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Julius Caesar


  • 21 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 226 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.498 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 822.3/3
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: PR2808.A2 S64 2004
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Caesar, Julius--Assassination--Drama
    • Conspiracies--Drama
    • Assassins--Drama
    • Rome--Drama

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521827911 | ISBN-10: 0521827914)

Julius Caesar
Cambridge University Press
9780521827911 - Julius Caesar - Edited by Marvin Spevack

The New Cambridge Shakespeare

General editor

Brian Gibbons

Associate general editor

A. R. Braunmuller
University of California, Los Angeles

From the publication of the first volumes in 1984 the General Editor of the New Cambridge Shakespeare was Philip Brockbank and the Associate General Editors were Brian Gibbons and Robin Hood. From 1990 to 1994 the General Editor was Brian Gibbons and the Associate General Editors were A. R. Braunmuller and Robin Hood.

Julius Caesar

Professor Spevack’s critical discussion shows how private desires and public affairs are inextricable in Julius Caesar and how Shakespeare frames the world of this play – person, action, place, time – within the operations of larger forces, mysterious, ironical and undeniable. The result is the full impact of tragedy. The commentary is remarkable for its attention to questions of staging and to precise lexical glossing. For this updated edition, Marga Munkelt has added a new section and new pictures to the Introduction, surveying stage and critical interpretations since the 1980s of Shakespeare’s most famous Roman play. The reading list has also been brought up to date.

The New Cambridge Shakespeare

All’s Well That Ends Well edited by Russell Fraser

Antony and Cleopatra edited by David Bevington

As You Like It edited by Michael Hattaway

The Comedy of Errors edited by T. S. Dorsch

Coriolanus edited by Lee Bliss

Hamlet edited by Philip Edwards

Julius Caesar edited by Marvin Spevack

King Edward Ⅲ edited by Giorgio Melchiori

The First Part of King Henry Ⅳ edited by Herbert Weil and Judith Weil

The Second Part of King Henry Ⅳ edited by Giorgio Melchiori

King Henry Ⅴ edited by Andrew Gurr

The First Part of King Henry Ⅵ edited by Michael Hattaway

The Second Part of King Henry Ⅵ edited by Michael Hattaway

The Third Part of King Henry Ⅵ edited by Michael Hattaway

King Henry Ⅷ edited by John Margeson

King John edited by L. A. Beaurline

The Tragedy of King Lear edited by Jay L. Halio

King Richard Ⅱ edited by Andrew Gurr

King Richard Ⅲ edited by Janis Lull

Love’s Labour’s Lost edited by William C. Carroll

Macbeth edited by A. R. Braunmuller

Measure for Measure edited by Brian Gibbons

The Merchant of Venice edited by M. M. Mahood

The Merry Wives of Windsor edited by David Crane

A Midsummer Night’s Dream edited by R. A. Foakes

Much Ado About Nothing edited by F. H. Mares

Othello edited by Norman Sanders

Pericles edited by Doreen DelVecchio and Antony Hammond

The Poems edited by John Roe

Romeo and Juliet edited by G. Blakemore Evans

The Sonnets edited by G. Blakemore Evans

The Taming of the Shrew edited by Ann Thompson

The Tempest edited by David Lindley

Timon of Athens edited by Karl Klein

Titus Andronicus edited by Alan Hughes

Troilus and Cressida edited by Anthony B. Dawson

Twelfth Night edited by Elizabeth Story Donno

The Two Gentlemen of Verona edited by Kurt Schlueter

The Two Noble Kinsmen edited by Robert Kean Turner

The Winter’s Tale edited by Susan Snyder and Deborah T. Curren-Aquino

The early quartos

The First Quarto of Hamlet edited by Kathleen O. Irace

The First Quarto of King Henry Ⅴ edited by Andrew Gurr

The First Quarto of King Lear edited by Jay L. Halio

The First Quarto of King Richard Ⅲ edited by Peter Davison

The First Quarto of Othello edited by Scott McMillin

The First Quarto of Romeo and Juliet edited by Lukas Erne

The Taming of A Shrew: The 1594 Quarto edited by Stephen Roy Miller

Julius Caesar

Edited by

Marvin Spevack

Professor of English, University of Münster

Cambridge University Press
Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo, Delhi, Mexico City

Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 2RU, UK

Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
Information on this title:

© Cambridge University Press 1988, 2003

This book is in copyright. Subject to statutory exceptionand to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,no reproduction of any part may take place withoutthe written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 1988
Reprinted 1989, 1996, 1999, 2000 (twice), 2001 (twice), 2002 (twice)
Updated edition 2004
12th printing 2012

Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

British Library Cataloguing in Publication data

Shakespeare, William
Julius Caesar. – (The New Cambridge
Ⅰ. Title Ⅱ. Spevack, Marvin
822.3′3 PR2808

Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication data

Shakespeare, William, 1564–1616.
Julius Caesar / edited by Marvin Spevack
p. cm. – (The New Cambridge Shakespeare)
ISBN 978-0-521-82791-4 (hardback) ISBN 978-0-521-53513-1 (paperback)
Ⅰ. Caesar, Julius – Drama. Ⅰ. Spevack, Marvin. Ⅱ. Title.
Ⅲ. Series: Shakespeare, William, 1564–1616. Works.
1984. Cambridge University Press.
PR2808.A2S64 1988
822.3′3–dc19 87–27238 CIP

ISBN 0 978-0-521-82791-1 Hardback
ISBN 0 978-0-521-53513-7 Paperback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this book, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

For Dianne and Billy


List of illustrations
Abbreviations and conventions
The play
The frame
Persons and politics
Julius Caesar on the stage
Recent film, stage and critical interpretations by Marga Munkelt
Note on the text
Note on the commentary
List of characters
The Play
Textual analysis
Excerpts from Plutarch
Reading list


1     A likely Elizabethan staging of Act 3, Scene 1. Drawings by C. Walter Hodges a Caesar’s way towards the Capitol b The conspirators encircle Caesar
2     Antony’s funeral oration, Act 3, Scene 2. Drawing by C. Walter Hodges
3     The meeting of Brutus and Cassius, Act 4, Scenes 2 and 3. Drawing by C. Walter Hodges
4     Model of Imperial Rome, showing the Theatre and Portico of Pompey (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Rome)
5     The Emperor Julius Caesar on Horseback by Antonio Tempesta (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1951 (51.501.3475))
6     Julius Caesar by Marcantonio Raimondi (reproduced by permission of the Trustees of the British Museum)
7     Julius Caesar by Martino Rota (Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna)
8     Julius Caesar by Egidius Sadeler, after Titian (reproduced by permission of the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich)
9     The Triumphator Julius Caesar on his Chariot by Andrea Mantegna (copyright reserved to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth Ⅱ; Royal Collection at Hampton Court)
10    Brutus and the Ghost of Caesar by William Blake, 1806 (reproduced by permission of the Trustees of the British Museum)
11    The assassination of Julius Caesar: Her Majesty’s Theatre, 1898 (reproduced by courtesy of the Board of Trustees of the Victoria and Albert Museum)
12    ‘Grand Square in Rome’, Act 1, Scene 1: Booth’s Theatre, 1871 (reproduced by permission of the Museum of the City of New York)
13    Antony’s funeral oration. Mercury Theatre, 1937 (reproduced by permission of the Billy Rose Theatre Collection, The New York Public Library at Lincoln Center, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations)
14    The death of Brutus, Act 5, Scene 5: Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, 1957 (Angus McBean)
15    Paul Richard as Julius Caesar: Meiningen production, 1881 (reproduced by permission of the Staatliche Museen, Meiningen)
16    Sir John Gielgud as Cassius: Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, 1950 (Angus McBean)
17    Marlon Brando as Antony: film version, 1953
18    Christine Kaufmann as Portia: Deutsches Schauspielhaus, Hamburg, 1986 (Roswitha Hecke)
19    Mark Antony, Octavius and the dead Brutus before a backdrop with Caesar’s head in the 1995/6 production at the RST Stratford/Barbican London, directed by Sir Peter Hall (Donald Cooper)
20    Brutus in his orchard in 2.1 on the stage of the London New Globe, with ‘groundlings’, in the anniversary production 1999, directed by Mark Rylance (John Tramper)
21    Danny Sapani as Brutus and Toby Cockerel as Portia in 2.1 of the all-male anniversary production at the London New Globe 1999, directed by Mark Rylance (Sheila Burnett)


I am privileged to acknowledge the help I have received from students and colleagues, friends and strangers, who contributed their expertise and goodwill to this enterprise. I take pleasure in the fact that my debt is great and to many on both sides of the Atlantic.

In seminars in Münster and New Mexico (where I spent the academic year 1985–6) I was able to profit from the remarks of the prospective users of a work of this kind: the reactions of students to the necessity and nature of the Commentary. In Münster, my thanks to Sabine Ulrike Bückmann-de Villegas, Peter Hellfeuer, Michael Hiltscher, Thomas Pago, Ulrich Paul, Elisabeth Pirke, Clemens Sorgenfrey, Elke Stracke, Krishnan Venkatesh, Martin Wolny, and Angela Zatsch. In Albuquerque, to Mohamed Ali, Mary Lou Fisk, David Kreuter, Catherine Mecklenburg, Linda Oldham, and Jon Tuttle.

For help in the preparation of the manuscript in Albuquerque, I am indebted to Marta Field and K. T. Martin, for administrative encouragement to Hamlin C. Hill, and for computer support to Harry C. Broussard; in Münster, to Lydia Remke for typing and Carsten Ehmke and Bernhard Friederici for computing. Marga Munkelt, as always, provided ready solutions to many and varied scholarly problems. Special credit is due to Elisabeth Pirke, who worked on all aspects in Münster and Albuquerque, and to Sabine Ulrike Bückmann-de Villegas, who saw to all the final details as well as writing the section of the Introduction dealing with the stage history.

For the selection of illustrations, I was able to draw on the experience of J. W. Binns, Hildegard Hammerschmidt-Hummel, Fortunato Israël, Julian-Matthias Kliemann, Vera Liebert, Giorgio Melchiori, Sylvia Morris, Karl Noehles, Robert Rockman, and Robert Smallwood.

For their unfailing assistance on individual questions I thank G. Blakemore Evans, C. Walter Hodges, Helga Spevack-Husmann, Michael Steppat, and Hans-Jürgen Weckermann. Brian Gibbons read the manuscript with professional crispness and courtesy. Paul Chipchase supplied the necessary editorial consistency and concern. I am particularly grateful to John W. Velz, who went to great trouble checking the collation and making available, in countless ways, his profound knowledge of this play, and to Krishnan Venkatesh, who was a source of sensitivity, insight, and common sense all along the way.

Münster 1988

For help in finding and providing material for the updated section on recent stage interpretations, I am grateful to Gerda van den Bos, The Bremer Shakespeare Company, Donald Cooper, Ron Engle, Sylvia Morris, Jo Phillips, and John W. Velz.

Münster 2003

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