The Ides of March - fact or fiction?
The Ides of March which falls on March 15 is only an invention of
William Shakespeare to rid Caesar from his tragedy but its impact is so
great and chilling that people believe it to be true.
And yet to dramatic element in Julius Caesar is electrifying even to
this day - March 15.
Let's recollect the impending disaster through the eyes of the master
Thunder and lightning ....
'Yet, now they fright me, There is one within
Besides the things that we have heard and seen
Recounts most horrid sights seen by the watch.
A liones hath whelped in the streets.
And graves have yawn'd and yielded up their dead.
Fierce fiery warriors fight upon the clouds.
In ranks and squadrons and right form of war
Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol ........
ACT 11 Scene. 1
However, the streets of Rome were overflowing with rejoicing citizens
for the feast of Lupercal.
This scene is re-enacted annually to honour the foundings of Rome.
And they had another reason to celebrate; to honour the return of Julius
Caesar from the battle-field after defeating his enemy, Pompey the
‘Et tu Brute?
As Caesar walked passed the trumpeting of music and loud drumming, he
heard someone call him.
The great leader paused to hear a soothsayer warn him about the day
'Beware of the Ides of March' he told Caesar but he scoffed at the
warning and dismissed him saying:
'He is a dreamer. Let us leave him'
As the royal procession moved on, two Roman noblemen lingered behind
to plot. One was Brutus and the other, Cassius who feared Caesar. They
both agreed Caesar was ambitious and secretly planned to become the king
and Emperor of Rome. They would have nothing of its kind and decided to
prevent Caesar from doing so.
'Why man, he hath bestride the narrow world,
Like a Colossus ... and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about.
To find ourselves dishonourable gravees'...
ACT. 1 Scene 11
Brutus was reluctant to discuss Caesar with Cassius when they heard
the cries of praise for Caesar and agreed he had become powerful
'O' he sits high in all people's hearts
And that which would appear offence in us.
His countenance, like richest alchemy
Will change to virtue and to worthiness'...
ACT. 1 Scene. 11
However, they hatch a conspiracy to rid Caesar of power as he has
become a threat to Rome. Caesar must be killed, they agree.
In the meantime, Portia, Brutus's wife takes him to task, suspecting
all is not well with her husband who is sullen. But Brutus has already
made up his mind and asks his servant boy to check the date and is
informed it to be the dawn of the Ides of March.
That night Calpurnia has had a bad dream. She dreamed that Caesar's
statue was pouring with blood. She begs Caesar not to go to the Capitol.
First, he agrees but later decides to go driven with ambition. He
admonishes Calpurnia and tells her
'Cowards die many a time before their deaths,
The valient never never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders I have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear
Seeing that death, a necessary end.
Will come when it comes'...
ACT. 11 Scene 11
Caesar enters the Capitol in all glory and triumph and insists midst,
the soothsayer tries to warn him of the impending assassination. 'The
Ides of March 'hath come he tells the emperor and Caesar replies 'But
Inside the Capitol, he was greeted by the conspirators who surrounds
him and together plunge their daggers to his heart. Caesar, overcome by
his wounds and at the sight of his beloved Brutus in the act, yields to
'Et tu Brute?. Then fall, Caesar.
ACT. 111 Scene. 1
Even to date, Rome believes March 15 to be the blackest day in their
calendar and refrain from participating in events, celebrations, travel,