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Julius Caesar Brutus Is The Protagonist Essay

Julius Caesar: Brutus Is The Protagonist Essay, Research Paper

Julius Caesar: Brutus Is The Protagonist

“He who will not reason is a bigot; he who cannot is a fool; and he who dares

not, is a slave.” – Sir William Drumman All men have the power to reason. Some

men can reason better, and more thorough than others. Yet nonetheless, all men

can reason. In order to reason, one must clear his mind, be completely

impartial, and understand the situation to the best of his ability. The play

Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare, is the story of a man trying his best to

make reasonable, rational decisions. Marcus Brutus is this struggling character

who evades constant pressure from all sides to gloriously pull through, yet dies

at play’s end. Undoubtedly, Brutus is the main character, and driving force of

the play, despite the misleading title of Julius Caesar. Three separate,

critical aspects help to show the reader how unimportant Julius Caesar is to the

play. Caesar appears, in dreams, and thoughts of multiple people, giving

warnings and special messages. Nobody seems to pay attention to him.

Anotherexample is illustrated by the way that Brutus seems to dominate his own

actions, whatever he is thinking. Also, Antony declares war on Brutus, but not

out of love for Caesar, but anger toward the conspirators. As these aspects are

explained in further detail one will be sure of the fact that Brutus, without

question, clearly dominates the play as a whole.

Caesar warns numerous people of ensuing tragedies multiple times, and not once

is he listened to. Calpurnia cries out terrified three times during the night,

“Help ho – they murder Caesar!” The reader soon learns of a dream in which

Caesar’s wife visualizes her husband’s death. She begs and pleads Caesar to

stay home that day, however, nobody ever pays any attention to her dream. In

this instance, Caesar has no influence on the outcome of the play. Again, when

Brutus sees the likeness of Caesar in a dream, Caesar gives an ominous message

implying to Brutus not to go to Philipi. “. . . thou shalt see me at Philipi.”

The ghost of Caesar, unimportant and unbelieved is perceived as a “day dream.”

Brutus, not paying any attention to the dead and gone Caesar, does not listen.

In this sense, Caesar does not make a strong enough impression upon other

characters in the play to be taken seriously. In the battles between Antony

and Brutus, Caesar is often mentioned in their dying words. “Caesar, thou art

revenged, even with the sword that killed thee.” These are Cassius’ dying

words. Brutus’s final words are somewhat similar, “Caesar, now be still; I

killed not thee with half so good a will.” Their words represent that although

final thoughts consisted of the evil crime they had committed, Caesar had

nothing to do with their deaths. Caesar, although a highly respectable man,

had no more influence on the outcome of the play than did any character.

Brutus dominates his own actions throughout the story. When the reader discovers

the news of Calpurnia’s death, “No man bears a better sorrow. Portia is dead,”

they realize what must be cluttering Brutus’ (usually clear) mind. However,

nobody is able to discover if this tragedy is affecting his thoughts. Along

with Portia, Caesar is another thought in his mind. Nothing more. Stoicism

teaches one to master his emotions. Brutus is a model stoic. As Cassius wants

to talk and mourn for her, Brutus moves on “Speak no more of her. Give me a bowl

of wine. In this I bury all unkindness.” At this point, Caesar has obviously

buried all thoughts of Caesar as he was able to do with Portia. Brutus however,

is only human, and at play’s end, he commits suicide. This action may represent

a number of unrecognized, painful emotions that resurfaced in Brutus’ heart.

There is no doubt that Caesar was only one of these thoughts, if that. He

became unfocused due to his wife’s tragedy. Caesar, although in his dying

words, was not a main factor in Brutus’ suicide – only an unresolved conflict.

Marcus Antonius’ war waged against Brutus was done so more out of anger towards

Brutus, than out of grief or love for Caesar. If it were Antony’s mother, Mrs.

Antonius who were killed, he would have done the same to her murders, without

hesitation. “These many men shall die; their names are pricked.” His tablet of

death, containing all the people who contributed to, or were involved in the

conspiracy, shows his irrational anger towards the conspirators, not love for

Caesar. The anger is evident as fickle Plebeians declare “We’ll burn his body

in the holy place, And with the brands fire the traitors’ houses.” The town

people are so intent on capturing the emotions of the moment, that they have

basically forgotten Caesar, Brutus, and even Antony in their rage. During the

battles between the Conspirators and Antony, Brutus has the audience’s sympathy.

Once again, Caesar is at the back of their thoughts, and unimportant in the

unfolding of events.

Marcus Brutus is the protagonist of the play. He is the character that the

reader feels for, wants to win, and pities. When one realizes Caesar’s pompous,

classless attitude, he is labeled the antagonist, and is wanted dead. In every

aspect of the play earlier mentioned, Brutus is the driving force of nearly

everything that occurs. Caesar is but an after-thought of the reader, and is

realized as the inciting action, and nothing more. Brutus is, by all means, the

dominating force in the play.