Julius Caesar

Act 1

After seeing the public celebrating Caesar's triumph, what do Flavius and Murellus do? Why do they respond this way?


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Two Roman tribunes, Flavius and Murellus, see the common people parading in the streets instead of working in their shops. They demand to know why the men are not working. A cobbler informs them that the people are celebrating Caesar's victory. Murellus is infuriated by this information, and calls the workers, "you blocks, you stones" (1.1.34). He then tells them that Caesar has not defeated an enemy, but rather that Ceasar has killed the sons of Pompey the Great. Pompey previously ruled Rome along with Caesar until their alliance fell apart, at which point they went to battle over the right to rule.


Julius Caesar opens with the tribunes of the people chastising the plebeians for being fickle. They refer to the masses as "You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!"(1.1.34). This imagery of the masses as stones will continue throughout the play. They are in fact a fickle group of people, easily swayed by whoever is speaking to them, as evidenced later in the play when Antony turns a hostile crowd into a mob against Brutus and Cassius.