The Tragedy of Julius Caesar: What Makes Brutus a Tragic Hero

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What makes someone a hero? When looking at people, it’s easy to assume that heroes are a certain type of person, as if being heroic is an exclusive personality trait. However, a hero isn’t defined by their identity, they’re defined by their actions. Throughout several of Shakespeare’s plays, a tragic hero is identified; a heroic figure that possesses a personality flaw that ends up causing his own defeat. Within the Tragedy of Julius Caesar, who is the true tragic hero really? Many of us agree that Marcus Brutus is a tragic hero. Once examining these two characters, a conclusion is vividly drawn. Julius Caesar is a tragic hero in this play. When someone possesses such heroic qualities and dies, it’s a real tragedy.

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The main reason that Marcus Brutus deserves the title of a tragic hero is his noble temperament. First of all, throughout the entire play, he never deceives anyone. Even though he did murder Julius Caesar, he was doing it for the benefit of Rome. Also, he showed no signs of wanting to harm or deceive Caesar. Even when he did kill Caesar, Cassius didn’t seem shocked. Everything that he did was for the good of other people. Despite the fact that he killed Antony’s role model figure, Antonius still recognized Brutus as “the noblest Roman of all.” He proclaimed this in Act V, Scene V after Caesar is assassinated. This is a result of Brutus, the sole criminal, that truly killed Caesar as a result of the fact that he wasn’t doing it for himself and was actually doing it because he cared for the people of Rome. He cared more about others than he did himself. For example, by killing Caesar he showed that, even though he liked Julius Caesar, he did what was right for the greater good of the Roman people. Even though there was a chance that the people would hate him for what he did, he took that chance because he knew it would benefit the commoners in the long run. Another example of his selflessness is in Act II, Scene i. Brutus decides not to tell Portia his plans for the murder of Caesar. He feels she already has enough stress in her life and doesn’t need to worry or overthink his plans.

Brutus oftentimes clearly shows several acts of affection towards others. In Act I, Scene ii, he’s reluctant to join in on Cassius’s conspiracy as a result of he didn’t wish to betray Caesar. In Act III, Scene ii, Brutus kills Caesar solely as a result of being apprehensive of what’s going to happen to Rome if Caesar remains ruler. He knew the Romans’ lives would be difficult with the ruling of Caesar. Even though he is going to follow through with the conspiracy, he realizes what an honorable man Caesar was. This is shown within the same Act and Scene once Brutus permits Marcus Antonius to give a eulogy at Caesar’s ceremonial despite the fact that Cassius strongly disagreed. Brutus showed grief at Caesar’s ceremony by allowing Antony to speak since they were so close. Finally, he shows his kindness to others in Act V, Scene V. This is the scene where Brutus kills himself as a result of the whole conspiracy, and as a result of feeling guilty and partially responsible for the murder of Julius Caesar.

All tragic heroes possess a personality flaw that ends up in their defeat. Brutus’ fatal and tragic flaw was being naive. He thought that everything was good within the world, that all men were honorable and bound to their word. He believed all that people told him and felt that nobody would lie or deceive him. simply because he didn’t betray anyone. This characteristic led him to his death. Brutus had people that deceived him at one time or another throughout the play. He gives others like Cassius and Antonius too many opportunities to betray him. He’s too trusting and doesn’t notice what some people are capable of doing to him once he makes them his friend. Greed led to the downfall of Brutus before long. The events that occurred as a result of Brutus’ quality led to his downfall and death. His initial mistake was in Act II, Scene i. This was when the fake letters sent by Cassius to him were received. This was all a trap to get Brutus to join in on the conspiracy. For Cassius knew he couldn’t do this without Brutus’s support. Brutus believes these letters are from the commoners of Rome and eventually Brutus agrees to the assassination of Caesar. Another example of this quality is in Act III, Scene II. Brutus decides to permit Antonius to speak at Caesar’s funeral to show honor to Caesar. In the end, this call ruins him. Antonius Rawls up the crowd into believing that the conspirators or all evil and that the people of Rome should get revenge. As a result, a war breaks out. In Act V, Scene II Brutus made a mistake. Brutus made a mistake when he started the battle without telling Cassius about it. Brutus realizes it’s time to strike and understands that he should begin the battle. He believes that there is no time to inform Cassius. This was the biggest reason for him committing suicide. He kills himself after determining that it’s nobler to kill himself than to be captured and dragged through Rome.

The case of Brutus’s tragic hero could serve as a good example for today’s society. Brutus was attracted to a conspiracy by being lied to. He received some letters that he thought were written by the important people of Rome, not the ones that wanted Julius Cesar killed. But even though naivety is the characteristic that brought Brutus his ending, he is a hero at his core. He truly believed in what he saw, the message on those letters, and he fought for something bigger than him: Rome and its prosperity. However, this naivety brought him his ending as he realized that his previous decisions were not the best ones he took.

With all of Brutus’s characteristics, Brutus is clearly the tragic hero of this play. Throughout this drama, he demonstrates the standard of honor again and again. He’s a nobleman and that’s something Antonius sums up well in the last half of the play. In the end, Brutus is defeated as a result of his fatal flaw. He was naive and didn’t know the true feelings or intent of the people that he blindly trusted. Marcus Brutus is the real tragic hero of Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, and this title needs no argument.

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