Marcus Brutus As A Tragic Hero In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

1437 words - 6 pages

Marcus Brutus as a Tragic Hero in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

In the play Julius Caesar, the tragedy of the play was directed mainly at one specific character, Marcus Brutus. Brutus was the tragic hero of the play, because of his idealistic and pragmatic qualities. The mindset that Brutus possessed only allowed him to see the world and its people from one point of view. This point of view allowed him to make judgments that assumed only the best of people. This tragic weakness resulted in many errors throughout the play. The major incidences such as decisions made during the orchard soliloquy, the discussion with Cassius and the conspirators regarding decisions about Antony and the oath, his speech to the commoners after Caesar's assassination and finally the outward circumstance regarding Titinius and Cassius in act 5. Brutus was too idealistic and lived in fantasy world in which he made all his decisions simply by expecting that all were as honourable as himself.

Brutus' idealism was displayed when he was reviewing his decision to kill Caesar while in his orchard. While evaluating his feelings towards Caesar, he stated, " I know little personal cause to spurn at him, But for the general". Brutus felt that Caesar had not done anything incorrect, but was afraid of what might occur. He compared Caesar to a snake, which has the ability to sting. Just as one might step on the snake and be stung, Caesar might defeat anyone who interfered with his course of action. Brutus thinks about what Caesar could become and do, if he was given the power of the crown. A very descriptive metaphor was used to illustrate Brutus' reasoning for killing:

That lowliness is young ambition's ladder,
Whereto the climber-upward turns his face;
But when he once attains the upmost round,
He then unto the ladder turns his back,
Looks into the clouds, scorning the base degrees
By which he did ascend.

Ambition was personified, and was granted the qualities of a person that could climb a ladder. Caesar, climbing the ladder of prosperity, would reach the top, and forget about the people of Rome and his fellow Senators. He would "look into the clouds" and indulge in the wealth and good fortune. This possible outcome caused Brutus to remember his love for Rome. A simile also compared Caesar to a snake that was contained in an egg. The snake was harmless when it was in the egg, just as Caesar was when he was part of the senate. When the egg was cracked open, the snake was powerful, and able to attack. Julius Caesar was like the hatched snake, in which he could have become harmful to the well being of Rome. Brutus convinced himself that he could not let one-man rule, and he realized that joining the conspiracy was the right decision because of his reasoning.
Later the same evening, Cassius and the other conspirators arrived at Brutus' house. Conspirators realized that they required Brutus in their plot, because a man with such noble and honourable...

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