Julius Caesar: Tragic Hero
Hr. 3 Honors English
Tragic Hero Essay
Sometimes our friends keep us from achieving our goals. We make sacrifices to make our friends a part of our goals and achievements. If a friend gets left out, we stay behind with them to keep them from being alone. Some achievements require us to leave out our friends. This is what happens in the case of Julius Caesar. He became the ruler of Rome, leaving out his good friend Brutus. Brutus and other conspirators assassinated Julius Caesar turning him into a tragic hero. A tragic hero must portray four main traits. The hero may neither be perfect nor ultimate evil, the audience must feel pity or fear for the hero, and must be a ruler or leader; good but with flaw. The hero must also come to recognition; from ignorance to knowledge. William Shakespeare identifies three tragic heroes throughout the play; Caesar, a great ruler who took advantage of his power; Brutus, a gullible noble Roman, and Rome.
Julius Caesar was an honorable man, but with his power, came his corruption and greed in the eyes of Rome’s leaders. Several high political figures in Rome were becoming more and more discontent. Caesar’s friend Brutus tells Cassius, “what means this shouting?/I do fear the people choose Caesar for their king.” (24). Brutus and Cassius felt Caesar was gaining to much attention to quickly. With each amount of increasing support from the Romans, Caesar extended his use of power further. Brutus and the conspirators then go on about Caesar’s abuse of power:
“Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonourable graves.
Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
Cassius uses this line to persuade Brutus into joining him in a conspiracy against Caesar. To Cassius, Caesar was a gigantic Colossus walking all over the common people, ignoring the opinions and thoughts of the Roman people. His abuse of power leads to the discontent of several political figures.
Brutus was a kind noble man; however, he was very easy manipulated. This bad trait eventually molded Brutus into a tragic hero. Cassius tried to persuade Brutus by stating that:
“Brutus and Caesar: what should be in that ‘Caesar’?
Why should that name be sounded more than yours?
Write them together, yours is as fair a name;
Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well;
Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure with ’em,
Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Caesar.”
Cassius asked Brutus what made Caesar so much better than himself to where he should be given the thrown of Rome. Brutus took these persuasion techniques at face value, which eventually led to his involvement with the conspiracy and ultimate downfall. As Brutus left the scene Cassius said to himself:
“Well, Brutus, thou art noble; yet, I see,
Thy honourable metal may be wrought
From that it is disposed: therefore it is meet
That noble minds keep ever with their likes;
For who so firm that cannot be seduced?”
Cassius was aware of Brutus’s loyalty to Caesar, yet still felt confident he could sway Brutus into seeing his motifs clearly. Cassius took advantage of Brutus and swayed him into joining the conspiracy. This noble Roman was brought into a conspiracy he was fighting for all the wrong reasons. His involvement soon led to his downfall making him the second tragic hero.