Marcus Brutus: Shakespeare's Tragic Hero in "The Tragedy of Julius Caesar"

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William Shakespeare illustrates Marcus Brutus as a tragic hero in the play The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. Shakespeare defines tragic hero as a flawed character who has good fortune, and then loses all he has prized, leading to his misfortune, but a tragic hero must have that moment of enlightenment, that moment where a character can see that he caused his own downfall and receives the blame for his own tragedy. The Tragedy of Julius Caesar is based on an historical event- the assassination of Julius Caesar; however, the story revolves around the conspirators, not Caesar. The protagonists, Cassius and Brutus, are the main two conspirators: Cassius being the master-mind and Brutus being the face for the conspirators; Cassius tricks Brutus to join the conspirators under the false hope that the people fear Caesar and his authority, and Brutus wanting what the people want gave in to Cassius’s plan. The conspirators planned and acted on the assassination of Julius Caesar in the belief that by killing him, the republic government that held Rome high would last and the ideals of a monarchy would vanish with Caesar’s body. This was not the conclusion; by assassinating Julius Caesar, the man Rome longed for as their king, the conspirators created a king, Caesar’s adopted son. Instead of Brutus and Cassius becoming the heroes and new leaders of Rome, both are banished and hated, creating a struggle for them to receive relief of their power hunger for Rome, resulting in death. Brutus is the tragic hero of The Tragedy of Julius Caesar because he was flawed, caused his own downfall, faced a moment of enlightenment, and showed that he was an honorable man. Brutus believes himself to be a hubris, invulnerable and honorable man, for the R... ... middle of paper ... ...ymen, my heart doth joy that yet in all my life I found no man but he was true to me” (996). Because of his downfall, the punishment no one deserves, and his enlightenment the audience is meant to pity him and feel sympathy for him, for the writer will be effective in receiving the audience’s grief when a character faces trial the audience could not bear to think of such scenario. Brutus is a sympathetic character who is worthy of pity. In the play The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare humanizes Marcus Brutus with flaws that cause his personal downfall and a struggle for enlightenment, which defines him to be a sympathetic character. Because of his last words, his moment of enlightenment, Brutus died an honorable man. Brutus’s life is the definition of a tragic hero. Works Cited Elements of Literature. Orlando: Holt, Winston, Rinehart, 2007.

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