While Shakespeare casts Brutus in a relatively favorable light as an honorable, selfless man, one could argue that Brutus possesses several villainous attributes. Even though Brutus cares deeply about the Roman populace and is manipulated by Cassius, he proves that he is a villain by betraying his close friend and...
While Shakespeare casts Brutus in a relatively favorable light as an honorable, selfless man, one could argue that Brutus possesses several villainous attributes. Even though Brutus cares deeply about the Roman populace and is manipulated by Cassius, he proves that he is a villain by betraying his close friend and assassinating a well-liked, benevolent leader.
Before murdering Julius Caesar, Brutus struggles to come to terms with the fact that he is about to kill his friend. Caesar views Brutus as a close ally and is astonished that Brutus would betray him. By betraying Caesar, Brutus is portrayed as a deceitful, heartless villain.
In addition to betraying his close friend, Brutus proceeds to bathe his hands in Caesar's blood, which is a disturbing, unsettling image. Brutus's decision to bathe his hands in Caesar's blood depicts him as a violent, intimidating villain. Shortly after assassinating Julius Caesar, Brutus tells the senators,
Stoop, Romans, stoop, / And let us bathe our hands in Caesar’s blood / Up to the elbows, and besmear our swords. / Then walk we forth, even to the marketplace, / And waving our red weapons o'er our heads / Let’s all cry, “Peace, freedom, and liberty! (3.1.116-120)
After successfully murdering Julius Caesar, Brutus spares Antony's life and allows him to speak at Caesar's public funeral, which is a terrible decision. During Antony's speech, he paints Caesar in a positive light and portrays him as a selfless, generous politician. Mark Antony tells the masses,
You all did see that on the / Lupercal I thrice presented him a kingly crown, / Which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition? / Yet Brutus says he was ambitious, / And, sure, he is an honorable man. / I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke, / But here I am to speak what I do know. / You all did love him once, not without cause. (3.2.95-101)
Antony's convincing speech and moving evidence suggest that Brutus murdered a benevolent, kind leader, which is a villainous action. Brutus did not kill a tyrant but assassinated a respected, beloved public figure. If one were to consider Brutus's betrayal, his bloody actions, and the fact that he assassinated a revered, altruistic leader, one could certainly argue that he is a villain.