The Portrayal Of Brutus As A Tragic Hero In William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

1468 words - 6 pages

The Portrayal of Brutus as a Tragic Hero in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

Throughout the works of Shakespeare, tragedy has always been a vital
foundation and a key to his immense successes. His fine mastery of the
art became legendary amongst the audiences that watched his various
plays. Romeo and Juliet is a prime example of the tragedy he could
combine into a stage performance. An Irish poet named Oscar Wilde who
was a novelist, dramatist and critic in the late eighteen hundreds
once wrote, "There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting
what one wants, and the other is getting it." This has an exact
correlation to the play Julius Caesar where the tragedy lies in the
greed of a man who wants too much.

This particular play is based entirely upon dreadful choices leading
to demise. The character Brutus in particular is a key personality to
the structure of the play in his fall from honour. Being a man of
utmost glory and loyalty becomes his biggest weakness. In Act 1 Scene
2 we are presented with the pressure that Cassius weighs upon Brutus’
mind. In lines 79-80 the truth of Brutus’ troubles become clear. In
the heat of conversation he says “What means this shouting? I do fear
the people choose Caesar for their king”. This is the turning point in
the play as the stepping stones begin to fall in place and Brutus
reveals to the viewers his deep down uncertainty to the decision of
Caesar being crowned emperor.

Cassius is a very influential force in the corruption of Brutus. The
real change of heart for Brutus arrives in Act 2 Scene 1 when he
receives the letter (lines 46-47). The play begins to see him question
his values and reasons. The true torment of all he has lived for, the
honour he based his life upon becomes clear and treachery looms close
by. Though the letter is simple and only two lines, it sparks the
questions needed to be raised in order to get beneath the unwavering
loyalties that he is shown to carry. In the lines that read, “Brutus,
thou sleep’st: awake’. Such instigations have often been dropp’d where
I have took them up” (lines 48-49), and, “Shall Rome stand under one
man’s awe? What Rome?” (line 52), it is apparent that the few words
the letter carried have created doubt in Brutus’ mind.

The fact that Brutus is so appealing to the audience is a mixture of
emotions stirred within each person watching the play. It is
comprehendible and probable that Shakespeare’s ambition was to connect
this character to the everyday temptations and conscientious objecting
that every person goes through. Although this has been extremely
dramatised, people can familiarise with Brutus’ predicament as they
have at least once in their lives faced a temptation for which they
have most probably given in to. In Act 1 Scene 2, lines 82-89 it
provides the loose fibre...

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