Brutus: Our true and steadfast hero of Rome
Although the title of Shakespeare’s play, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, suggests Caesar is the tragic hero of Rome the scheme of the play gives the role of hero to Brutus. Many of the characters conduct in the play demonstrate an unstable thought pattern. The play gives us a “behind the scene” look at the private lives of powerful political leaders. Many of the power heads in the play have the intellect to sway and manipulate the public into thinking and feeling, seeing and hearing exactly what they want. While in private we see them as selfish ambitious leaders who are only concerned with their own agendas. Only Brutus proves true; he is the only political figure who displays his love for Rome not only in the public eye but also within his private life, demonstrating he is the true hero of Rome.
Every hero has a weakness and Brutus’ weakness is his love and devotion to Rome. This weakness gives Cassius the opportunity to manipulate Brutus. In 1.2 Cassius puts a lot of energy into complementing Brutus and tries to sway his already wobbling devotion to Caesar. Later he forges letters and has them delivered to Brutus’ house. Cassius’ character gives us a good insight into a true villains mind. Even Caesar does not trust him stating, “Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look. / He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous.” (195-196) Cassius’ countenance obviously shows he is having malevolent thoughts. Although Caesar states to Antony, “…but I fear him not” (1.2.199) he asks for more heavy duty guards to be placed around him demonstrating his own insecurities and inability to put actions to his words.
At the end of 1.2 Brutus departs with an invitation for Cassius to come to his home and we are allowed a “sneak peak” into Cassius’ manipulative mind:
Well, Brutus, thou art noble; yet I see
Thy honorable mettle may be wrought
From that it is disposed. Therefore it is met
That noble minds, keep ever with their likes;
For who so firm that cannot be seduced?
Caesar doth bear me hard, but he loves Brutus.
If I were Brutus now, and he were Cassius,
He should not humor me. (302-309)
He is clearly planning to use Caesars love for Brutus and Brutus’ weakness of honor in his plot to kill Caesar. Brutus’ honor will not allow him to see Cassius’ true intention because he expects him to have Rome’s best interest at heart.
In 1.3 Cassius, Cinna and Casca are secretly discussing their plan. Cinna states, “O Cassius, if you could / But win the noble Brutus to our party,” (140-141) and Casca states,
O, he sits high in all the people’s hearts,
And that which would appear offence in us
His countenance, like richest of alchemy,
Will change to virtue and to worthiness, (157-160)
Alchemy is the practice of turning common metal into gold. Casca believes that with Brutus on their side their offensive action will be perceived as a noble act. The conspirators know that without Brutus they would never be...