Julius Caesar--a Tragic Hero

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A common component in Shakespeare’s tragedies is the occurrence of a tragic hero, a character who is usually from a noble family, an respectable man with a fatal flaw that leads to his downfall. The title character in Julius Caesar is the tragic hero. Caesar is an honorable man, loved by a majority of the citizens whose dreadful pride leads to his destruction. Shakespeare wants his audience to know that Caesar was a man of honor loved by most people. In the beginning of the play, the working class men are out in the streets to “make/ holiday to see Caesar and to rejoice in his triumph” (1.1.34-35) showing how much they love him. Later, after Caesar’s assassination, Antony addresses the conspirators, speaking of Caesar having “the most noble blood of all this world” (3.1.156). Further illustrating Caesar’s goodness and the people’s loyalty to him is the reading of his will, in which he provides money and land for all the citizens. The crowd, upon hearing Antony read the will, erupts into a frenzy, burning down the houses of Brutus and Cassius, shouting “Most noble Caesar! We’ll revenge his death” (3.2.244). Although Caesar was honorable and loved by the people, he was very prideful. For example, “What can be avoided/ Whose end is purposed by the mighty gods? / Yet Caesar shall go forth; for these predictions/ Are to the world in general as to Caesar” (2.2.27-29). Caesar compares himself with the gods and avoids Calpurnia’s warnings to Turner 2

stay home from the Senate. If he heeds her warning, he might not be murdered. To further exemplify Caesar’s pride, he declares, “Know, Caesar doth not wrong, nor without cause/ Will he be satisfied” (3.1.47-48). Caesar says he does nothing wrong, and he will not allow Publius to return from banishment. Speaking of himself, Caesar states, “Yet in the number I do know of but one/ That unassailable holds on his rank, / Unshaked of motion; and that I am he” (3.1.68-70). Caesar is saying that he is the only one that...