Many Tragic Heroes and Societal Issues Found in Julius Caesar

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Many Tragic Heroes and Societal Issues Found in Julius Caesar

William Shakespeare wrote Julius Caesar around 1599. The play is said to be an adaptation of the Greek account written by Plutarch. This account refers to the lives of Marcus Brutus, Julius Caesar, and Marcus Antonius. Julius Caesar touches on many societal issues, which are still voiced today: suicide, peer pressure, what it means to be a good leader, and assassination. However, though each of these issues is examined throughout the play, it is by examining the characters themselves that we receive a broader perception of the play itself. The role of the `tragic hero' is extremely important to this effect as many of the characters in Julius Caesar exemplify the `tragic hero' qualities. Marcus Brutus, and Julius Caesar, display all the qualities of the `tragic hero': they are great men, with character flaws, and as a result of a mistake in decision-making many people suffer. Other than in these two characters can one see the components of the `tragic hero'? Yes. In both Marcus Antonius and in Cassius one can see these same qualities. Thus, by examining all four tragic heroes we can have a broader perspective concerning the play, and the societal issues seen within.

The character for whom the play is named after: Julius Caesar is certainly a tragic hero. The conspirators, (Cassius, Cinna, Casca, Decius Brutus, Trebonius, and Metellus Cimber), accuse Caesar, within their circle, of having too much ambition: Caesar's behaviour validates this judgment. The accusations can be seen throughout Act I, in Act I, Scene ii, we see Cassius say to Marcus Brutus:

"Why man, he doth bestride the narrow World/ Like a Colossus, and we pet...

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