A Comparison of Shakespeare’s Marcus Brutus to Other Tragic Heroes Essay

A Comparison of Shakespeare’s Marcus Brutus to Other Tragic Heroes Essay

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The tragic hero is one of literatures most used (and sometimes abused) characters. The classical definition of a tragic hero is, “a person with heroic or potentially heroic qualities. The person is doomed by the Gods or some other supernatural force to destruction or suffering. The hero struggles against the fate, but due to a personal flaw, ultimately fails in the battle against fate. It is my personal opinion that Brutus,as he is portrayed in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, is a tragic hero by this definition. I came to this conclusion due to the fact that Brutus shares many similarities with other tragic heroes in literature such as Oedipus, Hamlet, and Ralph from Lord of the Flies. All four characters share the two critical traits that are needed to be tragic heroes: a tragic flaw that eventually leads to a tragic downfall. The tragic hero was defined by Aristotle, yet the “invention” of the tragic hero goes to Sophocles.
Sophocles’ tragedy, Oedipus, made the tragic hero. In the play, a prophecy comes along that says the namesake character Oedipus will kill his father and impregnate his mother. Oedipus tries to avoid doing these things (which ironically makes Oedipus the only person without an Oedipus complex, but that’s besides the point). One day an old man tries to run Oedipus off the road with his chariot and in response, Oedipus kills him. Later, Oedipus solves the Riddle of the Sphinx (here’s a hint, its man), saving the city of Thebes. Oedipus in return is crowned king and receives the widowed queen as his bride. Everything is now just swell, until a mysterious plague comes over Thebes. Oedipus consults an oracle who says that the plague will continue until the murderer of the previous king is brought to justice. Oedipus ...


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... present in all eras of literature. The tragic hero has been present almost as long. Hamlet, Oedipus, and Ralph all are tragic heroes. If this is true, then I feel it is safe to say that Brutus is a tragic hero as well. He shares many character qualities with the other tragic heroes. So, if we say that Brutus is a tragic hero, then we are once again at that same question: “What is his tragic flaw?” I would say that Brutus’s tragic flaw is his pride. He is too proud as a Roman to let Caesar take control of the empire, too proud to let Antony be killed, and too proud to be taken prisoner. It is because of this pride that he takes his own life, finishing the tragedy. Brutus leads the action in the play. Brutus causes the play. Brutus dies to end the play. Brutus is absolutely a tragic hero.




Works Cited
Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. N.d. Print.

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