Julius Caesar


The story of Julius Caesar?s assassination has been told both historically and fictionally. Historical sources focus on the facts of the assassination, while fictionary works focus more on the characters and the drama of the story. Because of the different purposes of the sources, there are many differences between the historical and fictional stories. William Shakespeare?s Julius Caesar adds certain details and dramatic elements to make the story more interesting and to make the play more enjoyable. Historical sources such as Roger Bruns?s Caesar and Manuel Komroff?s Julius Caesar present an more accurate account of the events that occurred on and around the Ides of March. There are however, because all of the sources are telling the same story, even more similarities. Reading all of the sources can give a reader an understanding of not only what really happened and why, but also what the people involved were probably like.

The time before Caesar?s death has many differences in how events happened rather than if events happened. Both historical accounts record that Caesar had recently returned from a long military campaign that sent him to the far reaches of the Roman Empire. Shakespeare?s account tells of a recent victory over Pompey but does not say that Caesar returned from a massive campaign. In Komroff?s account, The conspirators had planned for much longer than the other authors recorded. Komroff wrote that the conspirators convinced the Senate to offer Caesar the crown. The conspirators then placed a crown on a statue of Caesar that was quickly torn down by Caesar?s friends. "Then, a few days later, as he was riding through the streets of Rome, a crowd of people who had been led on by the Aristocrats hailed him as King" (Komroff 161-162). The final offer of the crown occurred before a large crowd of Romans, when a crown was placed on Caesar?s head he took it off and said "The Romans have no kings but their gods" (Komroff 162). Caesar refused the title every time because he knew that the second he did, the people would turn against him. Caesar also knew that the conspirators were behind these offers and was not about to play right into their hands. In both Shakespeare?s and Bruns?s works, Mark Antony was the one who offered the crown to Caesar. He did not do it to harm Caesar but out of respect for Caesar. The Number of conspirators is the same in both historical works. Both say that at least sixty men were involved in the conspiracy, most of them senate members. Shakespeare?s work says that only about eight men were part of the conspiracy, probably to cut down on the number of actors for the play. While there are many differences in the time before Caesar?s death, there are just as many similarities.

All three sources agree that Caesar fought and killed Pompey. Some of the senators were alarmed at this because Pompey was a Roman and they questioned Caesar?s honor. Upon Caesar?s return from battle, many celebrations were held. In Bruns?s account, a series of "triumphs" or extravagant celebrations were held in Caesar?s honor, one for each of his triumphs. In Shakespeare?s account, a large celebration was held in Rome in Caesar?s honor. The motive for killing Caesar is similar in all three accounts. The conspirators were afraid that Caesar was "ambitious," that he wanted to become king. The conspirators feared a monarchy because they did not want a heir to gain the throne, they wanted to maintain a republic where leaders were voted into office. Many of the conspirators did not trust Caesar, "Yet, Caesar still provoked in many deep resentment and distrust" (Bruns 102). Because Caesar was a leader of the people, the conspirators, who were of the aristocratic class, "hoped to regain control of the government" (Komroff 163). All of the sources also agree on when Caesar was killed. He was killed on March 15, the Ides of March.

In the time that Caesar was killed many details are different in the two types of accounts. In the historical account of Komroff, The conspirators crowded around Caesar when he was seated at the head of the Senate. The conspirators engaged in conversation with Caesar, "They talked freely together. Some had favors to ask. Others had stories to tell" (Komroff 166). Then the conspirators began to carry out the fatal stage of