Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar": Brutus is a Tragic Hero

Brutus is a Tragic Hero

Brutus possesses in abundance the characteristics of a tragic hero: hubris (pride) and hamartia (tragic flaw). He is full of the pride of ancestry, having been descended from Marcus Junius Brutus who had driven the Tarquins from the streets of Rome when they were called kings.

His tragic flaws are as follows:
1. His failure to understand that Caesarism is the spirit of the times. It is impossible to destroy Caesarism just by the mere killing of Caesar.
2. He has no strategy or plan regarding the form of government that will replace Caesarism.
3. He refuses to be bound by an oath of unity and loyalty.
4. He objects the inclusion of Cicero in the conspiracy. His silver hairs and silver tongue could have been useful.
5. He refuses the proposal that Mark Antony should die with Caesar.
6. Brutus confides the plot to Portia who has all the weaknesses of a woman.
7. He allows Antony to speak at the funeral of Caesar.
8. Against Caussius’ better judgment, he insists on leaving the vantage ground of the hills and moves to Philippi. This is a great error and against the cardinal principle of warfare: “Always take the higher ground”.
9. He is a stoic who is equally indifferent to pain and pleasure.
10. All the same, he was the greatest Roman of them all (a high tribute from Antony).


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