Julius Caesar Essay: Brutus As A Tragic Hero

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The concept of a tragic hero was first presented by Aristotle in ancient Greece who defined it as a character who evokes feelings of pity among the audience. A tragic hero always has a flaw or an error in judgement that causes his downfall, and is typically an honorable man favored by the people. Eventually the Aristotelian tragic hero must courageously accept their tragic death, having fallen from great heights and having made an irreversible mistake. In William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, Brutus is the tragic hero because he is supported by the people, he is overly trusting of others, and he boldly faces his downfall. Throughout the play, the popular Brutus exhibits credulous behavior, which eventually leads to his death, establishing Brutus as the tragic hero. First, the people’s affinity for Brutus …show more content…
Second, Brutus’s flaw is exposed during Caesar’s funeral speeches when Brutus “depart[s] alone” leaving the people to stay “with Antony… and grace his speech tending to Caesar’s glories, which Mark Antony by [the conspirators’] permission is allowed to make.” (3.2.54-57). Here, Brutus is too trusting of Antony, believing that Antony will simply honor Caesar and not blame the conspirators, a mistake he will regret later when Antony turns the people against Brutus and his allies; thus, Brutus fulfills another one of Aristotle’s characteristics for a tragic hero: possessing a fatal flaw. Shakespeare includes this flaw in the play because it causes the audience to pity Brutus and recognize him as a tragic hero because it is this one, human flaw that ultimately results in the death of a righteous character. Lastly, Brutus faces death with virtue when he makes his ally “hold [his] sword and turn away [his] face while [Brutus runs] upon it” (5.5.51-52). Here, Brutus expresses the ability to face death nobly and valiantly, an ability required for Aristotle’s tragic hero, by refusing to be taken prisoner,