10th Grade Honors Literature
07 November 2012
Two of the main characters in William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, Julius Caesar and Marcus Brutus, could both arguably be the tragic hero of the play. Julius Caesar is a powerful leader, but his love of power overcomes him and ultimately turns him into something far from a hero. Marcus Brutus, on the other hand, has a naïve passion for his people, which is much stronger than his love of his friend. In the end, his love of his people causes him to make choices he would not otherwise make. Although Caesar is a strong leader, Marcus Brutus’s deep yet naïve love for Rome over that of his friend, makes him the true tragic hero.
Julius Caesar is arguably the most significant ruler in ancient history, having acquired rule over the entire continent of Europe minus Germany. His leadership abilities and elite armies make him stronger than all of the neighboring leaders in the Western world. However, his overzealous confidence and greed for power make him a dangerous and reckless leader for his people. “The abuse of greatness,” according to Brutus in Act II, “is when it disjoins / Remorse from power” (Shakespeare 715). The likeliness of Caesar might soon claim the throne poses and imminent threat to the people of Rome. Fearing that Caesar could likely become king, the Senate turns against him, and a plot to assassinate Caesar soon forms.
Marcus Brutus has a deep love for Caesar, as they are the closest of companions. However, Brutus has an even deeper love for his countrymen. “—not that I loved Caesar less, but that I / loved Rome more” (Shakespeare 747). The fact that his love for the latter is stronger than his love for his friend helps him realize the consequences of Caesar being crowned king. As Brutus says in Act II, “And therefore think him as a serpent’s egg / Which hatched would as his kind grow mischievous, / And kill him in the shell” (Shakespeare 715). Caesar’s love for...
Cited: The Language of Literature. Evanston: McDougal Littell, 2004. Print.
Shakespeare, William. “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar.” The Language of Literature. Ed.
Evanston: McDougal Littell, 2004. 690-793. Print.
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