Noble Hero Julius Caesar in the Play by William Shakespeare

A tragic hero is a virtuous character who is destined for defeat. Brutus in Julius Caesar is a noble character who strives to do be moral in all situations, including that of Caesar’s murder. However, his trusting nature eventually results in his demise. Because of his benevolent disposition, his noble qualities, and his downfall, Brutus is the tragic hero. Brutus is the leader of the conspiracy, and his altruistic intentions cause the audience to root for him as a noble character.

Although most of the conspirators join Caesar’s murder for malignant reasons, Brutus only agrees because he believes that it would be the best decision for Rome’s welfare. Brutus spends all night debating whether joining or denying the conspiracy would be the ethical decision. In Act II he says, “It must be by his death and for my part/I know no personal cause to spurn at him,/But for the general.” (II.i.10-12). The audience can clearly portray Brutus as a thoughtful, intelligent character.

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Virtue is Brutus’s main concern in making this important decision. Also, when the conspirators debate whether to kill Antony along with Caesar, Brutus suggests not to, granting Antony amnesty from murder. When Cassius says that they should kill Antony, Brutus says, “Let us be sacrificers, but not butchers, Caius” (II.i.166). Although the rest of the conspirators are blood-hungry, Brutus is able to think humanely due to his virtuous nature. A tragic hero is usually a protagonist that the characters are fond of, and due to his high moral standard, the audience can easily sympathize for Brutus.

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Also, Brutus is known to be a noble character, one that the Roman people respect. For example, when Cassius tries to convince Brutus to join the conspiracy, he says, “I have heard/Where many of the best respect in Rome,/Except immortal Caesar, speaking of Brutus,/And groaning underneath this age’s yoke,/Have wished that noble Brutus had his eyes.” (I.ii.58-62). In this quote, Cassius expresses that Brutus is known as an admirable authority in the Roman society. Brutus is also the leader of the conspiracy. When he accepts the invitation to join the conspiracy, he immediately begins giving orders, claiming his role as the superior. For example, right after he joins the conspiracy, he says, “Send him but hither and I’ll fashion him.” (II.1.220). Self-explanatory in its name, tragic heroes are typically heroes.

Brutus’s leadership in the conspiracy establishes his heroism towards the Roman commoners, former tyrants to Caesar. The final aspect of a tragic hero is the tragedy. Every tragic hero must have a fatal flaw, and in the case of Brutus, it was his trusting nature. Brutus trusts that Antony will not pose as a threat to the conspirators, so he decides not to kill him along with Caesar. He says, “For Antony is but a limb of Caesar./Let us be sacrificers, but not butchers, Caius.” (II.1.165-166).

However, Antony schemes against them to avenge Caesar’s death, contrary to Brutus’s lack of suspicion. Also, he believed that Cassius would lead them to do the right thing in reference to the conspiracy. Even though Cassius is known as a skeptical character, Brutus believes that his plan is moral. Brutus says to Cassius, “That you do love me, I am nothing jealous./What you would work me to, I have some aim.” (I.ii.162-163).

Knowing that Cassius is distrustful, Brutus believes that he would only benefit him. Tragic heroes must have tragic flaws that lead to their downfall, and Brutus’s flaw of naivety leads to his. In conclusion, Brutus is the tragic hero of Julius Caesar because he has unselfish intentions, is a heroic character, and has a fatal flaw, three aspects of a tragic hero. His benign intent sets him apart from the other conspirators, who join the conspiracy because of their hatred of Caesar.

Another quality that divides him from the other murderers is his leadership. Brutus establishes himself as the overseer of the conspiracy within minutes of joining. His characteristics as a leader are similar to characteristics of a stereotypical hero. Lastly, like all tragic heroes, Brutus’s fatal flaw yields his death. His trusting instincts and mistaken judgment prove to be the cause of his death. As all Shakespearean dramas are formatted, Julius Caesar is no different in the presence of a tragic hero.

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Noble Hero Julius Caesar in the Play by William Shakespeare. (2022, Nov 08). Retrieved from

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