Who do you think was the tragic hero in Julius Caesar? Why? Was it Brutus because of all the things he did for Rome?

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linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What happened to Brutus was tragic. However, if you look at the play only in the sense of the genre tragedy, then you have to see Julius Caesar as the tragic hero.

In Greek tragedy, the hero must be someone of noble birth, such as Caesar; the lives of ordinary people were just too uninteresting. This hero must have some kind of fatal flaw that does him in, such as pride or stubbornness or ignorance. Caesar's fatal flaw is his pride, which the Greeks called hubris. The eNotes Guide to Literary Terms defines it as

arrogance, excessive self-pride and self-confidence. The word was used to refer to the emotions in Greek tragic heroes that led them to ignore warnings from the gods and thus invite catastrophe. It is considered a form of hamartia or tragic flaw that stems from overbearing pride and lack of piety.

Caesar's pride is masked by false humility. We know good and well that he wants to be king of Rome, but he keeps turning down the crown because he wants the people to believe that they ultimately convinced him to accept the honor. This same pride made him ignore Calpurnia's plea to stay home: What kind of man would the people think he was? And that pride made him hurry to his fate instead of reading the note that might have saved his life.

I say Caesar was his own worst enemy!

booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Brutus is the tragic hero in Julius Caesar. He is a great man: a fine warrior, well-loved by Caesar, and dedicated to the well-being of Rome over his own welfare. He dies, and his death is a result of his own tragic flaw, which I believe is his naivete. Brutus believes the people will be oppressed if Caesar becomes "king," though Caesar has (to this point) refused the title. Brutus believes that the only way Rome can be saved is by taking Caesar's life. He makes an error in judgment by believing that he and Cassius are on the same page. Cassius wants Caesar dead because Cassius is jealous.

Brutus is foolish to believe that the other men in Rome's government (especially Marc Antony) will step quietly aside after Caesar is assassinated: these men are unscrupulous and eager to take Caesar's power. Brutus will not only appear a threat to this, but he is the perfect scapegoat. Brutus is short-sighted and too idealistic; but I sympathize with him...not in his capacity to murder, but in his willingness to give up his life for his country.

mrerick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The other way to view Brutus as the tragic hero is giving him the role of central character according to the Elizabethan 5 Act Play Format.  Brutus is introduced to us as an important character to the plot in act one.   He then gains power throughout the rising action of act two while first agreeing to, then planning the assassination of Caesar.  He is certainly involved in the conflict of act three, the killing of Caesar.  Now, as a tragic hero, it is in act three that our central character should begin to lose power.  We see that as Marc Antony reveals his true feelings and is planning on building an army against Brutus.  Throughout the falling action of act four Brutus continues to lose power, and, of course, he is resolved in act five through his own suicide. 

Marcus Brutus is one of Shakespeare's most accurately written tragic heroes in accordance to this format.  It is quite easy to follow his rise and fall throughout each act.

Susan Woodward eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree that Marcus Brutus is the tragic hero of Julius Caesar.  He truly believed that Caesar would have had a negative impact on Rome, and since Brutus put his country before his friends and even his family, he joined the conspiracy to assassinate Caesar.  Even though Caesar was his friend, Brutus' loyalty as a Roman citizen came first.  Brutus' tragic flaw is that he is not a very good judge of character, and he trusts Cassius.  He also underestimates Marc Antony and allows him to speak to the crowd after Caesar's death.  Although Antony does as promised in that he does not say anything derogatory against the conspirators, his use of verbal irony and dramatic actions turns the crowd into an angry mob.  When Brutus finally realizes his role in the destruction of Rome that was worse than he believed Caesar would have done, Brutus commits suicide making him "the nobelest Roman of them all".

bettygonecrazy | Student

Macrus Brutus

no doubt

nidhi11 | Student

i think the hero of the play is caesar because he dominates the play b4 & after his death.

chrisbaker1 | Student

Brutus is the tragic hero because his fate was sealed by his own actions. He killed Caesar becasue he beleived he was helping his homeland. "not that I loved Caeser less, But that I loved Rome more.

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Julius Caesar

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