Is ambition the cause of tragedy in the play of Julius Caesar?This is related to my English coursework. The question allows debate so any interpretations are appreciated. Specific points in the...

Is ambition the cause of tragedy in the play of Julius Caesar?

This is related to my English coursework. The question allows debate so any interpretations are appreciated. Specific points in the play or characters that display ambition or whatever you think the cause of the tragedy is would be greately appreciated.

Asked on by emmaexelby

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lsumner's profile pic

lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

In The Tragey of Julius Caesar, the main character Caesar has become overly ambitious. He desires to crown himself king. In Act I, Scene ii, Brutus fears this action:

What means this shouting? I do fear the people 
Choose Caesar for their king.(85) 

Cassius picks up on Brutus' fear and says:

Ay, do you fear it? 
Then must I think you would not have it so. 

Brutus and Cassius have a conversation about Caesar's ambition of becoming king. Cassius begins convincing Brutus that Caesar must die for his ambition.

Clearly, Brutus was afraid that Caesar would have made slaves of all the people; therefore, he killed Caesar:Would you rather Caesar were living, and you all die slaves, than that Caesar were dead, so you all live freemen? As Caesar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honor him; but, as he was ambitious, I killed him.

Because Caesar was ambitious, Brutus killed him. Brutus loved Caesar but he loved Rome more:

There are tears for his love; joy for his fortune; honor for his valor, and death for his ambition. Who is here so low that they would rather be a slave? If there are any, speak, because I have offended him. Who here is so rude that they wouldn’t be a Roman? If there are any, speak, because I have offended him. Who is here so vile that he will not love his country? If there are any, speak, because I offended him.

It is clear that Brutus is hurting over having had to kill Caesar, but because of Caesar's ambition, Brutus is left with no choice. 

Sources:

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farthingale's profile pic

Zac Egs | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted on

Hi,

In tragedies there is always a tragic flaw which is called hamartia or ambition. That is to say that the hero cannot tame his volitions and his urges and is compelled to yield. He is tempted. Hamartia leads to hubris (excessive pride). The excessive pride of the hero leads him to death which is the only way out. The principle of nemesis (or divine wrath) can act freely.
The hero seems to have been only a small thing in the general course of the universe.

Of course my answer is incomplete but I hope it will be helpful.

Best,

@ZacEgs

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