The Portrayal of Brutus as a Tragic Hero in William Shakespeare’s Julius CaesarThroughout the works of Shakespeare, tragedy has always been a vitalfoundation and a key to his immense successes. His fine mastery of theart became legendary amongst the audiences that watched his variousplays. Romeo and Juliet is a prime example of the tragedy he couldcombine into a stage performance. An Irish poet named Oscar Wilde whowas a novelist, dramatist and critic in the late eighteen hundredsonce wrote, “There are only two tragedies in life: one is not gettingwhat one wants, and the other is getting it.” This has an exactcorrelation to the play Julius Caesar where the tragedy lies in thegreed of a man who wants too much.
This particular play is based entirely upon dreadful choices leadingto demise. The character Brutus in particular is a key personality tothe structure of the play in his fall from honour. Being a man ofutmost glory and loyalty becomes his biggest weakness. In Act 1 Scene2 we are presented with the pressure that Cassius weighs upon Brutus’mind. In lines 79-80 the truth of Brutus’ troubles become clear. Inthe heat of conversation he says “What means this shouting? I do fearthe people choose Caesar for their king”. This is the turning point inthe play as the stepping stones begin to fall in place and Brutusreveals to the viewers his deep down uncertainty to the decision ofCaesar being crowned emperor.
Cassius is a very influential force in the corruption of Brutus. Thereal change of heart for Brutus arrives in Act 2 Scene 1 when hereceives the letter (lines 46-47). The play begins to see him question…
…tunderstanding of sympathy and personal familiarities wasn’t shownthrough the play then the audience would not feel the same emotionsand therefore would not have experienced the sorrows or haveempathized with Brutus’ predicaments that he got himself into.Shakespeare plays on the audience’s personal tragedies and faults byadding a character mislead by treachery and blinded with the pursuitof an honour that was false from the start. If the audience was notmoved by the play, then the character would become wooden and theeffect would be obsolete. Brutus’ human faults of being vulnerable todeceit and cunning are what make this character so lifelike. Thetragedy of this deluded character killing himself at the end of aseries of bad consequences brought forth by deception is what makeshim such a ‘tragic hero’.