Dubious Heros in Julius Caesar

Dubious Heros in Julius Caesar

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Questionable Heros in Julius Caesar


      Julius Caesar, a play written by William

Shakespeare, had many characters who could have been questioned in terms of

their motives and will.  Some may have had good intentions, but others were

not motivated by their concern for the well-being of the Romans.  The

aim of this paper is to take a look at why the main people in this tragedy did

what they did.


      Julius Caesar, the center of the big ordeal, is the first logical person

to take a look at.  When he first arrives, he is hailed as a great man and

offered the crown numerous times, refusing it each time.   He is clearly the

hero of the people for that time.  The question of his heroism comes when his

previous actions are looked upon.  He has just returned from killing Pompey and

Pompey's sons.  He did this to gain complete control of Rome instead of sticking

with the triumvirate that had currently ruled.  He was ambitious, or so it was

said, and he wanted only power.  This alone shows that his motives were not as

pure as was first thought.


      The next person to be looked upon in Mark Antony, apparently Julius

Caesar's right-hand man.  He plays the part of the hero as he takes Caesar's

side after death and rallies the people against the conspirators.  As he speaks

to Octavius, though, he shows that he is mainly after the power also in saying

that the third person of their new triumvirate, Lepidus, is not a worthy

adversary and is only good enough to carry messages.  Antony goes on to say that

they should have him (Lepidus) killed, along with all the other people they were

making a list of.  He was going to have them eliminated just because they might

stand in their way to gaining complete power.  He also ordered to have figured a

way to cut some of the money out of the will to the people and keep it for

himself.  His intentions weren't so good after all.


      Cassius, the apparent originator of the conspiracy in the first place,

is at first hard to figure out if he would take action in good will or in greed

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for power.  On one hand, he starts out by saying he doesn't want Caesar to have

the power because it would turn out like the kings of past.  He even convinces

all of the other conspirators, including the noble Brutus, of this ominous

threat.  After a while, the audience is shown and led to believe his true drive.

This drive turns out to be pure jealousy of Caesar's popularity and resulting

power.  He wanted it for himself.


      Finally, the question of the noble Brutus is at hand.  From the start,

he is somewhat portrayed to be respectable in status and character.  He said he

feared Caesar accepting the crown he said, although he had not a notion of

killing the man at the time.  He was manipulated into doing it by Cassius and

the two fake letters that Cassius sent to him in the name of the citizens of

Rome.  When he kills Julius Caesar by stabbing him even as he looked him in the

eye he believes that he and the others are doing it only for the good of the

country of Rome.  Later it is shown that most of them were in it for the power,

though.  But the fact remains, Brutus had done it in good will and even said so

as he explained his motives to the crowd of citizens. Finally, when it appears

that all is lost in battle and he finds his partner Cassius dead, he also runs

upon his sword.  Over his dead body, even the evil Mark Antony declares him to

be "the noblest Roman of them all".


      Of all of the people involved in William Shakespeare's tragedy Julius

Caesar, only one of them had good and pure intentions behind his actions.

Brutus did what he did in the name of the Roman people, in fear that it might

become another dictatorship like in the past with the kings.  For this reason,

Brutus is actually the only true tragic hero portrayed in this play.
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