Mark Antony, not Julius Caesar, is the true hero in Julius Caesar. How far do you agree with this statement?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Readers have long noted that, despite the fact that the play is named after him, Julius Caesaris not really  about Julius Caesar, and in fact focuses on the deeds of other characters. In that case, I could agree to a certain extent that Mark Antony is the true...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Readers have long noted that, despite the fact that the play is named after him, Julius Caesar is not really about Julius Caesar, and in fact focuses on the deeds of other characters. In that case, I could agree to a certain extent that Mark Antony is the true hero of the play. After all, Antony takes over a significant amount of power after Caesar's death, and he essentially leads the efforts to rise up against the conspirators and punish them for murdering Caesar. Based on these details, it is possible to see Antony as the hero, especially if you see the conspirators as evil.

However, you also have to take into account that much of what Antony does in the play is motivated by self-interest and the desire for power, rather than a desire to do good or to help Rome. As such, it's often hard to see him as a hero. Instead, many critics have noted that Brutus seems to be the tragic hero of the play. Only Brutus acts out of the selfless desire to protect Rome and its citizens, and he loses his life because he is noble, heroic, and trusting. Indeed, Brutus originally is reluctant to kill Caesar in the first place, and he only agrees to join the conspirators when he believes that common Romans want him to. Thus, if we're going to talk about heroes in Julius Caesar, it makes more sense to me to call Brutus the hero, rather than Mark Antony. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team