The Tragic Hero of Julius Caesar

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Toby Le
Period 4
English
20 March 2013
Works of tragedy have been around since the earliest times of Greece, if not longer. In these tragedies, the downfall of the "tragic hero", or the main character destined to fall, is portrayed to the audience. In one of the most famous tragic plays ever written, Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare gives the downfall of many characters. Given the case, there have been many arguments about who the tragic hero really is. Despite the fact that the play is named after Julius Caesar, the tragic hero of Shakespeare's play is Marcus Brutus.

As the tragic hero of the story, Brutus faces a tragic dilemma, a situation where every option will result in disaster for the character. These are common in tragic works, and usually help the reader establish who the tragic hero really is. In the events leading up to the assassination of Julius, Marcus Brutus was caught between two difficult choices, both of them with a disastrous result. One choice Brutus could have made was to take no action against Julius, leading to Caesar being crowned as a king (bringing a possible reign of tyranny). The other option was to kill Caesar, who, at the time, hasn't done any wrong yet. Brutus had decided to help kill Caesar, exclaiming to the other conspirators "Oh that we then could come by Caesar's spirit and not dismember Caesar!" (720). Brutus had wished that there was a way to settle this conflict without the death of his friend. This proves that Brutus was in a tragic dilemma, forcing him to be torn between either killing Caesar and his ambition, or to let him obtain the power of a king, a power possible of bringing the Romans to slaves. In the tragic story Julius Caesar, Marcus Brutus experiences a tragic dilemma, a problem where every outcome results in disaster for the tragic hero. Because Brutus is the character who has a tragic dilemma, as well as the many other elements of a tragic hero, Marcus Brutus is the tragic hero of Julius Caesar.

Brutus is the tragic hero of Julius Caesar. He contains every element required of a tragic hero, one of them being a hamartia (or tragic flaw). The tragic flaw of a hero is a trait that one would usually admire, but in the tragic hero, is what causes him his demise. In the story, Brutus had assisted Caius Cassius and many others in a conspiracy to murder his own friend, Caesar. Hesitant at first, Brutus ended up being one of Caesar's murderers. In his explanation to the people of Rome, he gave them the quote "Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more" (747). He then continued to explained to the crowd that he had helped kill Julius for the welfare of Rome. This being said, it is safe to conclude that Brutus' tragic flaw is his love and dedication for Rome. His nobility had led him to kill Caesar, the action which started his rapid downfall. Marcus Brutus, then, has a hamartia, one of the requirements of being a tragic hero. Therefore, the tragic hero of Julius Caesar is Marcus Brutus.

The fate Brutus faces proves himself to be the tragic hero of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Marcus Brutus, like every other main character of a tragedy, goes through a peripeteia, or reversal of action. This peripeteia demonstrates the turning point, or in other words, the inevitable point of downfall for the hero. After the death of Caesar, Rome found itself at a war between two powers: Brutus and Cassius versus Octavius and Antony. Cassius had lost his battle against Antony, while Brutus had won his against Octavius. However, soon it became evident that Brutus would not become the victor of the war. In a final conversation with this allies, Brutus acknowledges to them "Our enemies have beat us to the pit" (791). This signals the turning point of the story where Brutus loses everything. Throughout the entire story, Brutus had lost many things: his position of power, his friends, even his wife. Now Brutus was about to lose the only thing he had left: his life. This...
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