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A Tragic Hero In Julius Caesar By William Shakespeare

811 words - 3 pages

"You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain", said by Aaron Eckhart (Harvey Dent) in the movie The Dark Knight, describes perfectly the theme of William Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar. Even more so, Harvey Dent's words show the characteristics of the tragic hero in the production, Marcus Brutus. Most would argue that his part in the assassination of Caesar would make him the antagonist, or villain, but throughout a series of events in the play, it is logical to conclude that Brutus was indeed the hero. He was a tragic hero who just happened to make a tragic mistake.
In the first two acts of Julius Caesar, the audience begins to learn about the type of person Brutus was. Brutus was shown to have been a respected leader when Ligarius said, “But it sufficeth / That Brutus leads me on” (2,1,344-345). With this quote, Shakespeare shows that Brutus is the type of man which others are enticed to follow. Cassius knew this fact and that is why he targeted Brutus to be one of the conspirators. With the noble Brutus plotting against Caesar, Cassius believed that the Roman citizens would accept Caesar’s murder easier; however, Brutus was wise. He said, “Into what dangers would you lead me, Cassius, / that you would have me seek into myself / For that which is not in me?” (1,2,65-67), as soon as he suspected that Cassius had alternative motives for speaking with him. The audience learns that Brutus is not quick to make decisions and seeks honor before anything. If he was a villain, why would he spend time contemplating the consequences of Caesar’s death? Would he not just act?
Even through-out Caesar’s murder and funeral, Brutus stayed noble. When the other conspirators began to yell “Liberty, freedom, and enfranchisement!” (3,1,89) after having stabbed Julius, Brutus immediately to yell to the other senators his reasoning: “Fly not. Stand still. Ambition’s debt is paid” (3,1,91). Brutus believes here that Caesar had to be removed because it was not in the best interest of Rome. . . Caesar was ambitious. He, like a hero, acted out of unselfishness not caring about how his actions might affect him but rather how it would impact the general population. This is shown again when Brutus speaks at his friend’s funeral. He said, “as...

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