Julius Caesar Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

Julius Caesar book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Who is the tragic hero in Julius Caesar

Although the play is named after Julius Caesar, Brutus is best suited to the role of tragic hero. He dies at the end of the play rather than in the middle and is obsessed with personal honor and public duty, to the extent that his sanctimonious obsession could be seen as a tragic flaw. The audience also sees much more of his interior life and mental struggle than it does of Caesar’s.

Expert Answers info

Colin Cavendish-Jones, Ph.D. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Professor, Lawyer

bookM.A. from Oxford University

bookPh.D. from St. Andrews University


calendarEducator since 2019

write2,273 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

There are four principal contenders to be regarded as protagonists in Julius Caesar: Caesar himself, Brutus, Cassius, and Antony. Of these four, Caesar and Brutus best fit the model of Aristotelian tragic hero. They both occupy a high position in public life, and both fall from this eminence partly through a character flaw (hamartia, to use Aristotle’s term) but also partly due to events outside their control.

The fact that the play is named after Julius Caesar suggests that he should be regarded as the hero. Chronology, however, is against him. If Shakespeare had ended the play with Caesar’s assassination, there would have been little doubt of his status. However, it ends with the death of Brutus at Philippi, and with Antony’s short but poignant eulogy on “the noblest Roman of them all.” This is enough to tip the balance in favor of Brutus, and his position becomes conclusive when one considers how much more of Brutus’s interior life the audience sees than it does of...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 899 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write10,219 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

janihash24 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write114 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Susan Hurn eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write2,150 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial