Julius Caesar is a tragedy by William Shakespeare,
believed to have been written in 1599. It portrays the conspiracy
against the Roman dictator of the same name, his assassination
and its aftermath. It is one of several Roman plays that he wrote,
based on true events from Roman history, which also include Coriolanus
and Antony and Cleopatra.
Although the title of the play is Julius Caesar,
Caesar is not the central character in its action; he appears
in only three scenes, and is killed at the beginning of the third
act. The protagonist of the play is Marcus Brutus, and the central
psychological drama is his struggle between the conflicting demands
of honour, patriotism, and friendship.
The play reflected the general anxiety of England
over succession of leadership. At the time of its creation and
first performance, Queen Elizabeth, a strong ruler, was elderly
and had refused to name a successor, leading to worries that a
civil war similar to that of Rome might break out after her death.