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"How is Brutus portrayed as a tragic hero?"

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English Essay "How is Brutus portrayed as a tragic hero?" Throughout the works of Shakespeare, tragedy has always been a vital foundation and a key to his immense successes. His fine mastery of the art became legendary amongst the audiences that watched his various plays. Romeo and Juliet is a prime example of the tragedy he could combine into a stage performance. An Irish poet named Oscar Wilde who was a novelist, dramatist and critic in the late eighteen hundreds once wrote, "There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it." This has an exact correlation to the play Julius Caesar where the tragedy lies in the greed of a man who wants too much. This particular play is based entirely upon dreadful choices leading to demise. The character Brutus in particular is a key personality to the structure of the play in his fall from honour. Being a man of utmost glory and loyalty becomes his biggest weakness. In Act 1 Scene 2 we are presented with the pressure that Cassius weighs upon Brutus' mind. In lines 79-80 the truth of Brutus' troubles become clear. ...read more.


It presents the fractured reasoning of the human mind; the inability to come to a threatening conclusion against all that has been previously believed, a sympathy that everyone has subconsciously acquired through a relation to their own similar experiences. The flaw in the character of Brutus is his own deep thirst for honour. Though this is important in order for the play's theme to coincide with the historical Roman context, it is also a weakness inside the characters personality that was intentionally added to bring the play to a rise in calamity. The character Cassius uses this weakness to an advantage. The deceitful cunning that the he possesses alone pushes Brutus into seeing a whole different side to his own glory. He begins to build a frame for his motives and starts to press upon himself a false story of the higher nobility. This is entirely proven in the eulogy he gives at Caesar's funeral. He speaks of himself in such a manner that he even fools himself into believing he's done nothing wrong, specifically shown in Act 3 Scene 2, lines 20-28 where it says, "If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer: not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more". ...read more.


Hark thee, Clitus." (lines 4-5). With this consequence, the audience will be in a deep sympathy because by this stage they have grown to like this character and feel sorry for his poor decisions if Shakespeare's methods are convincing and will be enthralled in the drama of his exit, admiring the characters honour even after his descent from valour. In conclusion, the character Brutus is shown as a tragic hero due to a range of reasons. If Shakespeare's in depth and intelligent understanding of sympathy and personal familiarities wasn't shown through the play then the audience would not feel the same emotions and therefore would not have experienced the sorrows or have empathized with Brutus' predicaments that he got himself into. Shakespeare plays on the audience's personal tragedies and faults by adding a character mislead by treachery and blinded with the pursuit of an honour that was false from the start. If the audience was not moved by the play, then the character would become wooden and the effect would be obsolete. Brutus' human faults of being vulnerable to deceit and cunning are what make this character so lifelike. The tragedy of this deluded character killing himself at the end of a series of bad consequences brought forth by deception is what makes him such a 'tragic hero'. Laurence Nairne 10D 14/4/05 ...read more.

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