Julius Caesar was most likely the first play performed at the Globe Theater . Shakespeare wrote the play around 1599, just after he had completed a series of English political histories. Like the history plays, Julius Caesar gives voice to some late-16th-century English political concerns. When Shakespeare wrote Caesar , it was pretty obvious that the 66-year-old Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) wasn't going to produce an heir to the throne, and her subjects were stressed out about what would happen upon the monarch's death. Would chaos ensue when Elizabeth died? Who would take the queen's place? Would the next monarch be a fit ruler or a tyrant? In other words, Julius Caesar asks its audience to think about the parallels between ancient Roman history and contemporary politics. Clever, huh?
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Shakespeare never intended the play to be historically accurate. In fact, he clearly expected the actors to appear in Elizabethan dress. Furthermore, he gives Rome the medieval invention of the mechanical clock, a notorious anachronism. However, Shakespeare's Romans share a distinct cultural heritage and society, including Roman society's implicit ideals and assumptions. When Antony calls Brutus, "the noblest of the Romans," he is referring to the specific "Roman" virtue, associated with the Republican government Brutus dies defending. The protagonists in the plot are never able to overcome the pressure of the Roman values, and thus are not completely free to invent themselves, relying instead on the cultural values provided.