Casca in Julius Caesar

Instructor: Margaret Stone

Margaret has taught both college and high school English and has a master's degree in English.

Casca is a memorable character in William Shakespeare's 'Julius Caesar' because he witnesses the spectacle in the streets when Caesar returns to Rome from a victorious battle. Casca knows that Caesar is ambitious and that his refusal of the crown is a sham. This lesson will show Casca's unique perspective of the tragedy that befalls Caesar.

Caesar's Glorious Return

When Julius Caesar enters Rome, victorious from battle, the citizens crowd the streets to join the celebration. Cassius and Brutus are having a quiet conversation away from the crowd until they are interrupted by shouting. Both men are concerned at the noise, fearing it may mean the citizens have chosen Caesar to be king.

Casca's Report

Brutus and Cassius pull Casca aside. Casca has been in the midst of the cheering throng, and the two men hope he can tell them why the crowd has cried out. Casca reports that Caesar has been offered the crown three times, but he has refused it each time Antony has offered it. 'Then he offered it to him again; then he put it by again: but, to my thinking, he was very loath to lay his fingers off it.'

Casca believes that Caesar's refusal of the crown is an act. He believes Caesar wants to be king, but he does not want the crowd to know of his ambitions. Casca indicates what he thinks of the mob, so easily swayed by Caesar's dog and pony show.

Casca says, 'still as he/refused it, the rabblement hooted and clapped their/chapped hands and threw up their sweaty night-caps/and uttered such a deal of stinking breath because/Caesar refused the crown that it had almost choked/Caesar; for he swounded and fell down at it: and/for mine own part, I durst not laugh, for fear of/opening my lips and receiving the bad air.' It is ironic that Casca views the Roman citizens as sheep since he is a follower himself.

Stranger still, Casca says, 'He fell down in the market-place, and foamed at mouth, and was speechless.' Brutus thinks this fainting spell may indicate that Caesar has epilepsy or some other ailment.


Casca meets Cassius in the street the following night, and the two again discuss Caesar. Casca reveals a rumor he has heard to Cassius. 'Indeed,' Casca says, 'they say the senators tomorrow/Mean to establish Caesar as a king.' Cassius says he will kill himself rather than live under a tyrant's rule, and Casca agrees. Cassius lays the blame for the situation on the citizens who are so easily fooled by Caesar's showmanship. If they weren't 'sheep', Cassius says, then Caesar could not so easily lead them.

Casca joins the conspirators later at Brutus' home, where the group hatches a plan to kill Caesar.

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