Julius Caesar was an important figure in the history of Rome,
because he helped to bring about the end of the Roman Republic.
For 450 years, Roman had not been ruled by a single person
but instead had elected officials,
元老院 部族会议 三权分立
a Senate, a system of checks and balances,
and a political system that
kept one person from having all the power.
Julius Caesar was a successful general
who conquered territories outside of Rome
and helped to turn Rome into a large empire.
He became such a powerful figure that
after defeating his political rivals,
he took on a role of dictator,
so that he picked all the candidates for the Senate
and decided personally which laws would be passed.
He didn’t have a title such as King or Emperor,
and Rome was technically still a Republic,
but wasn’t working like one any more.
It had become a permanent dictatorship.
Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C..
He was stabbed by a group of senators
as he was on his way to the Senate.
行刺者宣称 杀了凯撒 是为了让罗马重新变成共和国
The assassin said they were killing him to bring back the Republic.
Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar”
isn’t about Julius Caesar the character,
so much it is about the assassination,
and what happened afterward.
The two people responsible
for the assassination are Cassius and Brutus.
Cassius’s motive was pretty simple.
He hates Caesar, because Caesar doesn’t like him.
He resents Caesar’s power,
so his motive is personal.
但是他知道 刺杀凯撒后 唯一可以逃脱的办法就是
But he knows he can only get away with killing Caesar
if he can get enough people to believe that
the assassination is for the good of Rome.
In order for that to happen,
he needs his brother-in-law Brutus.
Brutus is an essential figure in the play.
He is from an old and famous family,
and he has a reputation for being noble.
事实上 400多年前 他的一位祖先
In fact, one of his ancestors, 400 hundred eariler,
was responsible for overthrowing the last King of Rome,
and founding the Roman Republic in the first place.
So it’s partly Brutus’s family name that is important.
With Brutus’s help, it’s easier for the conspirators
to say the assassination was for the good of the Republic.
Another reason Cassius needs Brutus
is that Caesar loves Brutus.
Brutus and Caesar are friends,
while Cassius is obviously not Caesar’s friend.
So if Brutus’s the leader,
it won’t look like he’s doing it for personal motives.
At the beginning of the play,
crowds of people are in the streets celebrating,
because Caesar has returned from beating his rival Pompey in a civil war.
Two of the elected officials Flavius and Marellas
go around driving these people off the streets
and removing decorations from the statues.
他们对群众说：“看吧 凯撒回来了 可他并不是征服了一个外族入侵的敌人
What they say to people was “Look, Caesar didn’t come back for conquering a foreign enemy,
he just beat Pompey, another Roman leader,
so he can be the dictator.
What is to celebrate about that?”
之后我们看到 由于这件事 凯撒将他们赶出了元老院
Later we find out that Caesar has them removed from office for doing this.
Next we see Caesar and his followers
on their way to a celebration and a footrace.
Whenever we see Caesar, he seems very arrogant.
He gives orders to those around him,
and speaks about himself as if he’s invincible.
凯撒的妻子 卡尔普尼亚 陪在他的身旁
Calpurnia, Caesar’s wife, is with him here.
马克·安东尼 凯撒最忠实的支持者 也在身旁
So is Mark Antony, Caesar’s most loyal supporter.
马克·安东尼喜欢竞赛 运动 聚会和喝酒
Mark Antony loves games, sports, parties and drinking.
Caesar trusts Mark Antony,
because he thinks someone like that who enjoys life is
less likely to threaten him than someone
而不像卡西乌斯 整天就在那沉思 不知道在想什么
who is always brooding and thinking, like Cassius.
Cassius makes Brutus hang back from this crowd,
so he can try and convince Brutus that
a lot of people in Rome think Brutus is just as good as Caesar,
and wish he would stand up and challenge Caesar’s power.
This is a lie.
Cassius is just trying to manipulate Brutus.
Later Cassius even throws rocks
with notes attached through Brutus’s window,
and leaves notes on his chair in the Senate.
So Brutus will think multiple people are trying to get him to stand up to Caesar.
Brutus agrees to be part of a conspiracy against Caesar and
the rest of the conspirators gather in his house late at night.
We can tell two things about Brutus already.
第一 他是个空想主义者 第二 他是个傻瓜
One, he’s idealistic, and two, he’s a fool.
A series of dramatic events occurs leading up to the assassination.
A soothsayer, a fortune teller, warned Caesar
to “beware the Ides of March” the day he actually does die.
That’s March fifteen.
A massive thunderstorm moves over Rome,
with so much lightening it seems to be raining fire.
People see a lion in the Capital building,
and another see the lion giving birth.
Brutus’s wife, Portia tries to convince him to
告诉她 他正在做什么 毕竟她是他的妻子
tell her what he’s up to since she’s his wife.
He almost does but gets distracted at the last minute.
Calpurnia has a dream in which Caesar is spouting blood from many wounds.
She tries to convince him not to
go to the Senate that day, and he agrees.
but one of the conspirators Decius convinces him
he’ll look weak if he doesn’t go.
A man named Arterm Odorous gives Caesar a paper telling him about the plot,
but he can’t get Caesar to read it.
All of these events suggest two different interpretations.
The first is that even though all of these things
might have stopped the assassination,
it’s as if there are higher powers
that are moving events towards Caesar’s murder, meaning its fate.
The second interpretation is
that Caesar could have avoided being killed,
his fate wasn’t predetermined,
but his arrogance caused him to ignore all these warning signs,
so his death was his own fault.
The way the assassination occurs is
that Caesar is on his way to the Senate,
together with a crowd of the people
including the conspirators who are going to the Senate too
because they’re Senators.
Before they get there, a conspirator named Metellus gets down on his knees
and asks Caesar to bring back his brother whom Caesar banished.
Caesar refuses it, and Brutus and the others
crowd around Caesar and kneel,
then they all stab Caesar one after the other,
starting with the senator named Casca, and ending with Brutus.
凯撒大喊：“At tu Brute”
Caesar says “At tu Brute”,
意思是：“布里特斯 居然你也” 然后就死了
meaning “you too Brutus”, and then dies.
The populace goes wild as the news spreads.
Mark Antony first runs away,
but then sends a servant to ask
if he can safely come and ask them the reasons for the assassination.
Cassius and the other conspirators
all want to kill Mark Antony too,
but Brutus says “no,
that will seem too violent,
now that Caesar is dead,
Mark Antony won’t stay loyal to him.”
This is a big mistake.
Mark Antony asks for permission to speak at Caesar’s funeral,
again Cassius and the others say “no way”.
But Brutus says to let him,
as long as he doesn’t say anything bad about them,
and if he’s doing it with their permission nothing can happen.
This is another big mistake.
Brutus gives a speech explaining that
he loved Caesar, but Caesar was ambitious,
meaning he wanted to be a King.
And so Brutus killed him because he loved Rome more,
The populace like the speech.
Then Antony speaks.
He says he’s not going to criticize the conspirators,
but he reminds them how much Caesar did for them,
and how he offered Caesar a crown and Caesar refused.
Then he shows them Caesar’s cloak
and all of the holes stabbed through it,
pointing out how Caesar loved Brutus
and trusted the others who turned on him.
He also read them the Caesar’s will,
in which Caesar left a huge amount of property to the people of Rome.
The crowd goes wild,
and decides to burn the houses of the conspirators.
Mob rule ensues and
Brutus and Cassius flee for their lives.
Three people take over in Rome,
Antony, Julius Caesar’s nephew Octavius and Lepidus.
They raise armies to fight Cassius and Brutus,
and make lists of people to be killed,
because they support Brutus.
Cassius and Brutus each lead an army
as they fight a civil war against Antony, Octavius and Lepidus.
The next time we see them,
they are meeting together with their armies,
and they get in a big fight in their tent.
Brutus criticizes Cassius harshly for taking bribes,
and then he criticizes him for
not sending Brutus money to pay his own soldiers,
because Brutus is too pure to take bribes himself.
They eventually make up and become friends again.
But once again we can see that
布里特斯的理想主义 判断力差 都是致命弱点
Brutus’s idealism and poor judgement are big weaknesses.
He absolutely needs Cassius to win this war,
so it’s foolish for him to
criticize Cassius for what he does.
And he’s hypocritical, he needs money too
but he won’t do what he needs to do to raise it.
Brutus wants them to take the armies
to fight Antony and Octavius at Philippi.
Cassius points out some flaws in this plan,
but Brutus insists.
Caesar’s ghost appears to Brutus that night,
telling Brutus he’ll see him at Philippi.
The armies meet and have a battle.
Antony’s army defeats Cassius’s army,
but Brutus’s army defeats Octavius’s.
Cassius sends his friend Tetinniest to investigate,
and he thinks he sees Tetinniest being captured,
even though Tetinniest actually meet friendly soldiers,
but Cassius commits suicide
because he thinks he sent his best friend to be captured.
The armies fight again,
and this time Brutus loses.
Before he can be captured,
he kills himself by running on to his sword
while one of the soldiers Strado holds it.
When Antony discovers Brutus’s body,
he says that he was the noblest Roman of all.
For more information about Julius Caesar,
请登录www.sparknotes.com搜索Julius Caesar SparkNote
check out the Julius Caesar SparkNote on www.sparknotes.com.
For a translation of the entire play into modern English,
请登录nfs.sparknotes.com搜索No Fear Shakespeare
go to No Fear Shakespeare at nfs.sparknotes.com.