The Tragic Hero in Julius Caesar, a Play by William Shakespeare

Tragedy is, a branch of drama that treats in a serious and dignified style the sorrowful or terrible events encountered or caused by a heroic individual, with that we have a tragic hero. A tragic hero is a person of a noble birth with a tragic flaw that leads to his or her downfall. Both are seen in “The Tragedy oflulius Caesar” written by William Shakespeare By examining Marcus Brutus‘ high rank, tragic {law and clear internal conflict it is apparent that Marcus Brutus is the tragic hero of the play Shakespeare provides evidence that Marcus Brutus is certainly the tragic hero of the play.

Firstly Brutus’ high rank is established through his actions and how he is seen by the Romans. Furthermore, brutus exhibits the tragic flaw characteristic that aids in his downfall. Finally, it is shown through the decisions he struggles to make, with that Brutus has great internal conflict. To begin with, it is clear that Brutus is of high rank, His place in society.

his appeal to romans and potential for greatness help support this statement. First off Brutus’ high rank is developed when Cassius is speaking to Casca while forming the conspiracy against Caesar, Cassius, ys: “Him and his worth and our great need of him You have right well conceited.

Let us go, for it is after midnight, and ere day/ We will awake him and he sure of him.” This develops Brutus’ high rank because Cas. us is saying that Brutus’ participation in the conspiracy is vital If Brutus agrees, the plan will go through, Mainly because if they were to have Cassius be the leader of the ‘ ‘thion the Romans will view it as something very negative, whereas if Brutus is the leader the romans will see it as the right thing to do because Brutus is loved by all romans and he is considered the noblest man of all time.

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Secondly Brutus” high rank is shown when his wife Portia worries and cares about Brutus. Portia notices Brutus has been losing sleep and she really cares about Brutus and she does not want her husband to keep anything from her, Portia tells Brutus: 1 grant 1 am a woman; but withal A woman well-reputed, Cato’s daughter. Think you 1 am no stronger than my sex, Being so fathered and so husbanded?

Tell me your counsels; 1 will not d’ close ’em, I have made strong proof of my constancy, Giving myself a voluntary wound Here, in the thigh. Can I bear that with patience. And not my husband’s secrets?  Portia is using her high rank as Catos daughter to show how much she cares for Brutus. Lastly Brutus shows high rank with his potential for greatness. Brutus swayed all of the plebeians with his speech at Caesar’s funeral. The plebeians were so convinced they even yelled: “Live, Brutus! Live, live!/ Give him a statue with his ancestors!/ Let him be Caesar!/ Caesar’s better parts/Shall be crowned in Brutus!” This shows how the plebeians believed what Brutus is doing is the right thing to do. That was until Brutus mistakenly allows Antony to speak which brings out the Fickleness of the romans. IfBrutus were to compromise and not be Inflexible there was a chance for him to live and not be in such a horrible place in the romans society.

Another characteristic that qualifies Brutus as the tragic hero is his tragic flaw. Brutus‘ tragic flaw is that he is too trusting. This s evident when Brutus decides to join the conspiracy against Caesar without one hundred percent thinking it through. Brutus had a talk with Cassius about Caesars rise in power and that left him thinking. Later on, he got letters thinking they’re from the citizens of Rome and those letters immediately sway him intojoining the conspiracy. Brutus never even thought to stop and think about those letters to notice that the letters were saying the exact same thing his dear old friend Cassius was saying. While Caesar was giving his Speech to the Romans Cassius pulled Brutus aside and said. “Therefore, good Brutus. be prepared to hear/And since you know you cannot see yourself/So well as by reflection, 1, your glass/Will modestly discover to yourself/That of yourself which you yet know not of.” They then continued to speak about Caesar. Then Brutus got letters that say: (opens the letter and reads) “Brutus, thou sleep’st. Awake. and see thyself. Shall Rome. etc.

Speak, strike, redress!” “Brutus, thou sleep’st. Awake.” Such instigations have been often dropped Where I have took them up. “Shall Rome, etc.” Thus must I piece it out: “Shall Rome stand under one man’s awe?” What, Rome? My ancestors did from the streets of Rome The Tarquin drive when he was called a king. 7“Speak. strike. redress!” Am I entreated To speak and strike? 0 Rome, I make thee promise, If the redress will follow. thou receivest Thy full petition at the hand of Brutus!  When looking at both quotes it is evident that they’re both saying that Brutus should not doubt himself but think more highly ofhimself for that he has the power to save the romans from Caesars rise in power. Another piece of evidence that proves Brutus is too trusting is when Brutus allows Antony to live. Most of the conspires think it is not a good idea to keep Mark Antony alive for which he will find a way to revenge Caesar but, Brutus thinks otherwise and says: “Alas. good Cassius, do not think of him/If he love Caesar, all that he can do/ls to himself:

take thought and die for Caesa and that were much he should. for he is given to sports. to wildness and much company.”  Brutus is saying that if Antony loves Caesar so much he’ll just commit suicide because he will not know how to live without Caesar. The final piece of evidence that proves that Brutus acquires the tragic flaw trait is when he trusts that the very fickle Romans will not switch sides when they hear what Antony has to say. Along with being told not to keep Antony alive Brutus was also told it is not a good idea to allow Antony to speak at Caesars funeral, But then again Brutus is inflexible and says: “ ..,What Antony shall speak, I will protest/He speaks by leave and by permission/And that we are contented Caesar shall/Have all true rites and lawful ceremonies/It shall advantage more than do as wrong.” Brutus trust that Antony will not say anything negative towards them and that letting him speak was more of an advantage.

Brutus was clearly wrong in letting him speak and him allowing that led to all the Romans despising the conspires and taking Antony’s side which is not surprising as the Romans are all fickle. Clearly Brutus’ Tragic flaw aids in his downfall which play a part in his role as a tragic hero, Lastly Brutus exhibits the internal flaw characteristic. This is evident when Brutus first thinks of what Cassius says about Caesar during Act 1. Portia notices Brutus has been losing sleep and is no longer eating, She also noticed he had been keeping secrets from her. Portia woke up in the middle of the night and says: ls Brutus sick? And is it physical To walk unbrttced and suck up the humors Of the dank moming’.’ What, is Brutus sick. And will he steal out of his wholesome bed?

To dare the vile contagion of the night And tempt the rheumy and unpurged air To add unto his sickness? No, my Brutus. You have some sick offense within your mind, Which by the right and virtue of my place I ought to know oft (kneels) And upon my knees I charm you by my once-commended beauty, By all your vows of love and that great vow Which did incorporate and make us one That you unfold to me, your self. your half, Why you are heavy and what men tonight Have had to resort to you. For here have been Some six or seven who did hide their faces Even from darkness. (11.1.2697287) Portia is upset because she knows her husband is keeping stuff from her. In addition, Brutus” internal conflict is shown when Brutus see’s the ghost of Caesar on his camp ground in the middle of the night. Brutus woke when he heard a sound, Brutus then got up and saw the ghost of Caesar. Brutus” conversation with Caesars ghost foreshadowed what was to come

When a character see’s a ghost it is a symbol for guilt. Brutus is feeling guilty for his part of killing Caesar. Finally brutus shows internal conflict when he mentions Caesar during his death. When Brutus stabs himself he says: “Farewell, good Strato Caesar. now be still I killed not thee with half so good a will.” Brutus is saying he didn’t kill Caesar half as willingly. Clearly, Brutus exhibits the internal conflict characteristic which helps develop him as the tragic hero. By examining Marcus Brutus’ high rank, tragic flaw and clear internal conflict it is apparent that Marcus Brutus is the tragic hero of the play: The tragedy afJulius Caesar written by William Shakespeare. Marcus Brutus captivates the criteria that correlates with a tragic hero which are high rank. tragic flaw and internal conflict. His high rank is established through is actions and how he is seen by the romans. Furthermore, Brutus exhibits the tragic flaw characteristic that aids in his downfall. Finally, it is shown through the decisions he struggles to that Brutus has a great internal conflict. To conclude Shakespeare provides a clear understanding of what it means to be a tragic hero.

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The Tragic Hero in Julius Caesar, a Play by William Shakespeare. (2023, Feb 22). Retrieved from

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