William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) was a marvelous English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His extant works, including some collaborations consisting of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, of which the authorship of some is uncertain. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. Julius Caesar is a highly successful but ambitious political leader of Rome and his goal is to become an unassailable dictator. Caesar is warned that he must "beware the Ides of March". The prophecy comes true and Caesar is assassinated. Marcus Brutus is a well respected Roman senator who helps plan and carries out Caesar's assassination which he believes will rid Rome of a tyrant. Caesar's friend Mark Antony provides the famous funeral oration ("Friends, Romans, and countrymen…") Brutus and Cassius meet their inevitable defeat. Brutus, the noble Roman, whose decision to take part in the conspiracy for the sake of freedom, plunges his country into civil war.