A Tragic Hero

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A tragic hero is defined as a person of high social rank, who has a tragic flaw or flaws that lead to their downfall. These heroes’ downfalls are usually either complete ruin or death. Tragic heroes face their downfall with courage and dignity. While many characters in Julius Caesar could fit these conditions, the person who fits the role of a tragic hero the best is Marcus Brutus. Brutus develops into a tragic hero throughout the play, and this is shown though his qualifications of a tragic hero, his high status, his tragic flaws, and his courage in the face of his death. Brutus has high social status in Rome. Brutus is a senator, and a popular one at that. Cassius says that “many of the best respect in Rome... have wished that noble Brutus had his eyes” (1103). Many people look up to Brutus, and wish he would help with their problems. Brutus has enough social status and wealth to hire six servants (1097). Brutus’s wife, Portia, is “Cato’s daughter”, a highly respected man (1124). IT would take someone of high status to marry a daughter of Cato’s. Portia asks if Brutus thinks she is “no stronger than [her] sex, being so fathered and so husbanded” (1124). This implies that Brutus is a man on a near caliber to that of her father. Even after Brutus is run out of Rome, he keeps his high status by becoming a general. One of the qualities of being a tragic hero is high social status, and Brutus has this quality. Brutus has several tragic flaws. One of these tragic flaws is how he trusts people a lot. Brutus says that he “know[s] that we shall have [Antony] well to a friend” (1140). He trusts Antony will be a friend of the conspirators, yet he seems to not realize that Antony is obliviously against them, because they killed his friend. Brutus trusts Antony so much, that he lets Antony speak to the public alone. Antony turns the people against Brutus and the conspirators, leading to the wars where Brutus takes his own life. Brutus also receives letters, supposedly from the people of Rome. As he reads the letter out loud, Brutus remarks “‘Speak, strike, redress!’ Am I entreated to speak and strike? O Rome, I make thee promise, if thy redress will follow, thy receivest thy full petition at the hand of Brutus” (1118).

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