The famous play The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, written by the esteemed playwright William Shakespeare, details the plight of Marcus Brutus and the other Roman conspirators against the dictator Julius Caesar. There are several tragic heroes in this play who suffer extreme downfalls. A tragic hero is a character who was once in high regard or standing but encounters a series of terrible events that contribute to a giant downfall from that position. The character of Brutus fits this description by all means. He, along with the other conspirators, plan to murder Caesar and eventually do. Afterward, Brutus sees the errors of his ways in a moment of enlightenment in his final day on the earth.
Brutus’ flaws are not numerous, but the flaws that he does have are major. He is easily manipulated, as shown by Cassius’ trick letters from Roman citizens. Cassius says, “I will this night/ In several hands, in at his windows throw,/ As if they came from several citizens,/ Writings, all tending to the great opinion/ That Rome holds of his name” (899). Brutus holds the opinions of his fellow Roman citizens in high regard and will defend their views with all his might. Cassius sends him these letters to effectively manipulate him. Brutus also does not make good decisions regarding the conspiracy. He allows Mark Antony to speak after he does in the short time following Caesar’s death. Antony has harsh and unforgiving words toward Brutus and the other conspirators during his speech which cause the ultimate decline of Brutus. His speech is a eulogy to Caesar and a belligerent attack on his enemies. “You all did see that on the Lupercal/ I thrice presented him a kingly crown,/ Which he did thrice refu...
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.... “My heart doth joy that yet, in all my life,/ I found no man but he was true to me./ I shall have glory by this losing day,/ More than Octavius and Mark Antony/ By this vile conquest shall attain unto” (996).
The character of Brutus in Shakespeare’s epic play The Tragedy of Julius Caesar undertakes a great fall from his position as a well-loved senator. Brutus was a man of the common populace. After Caesar’s assassination, he is considered a traitor to the Romans. A man unaware of his follies until the end, Brutus is manipulated and used by the conspirators to achieve their own goals. However, throughout the course of this play, he remains loyal to the Roman people and what he believes to be their opinions. Brutus, a loyal man of the Roman Republic, is most definitely a tragic hero.
Elements of Literature: Orlando, Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 2007.
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