Brutus in Julius Caesar
Noble - Brutus in Julius Caesar introduction. Honest. Trusting. These words all describe Brutus, the tragic hero of William Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar. In the famous play, a group of conspirators ask Brutus, an honorable and righteous man, to assist with the assassination of Caesar for a noble cause, when actually it is out of their own envy. Brutus agrees, thinking this is best for Rome. After he delivers the fatal stab to Caesar, Casear’s allies, Mark Antony and Octavius, meet Brutus and Cassius for battle of revenge, and ultimately Brutus kills himself after a series of miscommunications. Thesis- Brutus, a leading character in Julius Caesar, demonstrates the characteristics of a Shakespearean tragic hero as others consider him a person of high esteem in Rome and a “good” person who has the best interests of the Roman citizens, but commits severe errors in judgment that ultimately led to his death . Brutus is an honorable senator and his grandfather founded the republic, making him an extremely important and influential figure in Rome.
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Cassius attempts to use Brutus’ family’s reputation to persuade him, “Oh, you and I have heard our fathers say, there was a Brutus once that would have brooked th’ eternal devil to keep his state in Rome as easily as a king” (I, ii 159-163). Someone in Brutus’ lineage set up the Roman republic and Cassius used this information to pressure Brutus to turn on his friend Caesar. Brutus, no doubt, feels obligated to uphold his family name and honor the Roman Republic. Also Cassius tries to flatter Brutus by saying, “And no man here but honors you, and every one doth wish you had but that opinion of yourself which every noble Roman bears of you” (II, i 92-95). Even other senators and high ranking officials Rome look up to and respect Brutus. He obviously has a high reputation and an honorable past, giving him power to convince and justify his actions to others. Brutus’ status and personality make him the perfect person to convince the people of Rome that only Caesar’s death can preserve the republic and mark him as the beginning of a tragic hero. Brutus does not kill Caesar out of envy or hate, but out of unfailing love for Rome as he , does what he honestly thinks is right for his country. When explaining why he killed Caesar, Brutus replies, “If, then, that friend demands to know why I rose up against Caesar, this is my answer: it’s not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more” (III, ii 16-21). Brutus truly believes he acted out of the well-being of Rome’s citizens. In his speech, Brutus convinces the crowd, for a while, the necessity for Caesar to die to maintain peace and harmony in Rome.
During Brutus and Cassius’ argument Brutus asks, “Who among us stabbed him for any cause but justice?” (IV, iii 20-21). Brutus still does not realize that the others did not kill Caesar to help Rome; they killed him because they were jealous of his power. It is unfortunate that Brutus’ noble motives blind him from seeing the truth and realize that the conspirators took advantage of his loyalty to the Roman Republic. Brutus’ intentions to preserve the country that his forefathers founded and that he loves so much are pure, but his fatal actions cast him into the role of the tragic hero. Although Brutus means well, he makes judgment errors that eventually cost him his life. After Brutus basically agrees to help, Cassius says to himself, “ Well, Brutus, thou art noble. Yet I see thy honorable mettle may be wrought from that it is disposed” (I, ii 305-308). Brutus, naïve and trusting, proves gullible to Cassisus’ manipulation and lies.
Brutus believes that Cassius shares his same motives for killing Caesar to protect the republic,and unfortunately realizes he put his trust in a faulty place. Later, as Brutus and Cassius argue, Brutus sees Cassius’ true nature and says, “The name of Cassius honors this corruption, and chastisement doth therefore hide his head” (IV, iii 15-16). Brutus begins to see that Cassius is not a completely honest man and has acted questionably. This leads him to suspect that he did not do the right thing and that the conspirators had been using him to advance their own agenda. If Brutus judged character better, he may have been able to see the true nature of the conspirators, which would have produced a much different outcome.
By the end of the play, Brutus becomes the play’s tragic hero because he starts as a highly respected senator and has a flawless reputation but has bad judgment that leads to his death. While Brutus, viewed by many as a traitor it is possible he did save Rome and deserves the title of her. Sometimes one person’s tragedy can save a nation.