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Julius Caesar Essay: Brutus as the Tragic Hero

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Brutus as the Tragic Hero of Julius Caesar

Shakespeare’s tragedy, Julius Caesar, displays Brutus as a tragic hero, blinded loyalty and devotion. Brutus's heroic belief of honor and virtue was so powerful that it drove him to perform villainous actions and lead to his destruction.

The tragic hero is "presented as a person neither entirely good nor entirely evil, who is led by some tragic flaw to commit an act that results in suffering and utter defeat." (Morner, Kathleen & Rausch, Ralph. 1991, Pg. #227) Brutus was guided by his firm decrees of honor, yet he was unconsciously hypocritical. He praised himself for refusing bribes and not acquiring money through dishonest means, "For I can raise no money by vile means" (Act IV Scene iii) yet he rebuked Cassius for refusing to share with him his own fraudulent gains. He strove for uprightness using dishonest and corrupt ways to accomplish his supposed morals.

In Julius Caesar, Cassius approached Brutus with the idea of assassinating Caesar. Cassius needed Brutus because of his renowned heroic qualities. He used Brutus as an insurance policy, declaring "Brutus shall lead, and we will grace his heels with the most boldest and best hearts of Rome." (Act III, Scene i) Cassius lead him to fear Caesar is too ambitious and despotic. This forced Brutus to come to the conclusion that Caesar's death is the only way to solve Rome's problem. "And therefore think him as a serpent's egg, Which hatched would, as his kind, grow mischievous, And kill him in the shell." (Act II, Scene i) Brutus believed that this is for Rome's own good, "not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more." (Act III, Scene ii) Cassius manipulated Brutus into thinking that he must eliminate C...

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...and devotion destroyed him. The greatest good in this tragic hero lead him to the wickedest evil.

Works Cited

http://student.cscc.edu/ENGL/Engl264/traglex.htm. Shakespearean Tragedy. 11-29-99. Yahoo.

Bloom, Harold. William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Chelsea House Publisher; Connecticut, New York, & Pennsylvania. 1988, Pg. #33 - 36

Boyce, Charles. Shakespeare A to Z. Roundtable Press, Inc.; New York. 1990, Pg. #78 - 80

Durband, Alan. Shakespeare Made Easy: Julius Caesar. Barron's Educational Series, Inc.; New York. 1985.

Ludowyk, E.F.C. Understanding Shakespeare. Cambridge University Press; New York. 1962, Pg. #184 - 187

Morner, Kathleen & Rausch, Ralph. NTC's Dictionary of Literary Terms. National Textbook Company; Illinois. 1991, Pg. #225 - 227

Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar. Dover Publications, Inc.; New York. 1991.
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