CP English 10
1 March 2014
In Shakespeare's play "Julius Caesar", there are deaths, tragedies, and of course, a tragic hero. A tragic hero is a person of noble birth with heroic or potentially heroic qualities. In order to be identified as a tragic hero, a character must have at least one fatal flaw. Throughout the play a few main characters present themselves as possibilities for being the tragic hero, like Ceasar for example, but there really is only one person to fit the part. Brutus is a perfect example of a tragic hero. He has the characteristics that make up a tragic hero. Shakespeare demonstrates how Brutus is a strong tragic hero who has a tragic flaw. Brutus' tragic flaw is that he is very trustworthy, and is too honest. Brutus also demonstrates many acts of affection toward other people. Brutus is a general for the Empire and he is respected and is seen as a noble man and true “Roman” by almost all people. Shakespeare develops Brutus' tragic flaw over the course of the play, as more people manipulate his trust and his honesty. He has a tragic flaw that causes his downfall and at the end he realizes his mistake. In “Julius Caesar”, Brutus displays the traits of a tragic hero throughout this play. His tragic flaw is his being too naive. He makes an error in judgment, and when this error took place it causes his own downfall. Brutus causes his own downfall when after killing Caesar all of Rome turns against the conspirators. All these events cause his death.
The main reason that Brutus deserves to be called a tragic hero is because of his noble personality. First of all, throughout the play, he never deceives anyone. even though he did kill Caesar,he knew it was for the good of Rome, not to deceive Caesar. Everything that he did was for a beneficial reason. Even though he killed Antony's best friend, Antony still recognized Brutus as "the noblest Roman of them all." He does this in Act 5, Scene 5, after Brutus' death because Brutus the only conspirator that actually killed Caesar because he "loved Caesar less but loved Rome more." He cared more about others than he did himself. For instance, in the process of killing Caesar, he could have easily backed out because he knew he might have been punished, but he knew in the long run, that it would help the plebeians most. Another example of his selflessness is in Act 2, Scene 1. Brutus decides not to tell Portia his plans for the murder of Caesar. He feels she already has enough stress in her life and does not need to worry or deal with his plans.
Brutus also demonstrated many acts of affection towards other people. In Act 1, Scene 2, he is reluctant to join Cassius's conspiracy because he did not want to go against Caesar. He had to weigh his choices and in Act 3, Scene 2, Brutus killed Caesar only because he is afraid of what will happen to Rome if Caesar remained ruler. He knew the commoners’ life would be difficult with Ceasar still in power. He realizes what a honorable man Caesar was. This is shown again in the same Act and Scene when Brutus allows Antony to speak at Caesar's funeral even though Cassius highly disagreed. Brutus realized Caesar deserved a proper ceremony, and that the best way to do that would be to let Caesar's best friend speak. He finally shows his care for others in Act 5, Scene 5. In the scene Brutus kills himself because Cassius died.
All tragic heroes carry a character flaw that leads to their downfall. Brutus' tragic flaw was being naive. He thought that everything was good in the world, and that all men were honorable. He believed all that people told him and felt no one would lie or deceive him. Just because he did not betray anyone, he believed the world would return this act. This characteristic led him to his death. All that he trusted deceived him at one time or another during the play. He allows others, like Cassius and Antony to betray him. He is too trustful and does not realize what people are capable of doing to him after making them his friend. Due to this tragic flaw, a downfall of the character occurred soon after. The events that occurred because of Brutus' niceness led to his downfall and death. This is when the fake letters are sent to him from the conspirators. This was all a lie to get Brutus to join with the conspirator for Cassius knew he could not do it without Brutus' help. Brutus believes these letters are from the people of Rome and agrees to the death of Caesar. Another example of this niceness takes place in Act 3, Scene 2. Brutus decides to allow Antony to speak to show honor to Caesar. In the end, the decision ruins him. Antony gets everyone to believe that the conspirators are evil and they must get back at him. In result, a war breaks out. His last error was not so much of a naive trait, it was just pure desire. This fault occurred when he starts the battle without telling Cassius. Brutus knows that it’s time to strike and knows that he must start the battle. There isn’t any time to tell Cassius. The choice in the end was the main reason for killing himself. He commits suicide because he realizes it’s better for himself to commit suicide than become captured and dragged throughout Rome.
Another characteristic is that characters have to learn from their mistakes. This characteristic fits Brutus perfectly. When Brutus and Cassius are planning to fight, Caesar and Antony get into an argument and Brutus realizes that he can’t trust Cassius any longer
With all of Brutus's characteristics he is no doubt the tragic hero of this play. He is a good man and I think Antony sums it up well in his last part in the play.
In the end, Brutus is defeated because of his tragic flaw. Brutus was naive and did not recognize the real ways of which the people he trusted. Brutus is the real tragic hero of Shakespeare's “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar”.