In The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare, Brutus is the quintessence of a tragic hero. Webster’s Dictionary defines tragic hero as “Any person, especially a man, admired for courage, nobility etc. … in a serious play with an unhappy ending” (277-626). This verbatim definition, however, is useless in an analytical essay. The idea of a tragic hero comes from Aristotle, who thought a tragic hero involved a character of high standing suffering a downfall caused by one or two character flaws. In this story Brutus is a trusted friend of Caesar, but from a series of poor choices he betrays that trust by assisting in Caesar’s assassination, even delivering the death blow. Brutus realizes the error of his ways in his last moments, and the audience feels sympathy for this renegade protagonist. The specific sets of attributes that define a tragic hero (character flaw, downfall, moment of clarity etc.) culminate in Brutus, who Shakespeare used to send a clear message about people.
A tragic hero’s characterization should not be a disastrous assortment of social ailments; he or she should be a good person with a single imperfection. In Julius Caesar Brutus has poor reasoning skills. When asked if he would want Caesar to be king, he replies, “I would not, yet I love him well” (Shakespeare 892). Caesar is a demanding character, even around his friends, so it can be assumed that Brutus is regularly influenced by Caesar. Contrarily, Brutus does not wish the people to be victim of Caesar’s will. Brutus justifies murder of his friend by claiming, “Therefore think of him as a serpent’s egg/ Which hatched, would grow as his kind grow mischievous/ And kill him in the shell” (Shakespeare 911). Bru...
... middle of paper ...
... not only make him appear kind and noble; he would seem to be such an ideal citizen that most men would not meet those standards. Brutus’ ultimate downfall by one or two negative traits would have shocked the intended audience and perhaps affected how they viewed themselves, making Brutus a very effective character.
Shakespeare created a slightly flawed character have a moment of clarity followed by a violent death, and he did this to notify the public of a major problem with his day’s ethics. The noble Brutus was destroyed by a handful of minute details in his own character. This alarming message is the reason this play is still studied.
"Hero." Def. 5b. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989.
Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar. Austin: Holt, 2007.
"Tragedy." Def. 5b. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Like Aristotle had once said about tragedy, it is “the imitation of an action that is serious and also, as having magnitude, complete in itself; in appropriate and pleasurable language; … in a dramatic rather than narrative form; with incidents arousing pity and fear, where with to accomplish a catharsis of these emotions. A tragedy, therefore, is a kind of lie (“imitation”) that tells a certain truth about human nature and the self. Classical tragic heroes possess hamartia or a tragic flaw, such as hubris, that often lead to the character’s own downfall; and according to Aristotle, "A man cannot become a hero until he can see the root of his own downfall." The protagonist must not only poss... [tags: Tragic hero, Tragedy, Poetics]
1295 words (3.7 pages)
- Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, characterizes plays or stories where the main character is a tragic hero, who confronts his downfall due to fate, his mistake or any other social reason as tragedies. In the novel “One foot in Eden” novel, set in the 1950s in Jocassee, a town in South Carolina, Rash tells the story of a local military veteran who suddenly disappears and the people who are involved in the case. Rather than follow the basic fiction formula of moving the plot in a straight line, Rash repeatedly switches the narration to give the story more depth.... [tags: Tragic hero, Tragedy, Mother, Hamartia]
1404 words (4 pages)
- ... Common men experience the dreaded feeling of comparing oneself to those who they are surrounded by, Willy is no exception as he is a common man. Willy can often be seen comparing himself to other successful people, such as his older brother Ben a successful businessman. It is especially apparent that Willy compares parenting of his eldest son Biff to Charley 's son Bernard when he asks Charley: “And you never told [Bernard] what to do, did you?”( Death of a Salesman 1255). Willy asks this as he learns that Bernard has reached success in his life and is on his way to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court.... [tags: Tragedy, Tragic hero, Poetics]
855 words (2.4 pages)
- An Aristotelian’s tragic hero is a person of nobility who is ill-fated by a defect - seemingly intertwined with attributes that make him/her prosperous - in his/her character. Usually the protagonist, a tragic hero is commended for his/her honorable traits and is depicted to be the victim in most works of literature. In Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, the traditional portrayal of a tragic hero is defied: in lieu of being the victim, the tragic hero becomes the culprit of the play. By instilling the antagonist, King Claudius, with honorable qualities like that of a tragic hero, Shakespeare demonstrates that a person is never at the extreme ends of the moral spectrum but rather at the center:... [tags: hamlet, shakespeare, tragic hero]
1362 words (3.9 pages)
- Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most well known plays. Shakespeare enjoyed writing a variety of play types, like comedies and tragedies. Shakespeare liked how tragedies could make the audience feel emotions towards the character while learning a lesson about life. Tragedies contain a tragic hero, who experiences a downfall, and a tragic flaw in the hero, which causes the downfall to occur. The main character in the play Macbeth, is a man named Macbeth, who nobly represents the king of Scotland until he meets three witches.... [tags: Macbeth, Tragic hero, Macbeth]
1055 words (3 pages)
- In the Greek play Antigone by Sophocles is very different from traditional plays or tragedies. Not only does the play have two prominent characters, Antigone and King Creon, the two characters also function as a tragic hero. However, which of the two character is the real tragic hero. Antigone’s tragedy is from conflict and passion. To really understand which of the two character is the ‘real’ tragic hero, one must understand the definition of a tragic hero. According to Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero, a tragic hero must be born from a high social class and his or her downfall must be caused by a fatal flaw of that character.... [tags: Tragedy, Sophocles, Poetics, Tragic hero]
826 words (2.4 pages)
- In Sophocle’s play Antigone, Creon fits all the traits of a tragic hero according to Aristotle’s definition. A tragic hero is a literary character who judges wrongly which creates his or her own downfall. Creon is the new king of Thebes and he will not allow any criminal activity, not even from his family. When Creon’s niece Antigone decides to go against Creon’s law he punishes her by burying her alive in a tomb; by doing so Creon is creating a recipe for disaster. Creon does not realize who else it will affect by putting Antigone to death, nor does he understand that he in turn paved the road to his own downfall.... [tags: Poetics, Tragic hero, Oedipus, Anagnorisis]
711 words (2 pages)
- The Stock Tragic Hero: Oedipus We’ve discussed in class the qualities of a “tragic hero”. Illustrate that either Oedipus or Creon satisfies the requirements to meet the definition. Oedipus Rex, the ignorant king, a character created for the very purpose of being the epitome of a tragic hero. Bound and kicked out of his homeland as an infant; a force he could not control, driving his fate, taking away his free will. The character of Oedipus created by Sophocles around 430 BCE is the precedent for all tragic heroes created in the time after Oedipus’s sinful conception.... [tags: Oedipus, Tragic hero, Tragedy, Sophocles]
1427 words (4.1 pages)
- In the words of Aristotle, a character must possess four key components in order to make them a tragic hero. First, the character must show his good intentions by any speech or action. In Aristotle’s words, “The character will be good if the purpose is good.” (Aristotle) The second component the character must possess is propriety. Propriety simply means the conformity to what is socially acceptable in behavior or speech. The third component is the character must be true to life. The character acts out of probability and necessity, and not just because of some random traits bestowed upon the hero.... [tags: Poetics, Tragic hero, Tragedy, Character]
707 words (2 pages)
- Many things can describe a tragedy. However, according to definition of a tragedy by Aristotle, there are only five. The play has to have a tragic hero, preferably of noble stature. Second, the tragic hero must have a tragic flaw. Because of that flaw, the hero falls from either power or death. Due to the fall, the tragic hero discovers something. Finally, there must be catharsis in the minds of the audience. It fits all the characteristics as defined by Aristotle. The tragic hero of a play is a man of some social standing and personal reputation, but sufficiently like ourselves in terms of his weaknesses that we feel fear and pity when a tragic flaw, rather than an associate, causes his dow... [tags: Sophocles, Tragedy, Tragic hero, Poetics]
1771 words (5.1 pages)