Brutus Essay, Research Paper
In the play Julius Caesar, the tragedy of the play was directed mainly at a one specific character, Marcus Brutus. Brutus was the tragic hero of the play, because of his idealistic and pragmatic qualities. The mindset that Brutus possessed only allowed him to see the world and its people from one point of view. This point of view allowed him to make judgments that assumed only the best of people. This tragic weakness resulted in many errors throughout the play. The major incidences such as decisions made during the orchard soliloquy, the discussion with Cassius and the conspirators regarding decisions about Antony and the oath, his speech to the commoners after Caesar?s assassination and finally the outward circumstance regarding Titinius and Cassius in act 5. Brutus was too idealistic and lived in fantasy world in which he made all his decisions simply by expecting that all were as honourable as himself.
Brutus? idealism was displayed when he was reviewing his decision to kill Caesar while in his orchard. While evaluating his feelings towards Caesar, he stated, ? I know little personal cause to spurn at him, But for the general?. Brutus felt that Caesar had not done anything incorrect, but was afraid of what might occur. He compared Caesar to a snake, which has the ability to sting. Just as one might step on the snake and be stung, Caesar might defeat anyone who interfered with his course of action. Brutus thinks about what Caesar could become and do, if he was given the power of the crown. A very descriptive metaphor was used to illustrate Brutus? reasoning for killing:
That lowliness is young ambition?s ladder,
Whereto the climber-upward turns his face;
But when he once attains the upmost round,
He then unto the ladder turns his back,
Looks into the clouds, scorning the base degrees
By which he did ascend?
Ambition was personified, and was granted the qualities of a person that could climb a ladder. Caesar, climbing the ladder of prosperity, would reach the top, and forget about the people of Rome and his fellow Senators. He would ?look into the clouds? and indulge in the wealth and good fortune. This possible outcome caused Brutus to remember his love for Rome. A simile also compared Caesar to a snake that was contained in an egg. The snake was harmless when it was in the egg, just as Caesar was when he was part of the senate. When the egg was cracked open, the snake was powerful, and able to attack. Julius Caesar was like the hatched snake, in which he could have become harmful to the well being of Rome. Brutus convinced himself that he could not let one-man rule, and he realized that joining the conspiracy was the right decision because of his reasoning.
Later the same evening, Cassius and the other conspirators arrived at Brutus? house. Conspirators realized that they required Brutus in their plot, because a man with such noble and honourable characteristics would create greater respect from the crowds for their actions. Cassius suggested, ??let us swear our resolution? which would confirm that all of the men planning on taking part in the assignation would be bonded together by their word. Brutus didn?t want an oath, because he felt that all men are noble and honest, and wouldn?t become betray the others. Cassius felt that it was necessary to swear that they wouldn?t betray each other. Cassius knew how a human character nature could act, and knew that Brutus had his idealistic thoughts at work. Recognizing the need for Brutus in the conspiracy, Cassius was willing to dismiss the concept of an oath, and carry on without an affirmation. Then, Cassius abruptly changed the topic and raised the suggestion that Cicero be included in the conspiracy, to speak for them, because none present could compare with Antony?s abilities. Casa, Cinna and Metellus supported this suggestion as well. Metellus noted that ?his silver hairs will purchase us a good opinion?? Yet once again, Brutus intervened with the discussion and gave his opinion. He made it clear, despite Cicero?s excellent speaking aptitude, that he did not want him to be part of the operation, because he would ?never follow anything that other men begin?. Brutus? overruling decision was once again accepted immediately, and quickly forgotten. Decius questioned Cassius concerning who was to be killed. Cassius mentioned that Mark Antony was ?well beloved of Caesar? and that he was a ?shrewd contriver?. ?Let Antony and Caesar fall together? he stated. There seemed to be an element of fear in Cassius? behavior, as if he felt that Antony had the power to mangle the success of the conspiracy. Brutus? idealistic point of view allowed him to say that Mark Antony was ?but a limb of Caesar?. Brutus felt that without Caesar, Antony was useless and unable to stand for himself. He also mentions killing Caesar ?boldly?, and said ?Let?s carve him as a dish fit for the gods, not hew him as a carcass fit for the hounds?. Brutus made several crucial decisions that were considered, and performed.
After the assassination, Brutus agreed with Antony to allow him speak at the funeral orations after himself. Antony was told by Brutus to not blame the conspirators for Caesar?s death, to only speak good of Caesar, to mention that Brutus allowed him to speak, and finally that he would speak from the same pulpit as he did. Once again, Brutus? idealistic qualities are displayed here, by making several errors. First by allowing Antony to speak, then instructing him to do so after himself, and as well, giving him the freedom to speak on his own. Brutus? informative yet choppy speech was able to calm the crowd and to sway their fickle minds into supporting the conspirators and their cause. As he left the pulpit, the crowd called, ?Let him be Caesar?. Antony was able to break about every guideline that was made by Brutus. He constructed his presentation from an emotion basis, rather than purpose. The sarcastic attitude that Antony had was implying that Brutus was dishonourable, by stating many times how honourable he actually was. During the speech, a major factor in his ability to turn the crowd to his favour, was descending from the pulpit, as he agreed not to do, and examined Caesar?s body. He spoke of which wounds on Caesar?s body were created by certain conspirators. This was information that he did not know of.
In the battle in Act 5, Antony and his troops were in Cassius? tents, while Cassius was loosing. Cassius told his friend Titinius to go off, and observe this situation. After Titinius departed, Pindarus was commanded to observe the battlefield. Pindarus the servant reports that he sees Pindarus captured. This one observation made by his slave caused Cassius to commit suicide. Pindarus stabbed him with the same sword that murdered Caesar. When Pindarus realizes that he has made an error by reporting incorrectly to Cassius, he kills himself too. Pindarus saw Brutus? men rejoicing with Titinius when Brutus? side was winning. In this situation, Brutus is a victim of outward circumstance because now that Cassius? troops had no leader to follow, Brutus? troops had little hope of winning the battle without Cassius? support. Brutus killed himself partly because of this. When Brutus saw Cassius? body, he arranged for proper treatment of the body, and then returned to the fields. It seems as if Brutus was trying to forget the recent occurrence, and attempted to concentrate on winning the battle. Brutus? mind wouldn?t have been focused on the battle, but on the fact that he was alive, and his friend was not. Shortly after, Brutus too realizes that he fighting a battle that can not be won. His honour forces himself to run upon his sword, rather than to be captured by Octavius.
Brutus made errors because he was an idealist, who thought that all men, including Antony were honourable. Brutus was a tragic hero in this play, because he was too idealistic. He often fell into negative circumstances that were beyond his control. His decision making was often affected by this, because he made all his decisions by expecting that all were as honourable as himself. The tragedy can be well outlines by reviewing his orchard soliloquy, discussions made with the conspirators, the speech to the commoners and the outward circumstance in the conclusion of the play. Brutus died because of his idealism, and did so because others were not as honourable and trustworthy as he was.