Julius Caesar is a great general of Rome, who has recently won a civil war against Pompey and returns to Rome in triumph.
He is beloved by many, almost to idolatry, and hated by some. He is somewhat old, not as physically powerful as he believes, deaf in the left ear, and subject to epileptic fits. He is also pompous and given to speaking of himself in the third person. He is hopeful that his wife’s barrenness may be cured during the Feast of Lupercal. A good leader of men, he has good instincts about them that he does not always listen to. He refuses to be crowned king when the crowd approves his refusal, despite an evident desire to accept the crown. He is swayed by his wife’s fears for a time, but the thought of receiving a crown, and appeals to his vanity – such as the thought that he might be considered a coward – convince him to go to the Capitol in spite of Calpurnia’s premonitions. He plays the role of Caesar to the hilt, insisting on his constancy, equanimity, and refusal to budge. He does not notice how he is surrounded when the conspirators kneel to prevent him from fleeing, and is shocked that Brutus is among the men stabbing him. He returns as a Ghost to warn Brutus that they will meet again at Philippi. Brutus takes his second appearance as a sign that his time is come.