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.

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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...

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Last Reviewed by eNotes Editorial on June 4, 2020