The play is not mentioned in a list by Francis Meres of Shakespeare’s plays in 1598. A Swiss visitor to London records seeing the play at the Globe Theatre on 21st September 1599. It was probably written during 1599.
The play wasn’t printed before appearing in the First Folio. It was probably typeset from the acting company’s prompt-book, or a transcript of it.
‘Et tu, Brute? – Then fall Caesar!’
Julius Caesar, III i
Brief synopsis of the play
Marcus Brutus, Caius Cassius and fellow senators fear the growing power of the triumphant general Julius Caesar, suspecting that he has ambitions to replace the republic as a dictator. They assassinate him in the public square, justifying their actions to the people of Rome, but Mark Antony turns popular opinion against the conspirators, and civil war ensues. Issues of ambition, honour, virtue and loyalty run through this emotional political drama.