives the final wound.

    ‘I kiss thy hand, but not in flattery, Caesar’ (Brutus, 3:1)
    ‘Et tu, Brutè?—Then fall, Caesar.’ (Caesar, 3:1)

  • Caesar - Antony

    Antony and Caesar have a very close relationship, Caesar trusts Antony’s opinions when he tells him not to worry about Cassius and Antony acknowledges Caesar’s authority without question.

    ‘When Caesar says “Do this,” it is performed.’ (Antony, 1:2)
    ‘He loves no plays, / As thou dost, Antony; he hears no music; / Seldom he smiles, and smiles in such a sort / As if he mocked himself’ (Caesar, about Cassius, 1:2)

    While Antony is known for having parties and enjoying revels, he goes with Caesar to the senate on the day of the conspiracy and seems devoted.

    ‘So to most noble Caesar.’ (Antony, 2:2)
    ‘‘See, Antony that revels long a-nights / Is notwithstanding up.’ (Caesar 2:2)

    Antony is clever and, even though he seems angry with the conspirators, he shakes their hands after Caesar is murdered. When alone, he apologises to Caesar’s body for his actions suggesting he still respects Caesar.

    ‘Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!’ (Antony3:1)

  • Caesar - The Conspirators

    Caesar’s relationship with the conspirators is different with each individual, but it is clear most of them are trusted by Caeasr. Decius is able to stop Caesar from staying at home and listening to the different warnings, leading him to his death.

    ‘Because I love you, I will let you know. /Calphurnia here, my wife, stays me at home.’ (Caesar, 2:2)
    ‘shall they not whisper / “Lo, Caesar is afraid”? /Pardon me, Caesar, for my dear dear love /To your proceeding bids me tell you this’ (Decius, 2:2)

    Caesar has no reason to mistrust the conspirators when he goes to the senate. He offers them wine and greets each of them warmly by name, while they have prepared to petition him as a cover for their planned attack.

    ’Remember that you call on me today; / Be near me that I may remember you.’ (Caesar, 2:2)
    ‘And so near will I be /That your best friends shall wish I had been further.’ (Trebonius, 2:2)

    The conspirators use their positions of trust to help them murder Caesar, kneeling to petition him before each stabbing him so that they are all equally to blame. Caesar’s responses show his betrayal and surprise.

    ’Are we all ready? What is now amiss / That Caesar and his Senate must redress? (Caesar, 3:1)
    ‘Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead!’ (Cinna, 3:1)

  • Caesar - Octavius

  • Caesar - Soothsayer

  • Caesar - Cassius

Antony

  • Antony - Caesar

    Antony and Caesar have a very close relationship, Caesar trusts Antony’s opinions when he tells him not to worry about Cassius and Antony acknowledges Caesar’s authority without question.

    ‘When Caesar says “Do this,” it is performed.’ (Antony, 1:2)
    ‘He loves no plays, / As thou dost, Antony; he hears no music; / Seldom he smiles, and smiles in such a sort / As if he mocked himself’ (Caesar, about Cassius, 1:2)

    While Antony is known for having parties and enjoying revels, he goes with Caesar to the senate on the day of the conspiracy and seems devoted.

    ‘So to most noble Caesar.’ (Antony, 2:2)
    ‘‘See, Antony that revels long a-nights / Is notwithstanding up.’ (Caesar 2:2)

    Antony is clever and, even though he seems angry with the conspirators, he shakes their hands after Caesar is murdered. When alone, he apologises to Caesar’s body for his actions suggesting he still respects Caesar.

    ‘Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!’ (Antony3:1)

Portia

  • Portia - Brutus

    Brutus and Portia have a troubled relationship when she enters in Act 2. Portia knows something is wrong but Brutus is not confiding in her or telling her what’s wrong.

    ‘you answered not, / But with an angry wafture of your hand / Gave sign for me to leave you.' (Portia, 2:1)
    ‘I am not well in health, and that is all.’ (Brutus, 2:1)

    Their relationship appears to be strong and respectful as she challenges him to tell her what’s happening. In order to get Brutus to open up to her, Portia tests their bond as husband and wife.

    ‘'upon my knees / I charm you, by my once commended beauty, / By all your vows of love’(Portia, 2:1)
    ‘You are my true and honorable wife, / As dear to me as are the ruddy drops / That visit my sad heart.’ (Brutus, 2:1)

    To further convince Brutus to talk to her, Portia uses her value as a woman as proof of character. He seems to admire her and trust her enough to promise that he will tell her soon.

    ‘A woman well-reputed, Cato’s daughter. / Think you I am no stronger than my sex, / Being so fathered and so husbanded?’ (Portia, 2:1)
    ‘O you gods, / Render me worthy of this noble wife!’ (Brutus, 2:1)

    Once Portia knows about the plot to kill Caesar she becomes extremely worried for Brutus’ safety.

    ‘O Brutus, / The heavens speed thee in thine enterprise!’ (Portia, 2:4)

    Brutus is devastated when Portia commits suicide and it is one of the things that makes him angry towards Cassius.

    ‘'Impatient of my absence, / And grief that young Octavius with Mark Antony / Have made themselves so strong—for with her death / That tidings came’ (Brutus, 4:3)

Calphurnia

  • Calphurnia - Caesar

    Caesar and Calphurnia want to have children and he instructs Calphurnia to stand in Antony’s way when he runs in the ceremonial race in Act 1, as it is seen as good luck.

    ‘for our elders say / The barren, touchèd in this holy chase, / Shake off their sterile curse.’ (Caesar, 1:1)

    Calphurnia is afraid of Caesar getting hurt and seems to care about him. She has dreams about Caesar’s death and pleads with him not to go.

    ‘What mean you, Caesar? Think you to walk forth? / You shall not stir out of your house today.’ (Calphurnia, 2:2)
    ‘The things that threatened me / Ne’er looked but on my back. When they shall see / The face of Caesar, they are vanishèd.’ (Caesar, 2:2)

    Caesar does seem to listen to Calphurnia when in private and she is quite critical of his bravado, convincing him to stay at home safely.

    ‘Alas, my lord, / Your wisdom is consumed in confidence.’ (Calphurnia, 2:2)
    ‘for thy humour, I will stay at home.’ (Caesar, 2:2)

    In public, Caesar chooses to listen to Decius rather than Calphurnia, ignores her and changes his mind about going to the senate.

    ‘How foolish do your fears seem now, Calphurnia! / I am ashamèd I did yield to them. / Give me my robe, for I will go.’ (Caesar, 2:2)

The Conspirators

  • The Conspirators - Caesar

    Caesar’s relationship with the conspirators is different with each individual, but it is clear most of them are trusted by Caeasr. Decius is able to stop Caesar from staying at home and listening to the different warnings, leading him to his death.

    ‘Because I love you, I will let you know. /Calphurnia here, my wife, stays me at home.’ (Caesar, 2:2)
    ‘shall they not whisper / “Lo, Caesar is afraid”? /Pardon me, Caesar, for my dear dear love /To your proceeding bids me tell you this’ (Decius, 2:2)

    Caesar has no reason to mistrust the conspirators when he goes to the senate. He offers them wine and greets each of them warmly by name, while they have prepared to petition him as a cover for their planned attack.

    ’Remember that you call on me today; / Be near me that I may remember you.’ (Caesar, 2:2)
    ‘And so near will I be /That your best friends shall wish I had been further.’ (Trebonius, 2:2)

    The conspirators use their positions of trust to help them murder Caesar, kneeling to petition him before each stabbing him so that they are all equally to blame. Caesar’s responses show his betrayal and surprise.

    ’Are we all ready? What is now amiss / That Caesar and his Senate must redress? (Caesar, 3:1)
    ‘Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead!’ (Cinna, 3:1)

  • The Conspirators - Brutus

  • The Conspirators - Cassius

Octavius Caesar

  • Octavius - Caesar

Soothsayer

  • Soothsayer - Caesar

Teacher Notes

On this page students can arrange the characters on the screen, showing the connections between the characters and their relationships. They can then print this using the button on the page and label them with their own quotes.

The following activities are great ways to introduce the characters in more detail, looking at who is who in the play and who they might support and why.

Discovering the Characters (2017)

The activity can be found on pages 3 and 4 and takes approximately 30 minutes.

Line of Approval (2012)

The activity can be found on page 7 and takes approximately 30 minutes depending on how many characters you look at.