Character sketch of Marcus Brutus in Julius Caesar.

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Marcus Brutus is portrayed as a conflicted man, who is genuinely concerned about the citizens of Rome during the rise of Julius Caesar. Brutus is referred to as the "noblest Roman of them all" because of his sincere motivation to conspire against Caesar. Unlike the other conspirators, Brutus is not interested in advancing his social status or gaining increased authority throughout Rome. He is concerned about the future of the Republic and aspires to prevent Caesar from ruling as dictator for life. Brutus knows the dangers of giving one man total authority and is convinced that Caesar is ambitious enough to become a monarch. Despite Brutus's loyalty to the Roman population, he is also a close, trusted friend of Julius Caesar. Their personal relationship makes Brutus's decision even more difficult as he wrestles with the decision to conspire against his friend.

Despite Brutus's noble personality and positive reputation, he is portrayed as a rather naive individual, who makes several costly decisions throughout the play. Cassius and the other conspirators take advantage of Brutus because his support is integral to their success. They realize that Brutus is a respected figure throughout Rome and the masses will favor their decision to assassinate Caesar if Brutus supports and conspires with them. Brutus believes the fake letters Cassius writes and agrees to participate in Caesar's assassination. Brutus then makes the costly decision to allow Mark Antony to live and speak at Caesar's funeral, which ends up turning the masses against him and the other Senators.

Brutus goes on to lead his army against Octavius and Antony and reveals his pure intentions during an argument with Cassius. Brutus also reveals his guilt for conspiring against Caesar when he sees his ghost before the final battle. Brutus once again portrays his honorable disposition by running through his own sword at the end of the play rather than being captured by Octavius. Overall, Marcus Brutus is depicted as a noble, genuine man, who is conflicted about assassinating Julius Caesar and makes several costly decisions, which lead to his tragic death.

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Brutus is one of the main figures in Shakespeare's work, Julius Caesar. He is characterized as a staunch supporter of the Roman Republic. This is to say that the wants a government of checks and balances and believes in the importance of the senate. This point is important to keep in mind, because Brutus' ancestor drove out the last king of Rome to establish the Republic. So, the Republic is something that runs deep in the blood of Brutus. So, he opposes any man being dictator, let along dictator for life, even if it is his friend, Caesar.

With all that said, Brutus is also characterized as one who has genuine fondness for Caesar. This affection is what make his act so tragic. Also Brutus is portrayed a man of great honor. His enemies know this and therefore use this to enlist the help of Brutus. From a historic point of view, Brutus is characterized in a similar way to Cato, another man of honor and principle.

Based on the above points, we can say that while others kill Caesar out of envy and rivalry, Brutus does so out of loyal to the state. He is the only conspirator that actually plots to kill Caesar for the sake of Rome. He is sort of a throw back to the early Republic. We can even say that he embodies the virtues of Rome. For this reason he is the tragic hero. He is torn between his love for his friend and the state. He chooses the later, as any good Roman would.

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Julius Caesar

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