10th English Honors
December 19, 2014
"Et tu, Brute?:”
The Tragic Downfall of
Certain characteristics of a person can make a drastic change in their life. People are flawed and if they don't make an effort to change, it may lead to their tragic, unavoidable death. In the tragedy Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, it's visible that Brutus makes rash decisions that end up making him kill himself. In typical Shakespearean plays the tragic hero along with his flaws usually lead to the downfall of the play. Brutus’ flaws are what make him a tragic hero. A critical part of the play is when Cassius tries to have Brutus join him alongside the conspirators as they plot to murder Caesar. From this, killing Caesar puts Rome in an uproar, making the people develop a hatred for Brutus. Rome gets involved in a civil war showing that killing Caesar was not the best thing to do for the good and well being of Rome. Brutus ends up feeling that he has no other choice and has a man stab him. Brutus' impulsive and hypocritical character leads to his tragic downfall leaving everything else in a much worse state.
Brutus joins the conspirators after little thought which shows how hasty he is in decision making. Brutus is easily influenced by others, making Caesar never stand a chance. After receiving a letter, Brutus realizes that Rome is in trouble and he needs to step up as a leader.
Cassius tried convincing Brutus to join him by making it seem as though Caesar would be an
Scafiddi 2 unfit ruler for Rome. “Brutus, thou sleep’st; awake, and thyself. Shall Rome, &c. Speak, strike, redress. Brutus, thou sleep’st; awake.” (Act II, Scene I, lines 4648 ) Cassius and the other conspirators take advantage of Brutus’ honor. Everything was going fine until Antony discovered Julius Caesar dead body.That’s when Brutus’ flaw of poor judgement is revealed.
Antony takes advantage of Brutus’ ill judgement. One clear example of this is when
Antony convinces Brutus into letting him speak at Caesar’s funeral. The judgement Brutus made when he let Antony speak at the funeral was a key component of the play and it led to the ultimate downfall. of the conspirators.
“That’s all I seek.
And am moreover suitor that I may
Produce his body to the marketplace,
And in the pulpit, as becomes a friend,
Speak in the order of his funeral. (Antony)
You shall, Mark Antony. (Brutus) Brutus, a word with you.
(aside to Brutus
You know not what you do.
Do not consent
That Antony speak in his funeral.
Know you how much the people may be moved
By that which he will utter? (Cassius)
(aside to Cassius
By your pardon.
I will myself into the pulpit first,
And show the reason of our Caesar’s death. (Brutus)” (Act III, Scene I, lines 238251)
Another example of Brutus’ poor judgement was when he decided to attack Antony and Octavius at Philippi.
With Brutus making this horrible decision another tragic flaw is revealed: him being hypocritical. “Under your pardon. You must note beside,
That we have tried the utmost of