Whose tragedy is it in the play Julius Caesar? Would a better title be the Tragedy of Marcus Brutus?William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

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carolkaz34 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hi Katie - Many Shakesperean scholars do believe the play should have been called The Tragedy of Marcus Brutus.  The play does focus on the tragic character of Caesar, his potential leadership, his superstition, and his assassination, but he is killed in the third act before he really has a chance to become "tragic" for anything other than being naive, and getting killed.

Brutus, on the other hand, exhibits the characteristics of a tragic hero.  First, he has Noble Stature - Brutus is a praetor and a pretty high-ranking character in Rome.  Next, he has a Tragic Flaw.  He is too trusting of Cassius and allows himself to be talked into the assassination plot, even though he is a good friend to Caesar at the beginning of the play.  Third, Brutus has free choice.  He does not have to join the conspiracy.  

Fourth, to be a tragic hero, Brutus' punishment must exceed the crime.  Brutus participated in the assassination plot and in fact deals the fatal blow, but Brutus saw own death by suicide as his only way out.  Fifth, the tragic hero always has increased awareness.  Brutus understands in Acts 4 & 5 that his role in the assassination plot was a huge mistake.  Finally, when reading any piece of literature with a tragic hero such as Brutus in Julius Caesar, there is always a catharsis.  The audience feels that we have come through an emotionally draining experience with the character.

Yes, Brutus is definitely the tragic hero of this play.  Hope that helps!  :)

jaiicee | Student

Many people have argued that the play should have been called The Tragedy of Marcus Brutus seeing as Caesar dies in 3.1 and the play mainly focuses around Brutus.


His character shows many characteristics of a protagonist. Brutus is manipulated by Cassius, but in the end realizes that he had made a mistake... I hope that this does make sense, I'm a year younger than you :P

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Julius Caesar

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