Julius Caesar Important Characters

Marcus Brutus
Brutus is the tragic hero of the play and, despite the play's name, he is the protagonist, not Caesar. Brutus is consistently determined to do what is right, always making choices that he believes are in the best interest of the Roman citizens. This trait, while admirable is, ultimately his downfall. Brutus displays several errors in judgment, not trusting in Cassius opinion when it comes to such important issues as what to do about Mark Antony and, later, their battle plans. Despite these flaws and errors in judgment, even Brutus' worst enemy realizes that he acts honorably at the end of the play. All around, he is well respected, by friends and enemies alike.

Caius Cassius
In the first act of the play, Caesar observes that Cassius looks like someone who thinks too much and is dangerous. This certainly proves to be true. Through several calculated maneuvers, Cassius manages to convince Brutus that Caesar is a problem that must be solved. He does this by appealing to Brutus' sense of right, which he knows is the one thing that could possibly sway Brutus. Thus, he proves that he is both sly and manipulative. However, unlike Brutus-who participates in Caesar's betrayal because he believes it is right-it does not seem that Cassius is morally invested in Caesar's betrayal, only that he is jealous of Caesar's power. Additionally, Cassius is a character who "talks big" in terms of the lengths he is willing to go to; however, he is quick to blame others for his actions and misgivings, and he is also quick to look for an easy way out when times get tough.

Julius Caesar
Though Julius Caesar is killed less than halfway through the play, he is important to the plot and development of the characters. Though he is not the protagonist, Caesar does, like Brutus, display a problematic flaw. One of Caesar's problems is that he fancies himself invincible. It is for this reason that he is willing to go to the Capital the day of March 15, despite the soothsayer's warning and despite the many omens that have occurred. It is also the reason he does nothing about Cassius, even though he recognizes he is a threat. Additionally, his ambition also causes his downfall. Had he not so badly wanted the crown, he would likely have stayed home on March 15 and, thus, not have had to face the conspiracy.

Mark Antony
Mark Antony is a loyal follower of Julius Caesar. Brutus is quick to write him off as harmless because Antony is Caesar's right-hand man and seems to do only what Caesar tells him. However, Antony proves to be a shrewd manipulator. Using the power of rhetoric, he is able to turn the people against Brutus and Cassius after Caesar's death, causing a riot in Rome. After Brutus and Cassius have fled, he quickly takes charge of the city, ruthlessly attacking anyone who might oppose him.

Octavius is Caesar's nephew. He arrives in Rome, shortly after Caesar's death and allies himself with Mark Antony. Often, he and Antony butt heads, disagreeing about how they should be leading their army.

Calpurnia is Caesar's wife. She expresses concern early in the play about her husband going to the Capital because of some ominous dreams she had. Though she expresses her concerns, however, she is powerless to change Caesar's mind.

Portia is Brutus' wife. She proves herself to be quite observant and headstrong, noticing that her husband has not been acting like himself lately. She questions her husband about this and, unlike Calpurnia, she will not sit by as her husband circumvents her concerns. Eventually, she succeeds in making Brutus promise to tell her what is amiss.

"Soothsayer" is a word that literally means "truth-teller." The soothsayer is a fortuneteller of sorts. He warns Brutus to "beware the ides of March," suggesting that something bad will happen on this day.

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Julius Caesar Quotations
Julius Caesar Act I Summary
Julius Caesar Act II Summary
Julius Caesar Summary
Julius Caesar Quiz
Julius Caesar Act I Quiz
Julius Caesar Act II Quiz
Julius Caesar Act III Quiz
Julius Caesar Act IV Quiz
Julius Caesar Act V Quiz
Julius Caesar Act III Summary
Julius Caesar Act IV Summary
Julius Caesar Act V Summary
Literature Summaries

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