Why Is Julius Caesar A Tragic Hero

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There is a common misconception about who exactly the tragic hero of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is; most believe it to be Caesar himself. This is understandable, considering the title of the play is Caesar’s own name; it is obvious why most would equate Caesar as being the tragic hero of his own story. However, with closer reading and analyzation, it becomes clear that Caesar should not receive credit for this particular role. Through other supporting characters of the play, such as Cassius, and different qualities that make a tragic hero, it becomes easy to identify the candidate as none other than one of Caesar’s closest friends and confidants. Shakespeare’s play offers a new perspective on the folly of humankind and their lack of foresight, …show more content…
Brutus’ naivety got the best of him because of how easily he put his trust in people. For example, when Brutus allows himself to trust Mark Antony after him and the conspirators murder Caesar, the outcome backfires on the conspirators tremendously “‘and in the pulpit, as becomes a friend, speak in the order of his funeral’ says Antony. ‘You shall, Mark Antony’ says Brutus” (Act III, Scene i, 241-243). By trusting Mark Antony, Brutus doomed himself and the other conspirators to the wrath of the Roman people because of Antony’s speech at Caesar’s funeral, which revealed their malice aforethought to the citizens of Rome. This also leads to Brutus’ second flaw, his idealism. Brutus pursues impractical ideas like letting Mark Antony make a speech or insisting Cassius and himself take their armies to Philippi instead of waiting for Antony and Octavius to come to them, even when he is advised against these decisions. “Well, to our work alive. What do you think of marching to Philippi presently?’ says Brutus’ ‘I do not think it good.’ ‘Here’s why… weakening his own capacities, while we, lying still, are rested, energetic, and nimble’ says Cassius.” (Act IV, Scene iii, 202-208). Moreover, Brutus’ sense of honor is his last major flaw. For instance, Cassius uses Brutus’ honor to deceive him into making his and the conspirators’ …show more content…
Equally important is Brutus’ transition into a more self-aware state. He reflects over his past actions and where his follies occurred. This is a quality one must have by the end of the play to be considered a tragic hero. To emphasize this point further, “O Julius Caesar, thou art mighty yet! Thy spirit walks abroad and turns our swords in our own proper entrails.” (Act V, Scene iii, 100-102). This quote shows Brutus slowly gaining a more self-aware mindset. He is beginning to realize the pointlessness of his and the conspirators actions while also coming to the conclusion that in killing Caesar, they have condemned themselves to death by their own hand. With this in mind, we see this self- aware mindset carry on to Brutus’ own death. “Farewell, good Strato. (Runs on his sword) Caesar, now be still. I killed not thee with half so good a will. (Dies)” (Act V, Scene v, 55-58). By killing himself Brutus recaptures his fate into his own hands once more. By taking his own life Brutus acted on his new self-aware state of mind and proved himself a tragic

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