Das Brütus: A Tragic Hero

996 WordsJul 13, 20184 Pages
Das Brütus: A Tragic Hero In The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare, Brutus is the quintessence of a tragic hero. Webster’s Dictionary defines tragic hero as “Any person, especially a man, admired for courage, nobility etc. … in a serious play with an unhappy ending” (277-626). This verbatim definition, however, is useless in an analytical essay. The idea of a tragic hero comes from Aristotle, who thought a tragic hero involved a character of high standing suffering a downfall caused by one or two character flaws. In this story Brutus is a trusted friend of Caesar, but from a series of poor choices he betrays that trust by assisting in Caesar’s assassination, even delivering the death blow. Brutus realizes the error…show more content…
This mimics how many legionnaires and tribunes, the political leaders of a Roman legion, would kill themselves before being taken prisoner. This demise ultimately completes Brutus’ qualification as a tragic hero. Shakespeare uses Brutus as a warning. The flaw a character might have is an attempt to caution the audience to avoid a shortcoming many people share with the protagonist. This discerning quality of a tragic hero is essential when critiquing his or her effectiveness. Brutus’ warning is that a near-perfect character can easily destroy himself. In Julius Caesar, Brutus states, “I know no personal cause to spurn at him, / but for the general” (Shakespeare 911). This democratic idea would have resonated with Shakespeare’s audience: rich enough to be educated, but poor enough to not hate the lower class. Brutus also had a committed, loving relationship with his wife Portia. “You are my true and honorable wife/ as dear to me as the ruddy drops/ that visit my sad heart” (Shakespeare 921). In Elizabethan times this scene would not only make him appear kind and noble; he would seem to be such an ideal citizen that most men would not meet those standards. Brutus’ ultimate downfall by one or two negative traits would have shocked the intended audience and perhaps affected how they viewed themselves, making Brutus a very effective character. Shakespeare created a slightly flawed character have a moment of clarity followed by a violent

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