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"The elements that define Julius Ceasar as tragedy, do not concern Ceasar as much as...

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user6063512 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted July 31, 2013 at 5:58 PM via web

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"The elements that define Julius Ceasar as tragedy, do not concern Ceasar as much as they concern Marcus Brutus, and thus it would be more appropriate for Shakespear to have entitled this play The Tragedy of Marcus Brutus". Is this an appropriate observation to make regarding the William Shaekspeare's Julius Caesar? Discuss, using relevant textual references to support your answer.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 31, 2013 at 8:50 PM (Answer #1)

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Redefining William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar as The Tragedy of Marcus Brutus would depend upon one's individual interpretation both Julius Caesar and Marcus Brutus. While both men contain tragic flaws (or hamartia), one seems to be most certainly more tragic than the other.

For example, Julius Caesar does prove to be arrogant and ambitious (seen with his dismissal of the apothecary and his three time refusal to rule Rome), Marcus Brutus possesses many more tragic flaws (overconfidence, naivety, and impatience). His overconfidence and naivety show when he allows Antony to speak at Caesar's funeral. His impatience shows when he refuses to wait to battle Antony.

Also, the play continues on after the death of Julius Caesar. The movement of the play centers around Brutus and his own concern for Rome (illustrated by his constant mantra--"not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more"). Although Caesar's death is certainly tragic (given the upheaval it causes), the play's true action revolves around Brutus and his own tragic downfall. 

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