Shakespeare's Play: Creating Sympathy for Brutus

Topics: Julius Caesar, Roman Republic, Tragedy Pages: 2 (466 words) Published: February 10, 2014
In spite of the fact that Julius Caesar is the protagonist of the play, Brutus is probably the most important character who has been active more or less through out the play. Shakespeare consciously builds sympathy among the audience right from the point when the character is first introduced by portraying him as a ‘vexed’, helpless soul ‘with himself at war’ torn between patriotism and friendship, giving the audience an opportunity to relate to such a “head versus heart” conflict and not only sympathize but empathize with the character.

Then again in act 2, Shakespeare regenerates the sympathy by means of Brutus’ soliloquy, outlining his sleepless nights’ Between the acting of a dreadful thing
And the first motion’ ever since Cassius first ‘whet’ him against Caesar. ‘The same is then implied by Portia in the same act, this gives the audience a clear idea of how hard it was for Bututs to come to a conclusion. How he ‘walk'd about,
Musing and sighing’ and most importantly it tells the audience that having to make this decision has gotten to him so much that it is even on the urge of perishing his relationship with Portia.

Another pitiful aspect of Brutus’ character is his inability to judge people for who they are and his failure to look beyond his yardstick. Where Brutus thought of Antony as a mere ‘limb’ of Caesar, it is the same ‘limb’ that rose against him. Where Brutus thought of the conspirators as altruists working for ‘Rome’ and the ‘general good’ it was just a veil to their covetous motives.

Shakespeare also choses to kill Portia, Brutus’ wife at the peak of action to reinstate the fact that Brutus’ life has gone ahead tobecome a lamentable tragedy. To add to the tragic drama Shakespeare shows that Brutus’ is aware that the reason for Poria’s horrific death by ‘swallowing fire’ is the ‘impatience’ of his ‘absence’. This leaves the audience thinking as to the amount of guilt, regret and sorrow Brutus’ would be going through in spite of his...
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