Summary of Julius Caesar Act I
As in the manner of a typical Shakespearean play, Julius Caesar opens with minor characters, the two Tribunes, Marullus and Flavius, who are seen to be rebuking the Roman citizens for their blind worshipping of Caesar. The conversation is clearly indicative of the fact that they are worried that Caesar is growing more and more powerful, and that is making him too arrogant. They are clearly bent on curbing Caesar’s popularity and his power and are ready to do anything for achieving that purpose. They decide to send back the citizens to their work and also to remove all decorations that were put up to celebrate Caesar’s return. Thus ends the first scene of Julius Caesar, which strikes the perfect keynote of the play.
The next scene transports us to the victorious procession of Caesar through the streets of Rome. Caesar ignores the warning of the Soothsayer (fortune teller) who tells him to beware the “ides of March [the 15th of March]“. It is at this point that we see Cassius, who is very wary of Caesar’s ever growing power, starts talking to Brutus about Caesar’s tyranny. Cassius tests Brutus’ mood before telling him everything. At this point we also learn that Marullus and Flavius, the tribunes who had been scolding the Roman citizens in the first scene, and removing the decorations from Caesar’s statues, have been silenced. Brutus meanwhile is wary of Cassius’ real motives in conspiring against Caesar, but he tells Cassius that he will think over Cassius’ words. Meanwhile, Casca reveals to Brutus some information about the crowning scene that suggests Caesar’s growing ambitions.
As the Act progresses, so does Cassius’ conspiracy. We see that Cassius’ plans gain momentum with the deployment of Casca. Cassius easily wins Casca to his side by pointing out omens that he claims are meant to warn them against Caesar. Cassius realizes that he must win Brutus over because the very presence of Brutus will lend some kind of a sanction to their cause. Cassius tries all means to win Brutus over, and that also includes placing forged letters that will influence Brutus to join the conspirators.