The Downfall of Brutus
The play, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare, has two main tragic heroes. Set in Rome and spanning from forty- four to forty-two B.C., the play tells of Brutus and Caesar whom both fall from the highest positions to the lowest of misfortune and then are enlightened on their mistakes. Brutus is the stronger example of a tragic hero in this story. Throughout this play, Brutus commits many faults, falls more drastically than all other characters, and regrets his previous actions by the end of the play.
Brutus commits three costly mistakes during the play. The first mistake that he makes is that he participates in the assassination of Julius Caesar. “People, and senators, be not affrighted. /Fly not; stand still; ambition’s debt is paid”(938). In doing this, Brutus does just the opposite of what he set out to do which is to protect Rome from the ambition of humans. This action also perpetually gives him the name of a traitor. The second and most important mistake that Brutus makes is that he allows Antony to speak at Caesar’s funeral. “And you shall speak in the same pulpit whereto I am going /After my speech is ended”(945). Not only does Brutus allow Mark Antony to speak after Cassius tells him not to let him have such a right, but he gives him the better time to do it as well. Speaking second is more strategic than first because of the fact that the man or woman that speaks second is delivering the speech that the audience will remember. The citizens most likely will not remember Brutus’s meager speech that is soon disregarded after Antony begins to speak. This act of arrogance is actually the backbone to the downfall of Brutus. The third mistake that Brutus makes is that he charges the forces of Antony and Octavius on an open plane instead of taking the defensive position. “Well, to our work alive. What do you think / Of marching to Philippi presently?”(974). Marching against the Roman army is essentially suicide. Even though some of the aspects of being on the offensive side are good, almost all of the aspects of playing defense are just as good if not better. All in all, through the decisions that Brutus makes, it is no wonder as to why he did not remain in everyone’s good graces.
Brutus’s fall is one of the hardest and longest in the play. Brutus loses everything. The first thing that Brutus loses is his credibility. After the murder of Caesar, Brutus retrogresses in the public’s eye, and is forced to be craven and flee for his life. He has lost the one thing that he truly loves, and that is Rome. “With this I depart, that, as I slew / my best lover for the good of Rome, I have the same / dagger for myself, when it shall please my country to need my death”(948). This is the hardest fall that Brutus takes, and it destroys him. ...