Why does Brutus kill himself in the end of Julius Caesar?

Expert Answers
William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act V, Scene 1 of Julius Caesar, Cassius asks Brutus what he intends to do if they lose the impending battle with Antony and Octavius.

You are contented to be led in triumph
Thorough the streets of Rome?

To which Brutus replies:

No, Cassius, no. Think not, thou noble Roman,(120)
That ever Brutus will go bound to Rome;
He bears too great a mind. But this same day
Must end that work the ides of March begun.

Evidently both Cassius and Brutus realize that if they were captured alive they would be taken back to Rome, led in triumph down the main thoroughfare, and then executed. Since it was a matter of historical fact, according to Plutarch, that both men committed suicide, Shakespeare had little choice but to have them do so in his play. All four principals came to bad ends. Brutus and Cassius killed themselves. Antony also killed himself in Egypt after being defeated by Octavius. Octavius became an emperor and a god, but he ended up being poisoned by his own wife.

Octavius and his successors, including the notorious Caligula and Nero, are written about in the excellent novel I, Claudius by Robert Graves and its sequel Claudius the God. These books were adapted by BBC to a long television series titled I, Claudius, in which many of Great Britain's finest actors and actresses appeared, including Derek Jacobi as Claudius. This series is available on DVD. 

Susan Woodward eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the end of Julius Caesar, Brutus observes the ruination of his country through civil war.  He had joined in a conspiracy to assassinate Caesar because he allowed Cassius to convince him that his friend Julius Caesar would be the ruin of Rome.  Because he loved his country more than he valued his friendships, he joined Cassius and the other conspirators in the plot.  After Caesar's death, instead of Rome benefitting, it was thown into civil war once Mark Antony got a chance to sway the crowds against the conspirators in his funeral oration.  That, too, was Brutus' fault because he underestimated Mark Antony and instead of refuisng to let him speak, as Cassius wanted, Brutus argued that allowing Antony before the crowd would be a good thing to lend sympathy to their cause.  How wrong he was.  Antony turned the crown against the conspirators and began a riot that led to war.  Too late, Brutus realizes the error of his ways and decides that his punishment must be death.  He carried out hiw own death sentence by running on his sword, and that it what led Mark Antony to call him "the noblest Roman of them all".

mellowmrsm eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Brutus' driving force throughout the entire play was his love for Rome and his  desire to better it. Toward the end of the play, Brutus comes to realize that the citizens of Rome are unhappy with his decision to kill Caesar, mostly due to Antony's convincing speech. Brutus has lost sight of his mission, and sees others dying and rioting because of his choices. Brutus decides to "give the people what they want" and take himself out. At this point, he truly believes that Antony is the better leader, and so he sacrifices himself to end the battle.

nicole8923 | Student

Brutus did not want to be dragged through the streets of Rome, whilst others threw stones at him. He did not want to be embarrassed for all to see because he believed that killing Julius Caesar was the right thing to do. He did not want to lose his integrity he felt he had and then decided to kill himself with his sword. 

michaelthenew | Student

Brutus was the inly nobleman in the play, who really cared about the roman republic.This is clearly shown in his contribution and his real aim in joining thew conspiracy, as he was the only one between the 22 conspirators whose main objective is to rescue rome from being ruled by another tryant, on the contray, the others main and only objective was to remove caesar away from the throne, because they were jealous and envy from julius grapping all the power in his own.

Not only this event, but this had happened throghout the entire play.this shows us that brutus was a nobleman, with pride and diginity who will fight for them even if it the cost for it was his life.Apparntly, this clearly happened when he fled away from rome to asia, and left his country which he was born in it, grew in it and left his lovely loyal wife, portia.He left the honour and the respect of the romans and fled to scarifice his life to rome, without expecting a reward.

So when he felt that he is going to lose his honour and diginity, he killed himself, because he knew that if he was captured, he will be dragged on his knees through the streets of rome without pity or mercy.so in his own point of view, dying and abondoning the world, is better than been dragged like a captured slave. 



fhgurlie | Student

he kills himself to avoid capture by antony and Octavius and so he would not lose/surrender. his death was considered very honorable. he fell onto his sword. he did not kill himself after the mob scene! they assemble aarmies, etc. he is also upset (although doesn't show it because he is a stoic) because his wife has killed herself. 

look up no fear shakespeare in google then go to sparknotes, then click on the play, it really helps!

zainikram | Student

he killed him because he wanted too and thats succide

Read the study guide:
Julius Caesar

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question