Tragic Heroism in "Julius Caesar"

Good Essays
In William Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Julius Caesar the element of tragic hero is presented. A tragic hero is defined as a character of high standing who has a flaw that leads to his or her downfall, this individual is enlightened of his or her mistakes and is often viewed with pity or sympathy by the audience. Shakespeare has created two tragic heroes in his classic, Brutus and Caesar. The character primarily focused on as a tragic hero in this story is the protagonist, Brutus. Brutus is a tragic hero because he is of high political standing, a poor judge of character and is enlightened of his mistakes. Throughout the tale of Julius Caesar's assassination we are able to view into a window of Brutus's life and watch as the Republic unravels.

Flaws are what transform characters into tragic heroes. All tragic heroes possess a unique and individual flaw that brings their downfall. Shakespeare illuminates the flaw of Brutus as his uncanny ability in poor judgment and faulty reasoning that leads him to make the decisions he does. Brutus is being manipulated by Cassius and is trying to find any possibly logical reason for killing Caesar. The problem with that is there is no reason Caesar should have died. Brutus attempts to earn the plebeians' loyalty by asking. Had you rather Caesar live and die all slaves? (948.) This is an example of Either/Or Reasoning which implies there are two possible options for an event occurring. Another common faulty reasoning technique Brutus uses is the Cause and Effect route. Brutus masterfully uses this when he says. As he was ambitious, I slew him (948.) Accusing Caesar of being ambitious is Brutus's attempt at vilifying Caesar. He thinks if he tells the Roman citizens that Caesar...

... middle of paper ...

...for taking advantage of Brutus's poor judgment and naivety. The truth is, no matter how much Cassius convinced Brutus to betray and assassinate Caesar, Brutus acted of his own accord. He made his own decisions. We cannot place the blame for Brutus's actions upon anyone but him. Although Brutus is guilty of killing his friend and leader, it is natural to pity him in the denouement when it is discovered that he has lost everything. However that is what makes him a tragic hero.

The Tragedy of Julius Caesar written by William Shakespeare gives us the tragic hero of Brutus. This Roman is a tragic hero because he comes from high political standing and brings about his own downfall because of his fatal flaw of being a poor judge. Brutus enlightens us to be wary of those we trust because the decisions we make could ultimately destroy what we try hardest to protect.
Get Access