Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: Superseding Brutus, Even In Death

693 words - 3 pages

Marcus Brutus’ effort to thwart tyranny appears to be a noble and admirable endeavor, but does Brutus’ willingness to oppose Caesar merit admiration? Should Brutus be designated as the tragic protagonist of Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar? Although applauding Brutus may seem appropriate based on his sincere affection for his fellow Romans, Shakespeare’s play is not a tale of a victorious underdog; therefore, Brutus is not a tragic protagonist. The “most high, most mighty, and most puissant Caesar” (3.1.34), who adequately avenges his own death, is the tragic protagonist of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.
Cassius, acting as puppeteer, directed Marcus Brutus. Cassius manipulated Brutus into performing under the façade of nationalistic duty. Cassius preys on Brutus’ naiveté in order that Brutus reconciles, within himself, the need to execute an assassination plot on Caesar. The result of Brutus’ simplicity is that he is tricked into believing that Caesar’s death is necessary and desired by the people of Rome. Additionally, the ingenuousness of Marcus Brutus is revealed when he dismisses Cassius’ directives suggesting the depth of Brutus’ naiveté. The result is that Brutus is outwitted, and he is not capable of leading. Brutus does not possess the leadership skills required to secure governance. Although Brutus may have virtuous intentions, he is not heroic. While it is true that Caesar is dead and will not be crowned emperor, Brutus fails to end Caesar’s influence. Brutus requests that Strato hold his sword so that he can “run upon it” (5.5.48). Brutus weasels out of the challenge to remove those who are “ambitious” by committing suicide with the same sword that he used to assassinate Caesar. In an attempt to die with some semblance of honor, Brutus kills himself saying “It is more worthy to leap in ourselves / Than tarry till they push us” (5.5.24-25). Brutus does not possess the passionate following that Caesar inspires in Antony. Brutus’ death does not trigger tragedy and upheaval as would be expected on behalf of an esteemed protagonist. Although Brutus lives...

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