Marcus Brutus: Backstabber or Roman Hero?
Is Brutus really “the noblest Roman of them all?” Whatever Brutus does he wholeheartedly believes is best. He is willing to suffer for the good of Rome, and he was not looking for personal gain by killing Caesar as the other conspirators were. Yet Brutus is undone by his willingness to be persuaded by the people around him, his “tragic flaw.” Brutus’s internal conflict over killing Julius Caesar, a close friend and prominent political figure, is one of the main underlying themes of Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. Though Brutus “loves Caesar well” and has no personal reason to want to harm him, he is worried that if Caesar was to become king he would become a tyrant. Brutus: What means this shouting? I do fear the people choose Caesar for their King.
Cassius: Ay, do you fear it? Then I must think you would not have it so. Brutus: I would not, Cassius, yet I love him well. Cassius recognizes Brutus’s doubts and capitalizes on them. Cassius persuades Brutus that Caesar is not a fit ruler, and that to Brutus is held in higher regard by many. Cassius’s influence solidifies Brutus feelings that although Caesar was a great man he was too ambitious for the good of Rome, and he agrees to assist the conspirators in their plot to kill Caesar. After Caesar is dead Brutus defends his actions to the crowd at Caesars funeral. Brutus: As Caesar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honor him; but as he was ambitious I slew him. There are tears for his love;
joy for his fortune; honor for his valor; and death for his ambition.
Brutus: If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Caesar’s, to him I say that Brutus’ love to Caesar was no less than his. If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Caesar,...
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