As Shakespeare's shortest play, Julius Caesar is an enduring analysis of conspiracy, betrayal and assassination.
The tragedy of an ‘honourable’ man who discovers too late that the consequences of a single act of violence cannot be predicted or controlled, Julius Caesar is relevant to this day. With Caesar’s triumphant return from the Civil War, Brutus fears that his friend may become a tyrant and dismantle the Republic. Even if Brutus’ motives are worthy, a potent mixture of resentment and lust for power are the real inspiration for the actions of his fellow conspirators.
The most famous of Shakespeare’s Roman tragedies, this play was written in 1599, and is believed to be one of his most popular works among his contemporaries. It contains some of the playwright’s greatest scenes, from Antony’s masterful speech at Caesar’s funeral, to the conflict and reconciliation between Brutus and Cassius, brought by the news of Portia’s death.
Published by Oxford University Press and bound in hardback buckram by The Folio Society, The Oxford Shakespeare series offers authoritative editions of Shakespeare’s plays. The early printings have been scrupulously re-examined and interpreted by eminent scholars, who also provide introductory essays covering all relevant background information, together with an appraisal of critical views and of the plays in performance. The exhaustive commentaries pay particular attention to language and staging. Reprints of sources, music for songs, genealogical tables and maps are included where necessary; many of the volumes are illustrated, and all contain an index.
Each book has an individual editor, with the whole series overseen by Stanley Wells.
Arthur Humphreys is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Leicester.
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