Brutus: Tragic Hero in "Julius Caesar"

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The Tragedy of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare centers on Caesar, a Roman dictator, and his demise in 44 B.C. Brutus, along with seven other conspirators, assassinate Caesar to prevent him from becoming king. The Romans then wage war with these conspirators, and all eight are either murdered, or commit suicide. At this point in the play, the audience realizes who the tragic hero is. A tragic hero is a character in a high social standing who causes his/her own downfall. The hero becomes enlightened of his/her mistakes, which causes the reader to feel sympathy for this person. Therefore, Brutus can be characterized as the tragic hero of this play, which is displayed through his tragic flaw, dramatic downfall, and sympathetic nature. Similar to the conventional tragic hero, Brutus’s downfall is because of his tragic flaw: poor judgment. We see this flaw throughout the entire play, beginning when Brutus joins the other conspirators. When all eight of them are contemplating whether or not to kill Mark Antony, Caesar’s best friend, Brutus says: Our course will seem to bloody, Caius Cassius, To cut the head off and then hack the limbs, Like wrath in death and envy afterwards, For Antony is but a limb of Caesar. Let us be sacrificers but not butchers, Caius… And for Mark Antony, think not of him, For he can do no more than Caesar’s arm When Caesar’s head is off. (916) By killing Antony Brutus believes the Roman citizens will view them as murderous creatures, instead of peace bringers. His concern for his nobility leaves him with poor judgment: Do not consent That Antony speak in his funeral. Know you how much the people may be moved By that which he will utter? (945) Despite protest from a... ... middle of paper ... ...nce sees this when Brutus is pondering about what to do: “It must be by his death, and for my part/ I know no personal cause to spurn at him/ But for the general” (911). This is honor, because Brutus only assassinates Caesar out of love for his people. Even though he has poor judgment, he always chooses what he thinks is best. This makes Brutus an honorable, chivalrous man. Although he is honorable, his plan is not effective. He wants to stop a monarchy; instead, in the end, he accomplishes the exact opposite. Brutus causes the Roman monarchy by assassinating the Roman dictator. In this play by William Shakespeare, the tragic hero is Brutus. Brutus fits the definition of a tragic hero perfectly. He has a tragic flaw, he realizes his mistakes too late, and he has a sympathetic nature. Works Cited Elements of Literature. Orlando: Holt, Winston, Rinehart, 2007.
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