Julius Caesar

Tragic Hero: Julius Caesar, or Brutus? 11th Grade

The title of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is often criticized, argued that it should be titled Brutus, as Marcus Brutus is the tragic hero. However, the title is appropriate, as Julius Caesar, though insignificant as an actor in the play since he dies in Act 3 having a minimal amount of lines, impacts the characters in the play is a very significant way. The entire play revolves around him, not because he is the tragic hero, but because he is the one who influences the way the story progresses and causes the characters to behave as they do. Caesar therefore plays an important role in why Brutus is the tragic hero of the play. Brutus’s decision to kill Caesar becomes the focus of the play. His decision to murder Caesar was wrong, but it seemed right to Brutus since he was convinced that if Caesar became king, Rome would fall; thus, killing Caesar was necessary to save Rome. To him, his intentions were noble and purposeful, but they ultimately brought his own destruction. Aristotle defines a tragic hero as “a literary character who makes a judgment error that inevitably leads to his own destruction”(1), further stating that a tragic hero must possess five specific characteristics. First, the character must have a flaw, hamartia....

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