In the tragedy of Julius Caesar, even though most people consider Caesar the tragic hero, the other half believe Brutus is the true tragic hero. From both characters' qualities, faults, and more,...

In the tragedy of Julius Caesar, even though most people consider Caesar the tragic hero, the other half believe Brutus is the true tragic hero. From both characters' qualities, faults, and more, who do you think is the true "tragic hero"? Please give your reason and back it up with reference and evidence from the play.

Asked on by melon89

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sciftw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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I'm not sure "most people" would consider Julius Caesar the tragic hero of the play. He does have some elements of a tragic hero. Namely, he dies. Also his misfortune is not entirely deserved, but it is his fault. Caesar is really prideful and doesn't heed multiple warnings (the seer's and his wife's).  

Brutus is a better fit for the tragic hero mantle. First, Brutus is of noble stature (so is Caesar, yes). Brutus is one of Rome's noblemen. He's liked, well respected, and wealthy.  At the end of the play Marc Antony remembers Brutus by saying "the noblest Roman of them all." That's a big deal to be held in higher regard than Caesar. Regarding his personality, Brutus is an idealist. He is always looking for the best in people. He wants to trust people. He doesn't want to lie to them. He wants what is best for people. So how could he kill Caesar then? He did that because he believed that Caesar would become a tyrant and hurt the common good. Brutus "loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more." 

A second tragic hero nod to Brutus comes in the fact that Brutus is good, but not perfect. His desire to trust in others so much eventually leads to his downfall and death, not to mention the following civil war. That's another reason for Brutus to be the tragic hero. His downfall is his fault. But the reader also feels that his downfall is not fully deserved. The reader knows that Brutus is a good man, trying to do right, so it feels horrible that he has to die. Sure we feel bad that Caesar is betrayed and killed, but his death doesn't carry the same sense of loss that Brutus's death does. Lastly, even though Brutus dies, his death still evokes positive memories as stated by Antony with the following quote:

"His life was gentle, and the elements

So mixed in him that Nature might stand up

And say to all the world, 'This was a man!'"

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