Julius Caesar, triumphant at the end of a long war, returns to Rome and receives a celebratory welcome. But fear of the citizens' unchecked devotion to Caesar pushes many of his closest friends to wonder how far populist support will take him. Those who fear tyranny and enslavement find themselves at odds with neighbors who want security. The whole city becomes embroiled in the controversy. After Caesar's fateful assassination on the Ides of March, Marc Antony's prophecy comes to pass: "Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge, / With Ate by his side come hot from hell, / Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice / Cry 'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war."
In Julius Caesar, audiences see how easy it is for well-intentioned patriots to let disagreement explode into bloody civil war.