Characterzation Of Marcus Brutus Essay, Research Paper
William Shakespeare is a master of characterization. Seldom are his characters one-dimensional personalities. In his play Julius Caesar, the character of Brutus is very complex with many different personality traits. These traits explain why Brutus makes certain decisions including the one to kill his friend Julius Caesar.
Marcus Brutus was a senator who was well respected by everyone in Rome. His friendship with the high ranked Julius Caesar only added to the people’s respect for him. An example of the amount of respect people have for Brutus is when Cinna, Casca, and Cassius talk about how important it is to have Brutus involved in their plot to kill Caesar. They talk about how Brutus “sits high in the peoples hearts” (Act 1, Scene 3) and that with him in the group their task will look worthy in the people’s eyes. This shows that the three conspirators realize that Brutus is well-respected by the people of Rome and if he joins the conspiracy they wont be thought of as a group of murders. Caesar’s relationship with Brutus is mostly based on respect. Just the fact that Caesar allows Brutus to speak to him shows how much he respects him. Caesar feels that Brutus is noble to him and does the right thing regardless of personal danger. On the Ides of March, as Caesar was assassinated, Caesar’s last line is: “Et tu, Brute?–Then fall, Caesar.” (Act 3, Scene 1). This shows that Caesar would not die without Brutus’ stab. Caesar realizes that there must be a noble reason for this assassination if Brutus was in it. This also shows how much Caesar respects Brutus and the decision he had made.
Brutus was also a very stoic character. Stoicism is a philosophical belief created by the ancient Greek philosopher Zeno. Basically, you don?t let the bad things in life bring you down by keeping a cold, unemotional outlook on life. An example of Brutus following the stoic belief is when he hears the news of his wife’s death. He describes the cause of Portia’s death as, “Impatience of my absence” (Act 4, Scene 3). His calmness when speaking about his wife’s death frightens even Cassius. He is even more surprised when Brutus acts like nothing ever happened once Titinius and Messala arrive. The fact that he sheds no tears for his dead wife shows to what an extent he believes in stoicism. Another example of Brutus demonstrating his stoicism is when he comes upon the dead bodies of Cassius and Titinius who have both committed suicide. Brutus says that he “owes more tears to this dead man than you shall see me pay.” (Act 5, Scene 3) Even though some of Brutus’s feelings are breaking through his usual stoic attitude he still shows little emotion towards his friends death. Instead of mourning he immediately begins to plan a new attack. It is obvious that Brutus feels that following stoicism would allow him to maintain his status among the people and become more successful in life.
Throughout the play Brutus feels that he is a very honorable person. When he is faced with the choice of joining the conspiracy Brutus asks himself “Am I entreated to speak and Strike? O Rome I make thee promise, If the redress will follow, then receivest thy full petition at the hand of Brutus” (Act 2, Scene 1). This means that Brutus will obey to whatever the Romans convey to him. Consequently, Brutus joins the conspiracy in order to help the Romans rid Rome of Caesar. Brutus understands that he is putting it all on the line for his countrymen, which shows just how honorable he really is. After Brutus helps murder Caesar and the people ask why he would do such a thing he responds “If then that a friend demand why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer: Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.” (Act 3, Scene 2) This is saying that Brutus was so noble that he was willing to kill his friend Caesar to save Rome. Even the last thing Brutus does while alive is honorable. When he is faced with the realization that he is going to be captured he decides to kill himself. He would rather face death than the humiliation of being caught by the enemy. This is an honorable way to die in Brutus’ eyes.
Marcus Brutus was a very complex character composed of many traits. Each trait played a significant part in the decisions he makes throughout the play. William Shakespeare wrote all his main characters this way because he realized that people in real life have more than a one-dimensional personality. This is one of the reasons why his plays are so great and continue to be studied to this very day.