Marcus Brutus as the Tragic Hero in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

1267 Words6 Pages
Brutus as the Tragic Hero in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

Because of Shakespeare's popularity among scholars and literary critics, his plays have been studied time after time. In the four hundred or so years since they were written, Shakespeare's plays and other literary masterpieces have been categorized. Many of them, including Shakespeare's portrayal of Julius Caesar's murder and the resulting events for Rome and for Caesar's conspirators, have been put into the "tragedies" category. According to the specifications and qualifications for a Shakespearean tragedy, Brutus, one of the men who conspired against Julius Caesar, can be considered a tragic hero. Despite the fact that Brutus can be considered a tragic hero, I don't feel that
…show more content…
His final decision to kill Caesar eventually leads to a civil war and to Brutus' suicide (the suffering and death requirement of a Shakespearean tragic hero).

The second element of a Shakespearean tragedy is the role of chance - chance plays a role in the final outcome of the tragedy, but the decisions characters make are more important and more influential to the outcome. In Julius Caesar, there are many examples of chance throughout the play. One such example is when Brutus lets his army fight too soon. Brutus was probably very anxious about the battle and wanted to get it over with, especially since he had seen Caesar's ghost. Seeing a ghost is not an everyday incident, but a strange, chance occurrence. After the argument between Cassius and Brutus in 4.3, Caesar's ghost visits Brutus and says, "To tell thee thou shalt see me at Philippi." (4.3.283). This uncommon supernatural event got Brutus worried and made him want to get the battle over with before something bad happened at Philippi.

The third element of a Shakespearean tragedy is that the tragic hero must take a moral stand. Once he or she has made that moral stand, the outcome of the tragedy is unchangeable. I think that the moral stand that Brutus makes is when he decides to kill Caesar. The people of Rome loved Caesar and, although Brutus is able to persuade them to see his side, Antony is able to change their minds and get the people against Brutus. Some people would argue
Get Access