Is Marcus Brutus a tragic hero?

Topics: Julius Caesar, Roman Republic, Augustus Pages: 3 (760 words) Published: April 21, 2014
Juliette Asten
Mrs. Ricken
AP Language
1 February, 2013
A Tragic Excuse
There is a fine discrepancy between what's right or wrong, and the "tragic hero" is said to be on the controversial cusp. His actions are good intentioned, but flawed. In William Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," Marcus Brutus's elaborate character is argued to be a tragic hero, largely because he appears to meet the three requirements: Being born into nobility but with a fatal flaw, making a self-inflicted mistake, and winning the audience's sympathy. While Brutus may be a complex character with internal conflicts, it is ultimately one's own decision to do what's right. Caesar's life was at Brutus's mercy, and he became the coward he truly is when he drove the dagger into Caesar's heart.

Was assassinating Caesar really necessary? This is a reasonable question many readers/viewers have asked upon the introduction of the play. No, it was not, but the hand that brought about Caesar's death was itching for murder. Brutus could have appealed to the senate regarding Caesar's coronation. Caesar was not yet emperor, and there was still a democracy in order! Brutus fears for tyranny, but in reality, he is the tyrant himself, as he is the one who rebelled with violence. Surely the conspirators couldn't have thought their dastardly plan would not have consequences? Surely they could have foreseen the havoc that ensued Rome post-murder? But, blinded by the thirst for glory, Brutus follows through and kills Julius Caesar--the biggest mistake of his life.

Not only is Marcus Brutus a weak character, but he is a weak friend, too. Caesar's last words are "Et tu, Brute?" (37), translated into, "You too, Brutus?" Oh yes, Brutus also! Caesar fell at the hands of someone he trusted, of someone who, we know by his dying words, he never expected to betray him. Then, when Brutus's best bud Cassius died fighting for him, Brutus simply makes sure that "His funerals shall not be in [their] camp, Lest it...
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