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Julius Caesar - Tragic Hero

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Julius Caesar as a Tragic Hero

	Julius Caesar is a play written by William Shakespeare during the year 1597. Julius Caesar’s story involves a conspiracy against Julius Caesar, a powerful senator.

The play involves a highly respected senator, Brutus, who decides to join the conspiracy to kill Julius Caesar, in the effort to keep democracy intact. Brutus believes that if Julius Caesar is allowed to live, Caesar will take a kingship and turn the government into a monarchy. Brutus, Cassius, and the other conspirators kill Julius Caesar, yet they find Antony, a loyalist of Caesar, seeks revenge on them. Plato set out rules on the traits a tragic hero must possess. A tragic hero must neither be an evil villain nor a great hero, instead the tragic hero must be either a flawed hero or a villain with some good traits. Also, the tragic hero must not deserve what mighty punishment is dealt to him. Another key feature of a tragic hero is the fact that a tragic hero must be a high-standing individual in society. The tragic hero must not deserve his punishment for the play to be a tragedy. Also, a tragedy happening to someone in high authority, will affect not only the single person but also society as a whole. Another reason for the tragic hero to be in high authority is to display that if a tragedy may happen to someone such as a king, it may just as easily happen to any other person. Julius Caesar fits the role of a tragic hero. Julius Caesar is a high standing senator that possesses hamartia, failings of human nature. Julius Caesar’s imperfections may be seen in three distinct aspects of Caesar, such as the following: his pride, his vacillation, and his ambition.

	Julius Caesar has much pride, a hamartia, which brings him to not be wary of the conspiracy. Caesar is given much warning on the threat of his life, yet due to his pride he thinks himself to be too great of a person to have such a downfall. Julius Caesar is warned by a soothsayer, "Soothsayer. Beware the ides of March."(1,2,18) Julius Caesar rebukes the soothsayer by stating, "Caesar. He is a dreamer. Let us leave him. Pass."(1,2,23) Caesar does not take warning to be wary the middle of the month, the day of his assassination. Later, Caesar’s wife Calpurnia has a nightmare that Caesar is slain at the Capitol. Caesar calls for the priests to do a sacrifi...

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... for more ruling. This occurrence, that Caesar is surpassing his peers and creating a monopoly, is a very dangerous and serious threat. Cassius expresses his opinion by his statement, "Cassius. …but for my single self, I had lief not be as live to be in awe of such a thing as I myself. I was borne free as Caesar; so were you."(1,2,94-97) Cassius also shows that he sees that the Senate and senators are falling in power as Caesar is selfishly acquiring it.

"Casca. He fell down in the market place and foamed at the mouth and was speechless.

Brutus. ‘Tis very like; he hath the falling sickness.

Cassius. No, Caesar hath it blueye3 not; but you and I, and honest Casca, we have the falling sickness [in reference to their falling in power versus Caesar’s rise]."(1,2,254-258)

Caesar’s ambition, surely, is a hamartia and is the reason behind the heart of the conspiracy.

	Through these examples, Julius Caesar can be seen as having the traits of a tragic hero. Upon closer inspection, Brutus is the real tragic hero of the play. This displays how William Shakespeare is able to create realistic and multipurpose characters that inspire his works.
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