Julius Caesar Act 1 Scene 3 Summary

Instructor: Tommi Waters

TK Waters has been an adjunct professor of religion at Western Kentucky University for six years. They have a master's degree in religious studies from Western Kentucky University and a bachelor's degree in English literature and religious studies from Western Kentucky University.

In this lesson, we will explore the plot of Act 1, Scene 3 of Julius Caesar where we learn more about the ominous events surrounding Caesar's rise to power and the conspiracy developing against him.

Bad Omens

Act 1, Scene 3 of Julius Caesar opens with storms, and Cicero and a terrified Casca enter the stage. Casca, one of Caesar's tribunes (military officers and political leaders), claims that he has experienced bad storms before and says: ''But never till to-night, never till now, / Did I go through a tempest dropping fire.'' Casca explains to Cicero several odd things he saw on his way home: a slave boy whose hand caught on fire by a torch, but remained unburned; a lion at the Capitol; women with visions of men walking on fire; and owls during the daytime. Casca claims that these are bad omens, warnings of something bad to come, and thinks the gods are angry at humanity.

After Cicero departs, learning from Casca that Caesar will be at the Capitol the next day, Cassius enters, merely walking through the storms. Cassius suggests that the omens are signs from the gods of ''some monstrous state'': the Rome that Caesar is trying to establish. He uses the weather to draw a comparison to Caesar, saying he is ''Most like this dreadful night, / That thunders, lightens, opens graves, and roars / As doth the lion in the Capitol.'' Cassius explains to Casca that despite Caesar's popularity, he is only human and on their level and should be replaced by someone who has a clear vision for the ''true'' Rome.

Brutus: A True Roman

A Roman denarius with the figure of Caius Cassius
A Roman denarius with the figure of Caius Cassius

Cassius' admonition of Caesar leads Casca to join his cause. Cassius explains that he has already recruited many high-ranking Romans for their conspiracy. They both recognize that they need Brutus to join their conspiracy in order for it to be successful because he is liked by the people of Rome.

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