How could the tragic flaws of Caesar and Brutus in Julius Caesar be compared?

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Julius Caesar 's tragic flaw could arguably be his complacency. He ignores the warning of his wife, who dreamed of his statue spouting blood, and he also ignores the warning of the soothsayer, who tells him to "Beware the ides of March." In response to his wife's warnings, Caesar says...

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Julius Caesar's tragic flaw could arguably be his complacency. He ignores the warning of his wife, who dreamed of his statue spouting blood, and he also ignores the warning of the soothsayer, who tells him to "Beware the ides of March." In response to his wife's warnings, Caesar says that "Cowards die many times before their deaths; / The valiant never taste of death but once." The implication is that Caesar puts his own notions of courage above the clearly ominous signals that point to his own death. So, this is perhaps more than complacency—it is something like pride. Perhaps Caesar's pride is his real tragic flaw.

Brutus participates in the assassination of Caesar because of his love for Rome. Cassius knows that this love of Rome is Brutus's weakness, and he exploits it when he tries to convince him to join the conspiracy in act 1, scene 2. Indeed, Cassius asks Brutus, "what trash is Rome, / What rubbish and what offal, when it serves / For the base matter to illuminate / So vile a thing as Caesar!"

Cassius's persuasion works, and in act 2, scene 1, Brutus decides that he must act to kill Caesar. He asks himself, "Shall Rome stand under one man's awe?" and then declares, "O Rome, I will make thee promise: / If the redress will follow, thou receivest / Thy full petition at the hand of Brutus!" Brutus acts honorably inasmuch as he does not kill Caesar for personal ambition or because he is envious—he has become genuinely convinced that Caesar is bad for Rome. Thus, Brutus's tragic flaw is either his naivety in being persuaded so easily by Cassius or his blinding devotion to Rome.

Both Caesar and Brutus have tragic flaws that, if looked at kindly, might point to the goodness of their respective characters. Caesar's tragic flaw is rooted in courage and pride, and Brutus's tragic flaw is his patriotic devotion to Rome. However, both Caesar and Brutus demonstrate that they are naive or complacent. One believes too readily in false, cynical warnings, and the other too readily dismisses warnings which are well meaning and prescient.

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Brutus’s tragic flaw was his need to be noble, and Caesar’s was his arrogance and ambition.

A tragic flaw is a flaw that causes a character’s destruction.  Caesar and Brutus were both ambitious, but in different ways. Caesar wanted power. He believed that he knew what was best for Rome. Brutus also believed that he knew what was best for Rome, but his tragic flaw was his need to be seen as noble. In his quest to maintain his reputation, he destroyed himself.

Shakespeare demonstrates that Caesar is ambitious in various ways. He refuses to listen to the soothsayer who warns him. He also does not even consider reading Artemidorus’s warning letter. However, the most obvious example is when Caesar refuses Metellus Cimber’s plea to pardon his brother. He does not even consider it, even with all of those senators begging him. He says that he never changes his mind.

I could be well moved, if I were as you:
If I could pray to move, prayers would move me:
But I am constant as the northern star,
Of whose true-fix'd and resting quality
There is no fellow in the firmament. (Act 3, Scene 1)

Caesar is killed mainly because the other senators do not feel that he will be able to work with them. They think he is going to become a tyrant and make himself king of Rome. Therefore, Caesar’s fatal flaw is his arrogance and ambition.

Cassius convinces Brutus that the only way to protect Rome from Caesar is to assassinate him.  The conspirators all have different motives, such as revenge or greed. Brutus really believes that he is doing the right thing. At first, he questions his decision, but he eventually decides that Caesar must die.

In his speech to the people at Caesar’s funeral, Brutus explains to them why he felt Caesar had to die.

As Caesar loved me, I weep for him;
as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was
valiant, I honour him: but, as he was ambitious, I
slew him. There is tears for his love; joy for his
fortune; honour for his valour; and death for his
ambition.  (Act 3, Scene 2)

He tells them that they are acting as slaves if they do not oppose Caesar, and that under Caesar they lived as slaves.  He continues this liberator imagery as he raises his army against Antony and Octavius. Brutus really does believe that he is in the right.

Brutus does not listen to anyone who gives him advice. Cassius tries to sway him several times, before and after Caesar’s death. Each time, Brutus shows that he has no interest in listening to Cassius. For example, Cassius wanted him to kill Antony as well, but Brutus did not want them to be considered “butchers.” Brutus always acts with his reputation in mind.

While both Brutus and Caesar are ambitious in different ways, Brutus does not have Caesar's arrogance. He is acting to keep his reputation intact, but he does not care as much about himself as the legacy of Rome. He wants it to be known that they killed Caesar not because they wanted power but because it was the right thing to do to stop him. Caesar was killed, and Brutus killed himself, because of these flaws.

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