Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" Part 1: The Story


Julius Caesar is one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, telling the story of one of history’s most famous events. In this tense political thriller, the Roman senator Brutus must decide whether to assassinate the powerful military general Julius Caesar in order to save Roman Republic — and the audience must decide whether Brutus made the right choice. In this course, you’ll learn how Shakespeare dramatized the historical event of Caesar’s assassination in 44 BCE, and particularly how he linked refined political rhetoric, aspiration toward Roman ideals, and acts of savage violence. You’ll also hear the play’s key speeches performed and analyzed by world-class Shakespearean actors and literary scholars. In Part 1, you’ll be guided through a detailed account of the story with commentary by Michael Dobson, Director of the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon and Professor of Shakespeare Studies, University of Birmingham. Professor Dobson discusses the Roman history behind Julius Caesar and the cultural role of classical Rome during the Renaissance, when Shakespeare was writing. This summary is told using the language of the play itself, placing key quotations in context to help you understand where these lines come from and what they mean.

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