Marcus Brutus as the Tragic Hero in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar Essay

Marcus Brutus as the Tragic Hero in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar Essay

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Brutus as the Tragic Hero in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar


Because of Shakespeare's popularity among scholars and literary critics, his plays have been studied time after time. In the four hundred or so years since they were written, Shakespeare's plays and other literary masterpieces have been categorized. Many of them, including Shakespeare's portrayal of Julius Caesar's murder and the resulting events for Rome and for Caesar's conspirators, have been put into the "tragedies" category. According to the specifications and qualifications for a Shakespearean tragedy, Brutus, one of the men who conspired against Julius Caesar, can be considered a tragic hero. Despite the fact that Brutus can be considered a tragic hero, I don't feel that he has the qualities and traits of a true hero.

The first element of a Shakespearean tragedy is the requirement of a tragic hero. This tragic hero must be a person of nobility whose moral decisions will influence society in one way or another. He or she has some sort of tragic flaw and is forced to make a decision at some point that will lead to his or her suffering and death. In Julius Caesar, you can see that Brutus meets these requirements. For example, a Plebian (citizen of Rome) says, "The noble Brutus is ascended. Silence!" (3.2.11). When looking for a tragic flaw in Brutus, we find many - he is easily influenced, has difficulty in looking ahead, is too proud for capture, is naïve to the whole picture, and has split loyalties. I believe the flaw that has the greatest influence on Brutus and his decisions is that he is easily influenced. Because of the strong influences others have on Brutus, the conspirators easily persuade him to make decisions he probably wouldn't have otherwise made...


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... were setting a bad example for others to follow. The conspirators were teaching by their actions that it's all right to kill an authoritative figure just because it is thought that they might become too powerful.

Brutus may be considered a tragic hero according to scholars and literary critics, but is he really someone that should be looked up to and given the title "Hero?" Do you want the children of this generation (the adults of the next generation) looking up to a murderer as their hero? It's something that can't be decided lightly. Look at all the recent school shootings. If the shooters in these various shootings hadn't looked up to modern-day people like Brutus and the other conspirators, these events could have been prevented. Before going out and claiming someone is a hero, look into it more and see if you'd want people today looking up to that person.

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