Marcus Brutus: Shakespeare's Tragic Hero In "The Tragedy Of Julius Caesar"

1306 words - 5 pages

William Shakespeare illustrates Marcus Brutus as a tragic hero in the play The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. Shakespeare defines tragic hero as a flawed character who has good fortune, and then loses all he has prized, leading to his misfortune, but a tragic hero must have that moment of enlightenment, that moment where a character can see that he caused his own downfall and receives the blame for his own tragedy. The Tragedy of Julius Caesar is based on an historical event- the assassination of Julius Caesar; however, the story revolves around the conspirators, not Caesar. The protagonists, Cassius and Brutus, are the main two conspirators: Cassius being the master-mind and Brutus being the face for the conspirators; Cassius tricks Brutus to join the conspirators under the false hope that the people fear Caesar and his authority, and Brutus wanting what the people want gave in to Cassius’s plan. The conspirators planned and acted on the assassination of Julius Caesar in the belief that by killing him, the republic government that held Rome high would last and the ideals of a monarchy would vanish with Caesar’s body. This was not the conclusion; by assassinating Julius Caesar, the man Rome longed for as their king, the conspirators created a king, Caesar’s adopted son. Instead of Brutus and Cassius becoming the heroes and new leaders of Rome, both are banished and hated, creating a struggle for them to receive relief of their power hunger for Rome, resulting in death. Brutus is the tragic hero of The Tragedy of Julius Caesar because he was flawed, caused his own downfall, faced a moment of enlightenment, and showed that he was an honorable man.
Brutus believes himself to be a hubris, invulnerable and honorable man, for the Romans place their trust in him; because of this, Brutus is asked by Cassius to join the conspirators, simply to gain the respect of the people after the assassination of Julius Caesar. Brutus’s character is defined by the people; the bases his decisions and beliefs on the opinions of Roman citizens. Seeking Brutus to be a part of his conspirators, Cassius sends false letters to Brutus pretending to be many different, concerned people wanting Caesar out power; Brutus then willingly joins the conspirators under the impression that Caesar’s death is what the people want. To make this venal act morally right with himself he comes up with faulty logic, “And therefore think him as a serpent’s egg which hatched, would as his kind grow mischievous, and kill him in his shell” (911). Brutus is trying to justify killing a person, a leader, and his personal friend with this analogy that is not literally correct; not all snakes are evil; some kill other snakes to protect humans. Likewise, Caesar might not have used his power for evil and self-serving deeds; he might have been just what Rome pleaded for to lead. Yet Brutus sacrifices his honorable character for adsurb assurance that he is what the Romans want. After the...

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