The literary significance of Ides of March

What is Ides of March?

The day is considered to be pivotal in Roman history as the death of Caesar contributed to the transition from the historical period known as the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire. (Source: Wikipedia)

Ides of March has assumed much cultural significance. The date corresponds with March 15 and on this day, Roman ruler Julius Caesar was assassinated. The day is considered to be pivotal in Roman history as the death of Caesar contributed to the transition from the historical period known as the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire.

Later, William Shakespeare, in his play Julius Caesar, wrote about the Ides of March when the Roman emperor was stabbed in his back by a group of 60 senators, including Brutus, Cassius and the likes. It was the culmination of a conspiracy hatched by Cassius and later aided and supported by Brutus. Caesar was in fact warned by a soothsayer to beware of the Ides of March. In the play, moments before entering Theatre of Pompey, where he was eventually assassinated, Caesar had passed by the soothsayer and told him: “The Ides of March are come”, meaning that the prophecy had not been fulfilled. To this, the seer had retorted “Aye, Caesar; but not gone.”

As it turned out, his prophesy did come true and Caesar was killed. For years, those who have read and studied the play, Ides of March has assumed several connotations, most importantly being that of betrayal. In fact, one of the most celebrated moments from Shakespeare's play was of Caesar exclaiming in shock and remorse, "Et tu, Brute? Then fall Caesar". He had said that when he saw his dear friend Brutus too as part of the co-conspirators. Seeing Brutus betray and stab him with the rest, Caesar accepted his fate -- "Then fall Caesar".