The Tragedy of Marcus Brutus

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According to Aristotle, a tragic hero experiences a change in fortune from good to bad brought about by his or her own errors. By this definition, Brutus acts as the tragic hero of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar because, despite his good intentions, his actions ultimately lead to his death and the downfall of the Roman Republic. Throughout Julius Caesar Brutus acts in accordance with his morals, which makes his eventual fall all the more tragic as Brutus genuinely believed his actions benefitted the future of Rome. Unlike most of the self-interested people around him, Brutus genuinely cares for the continued well-being of the Roman republic. Brutus sees Caesar's rise to power and imminent crowning as a danger to the freedom of the people in Rome since, "crown [Caesar] that, and then I grant we put a sting in him that at his will he may do danger with. Th' abuse of greatness is when it disjoins remorse from power" (2.1.15-19). Brutus knows that many past rulers have turned into tyrants and oppressed their people after gaining substantial authority, and fears that the same tragedy will befall Rome if the Senate crowns Caesar. And although Brutus conspires to kill Caesar rather than finding a peaceful solution to this disagreement, he tells the other conspirators to limit their violence as "this shall make our purpose necessary and not envious, which so appearing to the common eyes, we shall be called purgers, not murderers" (2.1.175-178). Brutus' constant requests to preform the assassination quickly and honorably reveal his concern about the fate of the Romans acts as the motivation behind his actions (unlike the other conspirators who "did that they did in envy of great Caesar") (5.5.71). But, these philosophical beliefs alone d... ... middle of paper ... of the play when, facing certain defeat, he orders Strato to "hold then my sword, and turn away thy face, while I do run upon it" (5.5.48-49). For even his good intentions and conviction that "did not great Julius bleed for justice' sake" could not convince the Roman people to adopt his worldview (4.3.19). And, despite the fact that Brutus "only, in a general honest thought and common good to all, made one of [the conspirators]," he had to die with his vision unfulfilled and with the Roman republic in a worse state than it started the play in(5.5.72-73). Due to the errors Brutus makes throughout the play and the harm that befalls him as a result, he represent the true tragic hero of Julius Caesar. For despite holding one of the few sets of good intentions in the play, Brutus ultimately suffers and dies farther away from achieving his dreams than he started from.
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