Essay, Research Paper
Questionable Heros in the Play Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar, a play written by the famous play-write William
Shakespeare, had many characters who could have been questioned in terms of
their motives and will. Some may have had good intentions, but others were
revealed to have other things in mind than the well-being of the Romans. The
aim of this paper is to take a look at why the main people in this tragedy did
what they did.
Julius Caesar, the center of the big ordeal, is the first logical person
to take a look at. When he first arrives, he is hailed as a great man and
offered the crown numerous times, refusing it each time. He is clearly the
hero of the people for that time. The question of his heroism comes when his
previous actions are looked upon. He has just returned from killing Pompey and
Pompey’s sons. He did this to gain complete control of Rome instead of sticking
with the triumvirate that had currently ruled. He was ambitious, or so it was
said, and he wanted only power. This alone shows that his motives were not as
pure as was first thought.
The next person to be looked upon in Mark Antony, apparently Julius
Caesar’s right-hand man. He plays the part of the hero as he takes Caesar’s
side after death and rallies the people against the conspirators. As he speaks
to Octavius, though, he shows that he is mainly after the power also in saying
that the third person of their new triumvirate, Lepidus, is not a worthy
adversary and is only good enough to carry messages. Antony goes on to say that
they should have him (Lepidus) killed, along with all the other people they were
making a list of. He was going to have them eliminated just because they might
stand in their way to gaining complete power. He also ordered to have figured a
way to cut some of the money out of the will to the people and keep it for
himself. His intentions weren’t so good after all.
Cassius, the apparent originator of the conspiracy in the first place,
is at first hard to figure out if he would take action in good will or in greed
for power. On one hand, he starts out by saying he doesn’t want Caesar to have
the power because it would turn out like the kings of past. He even convinces
all of the other conspirators, including the noble Brutus, of this ominous
threat. After a while, the audience is shown and led to believe his true drive.
This drive turns out to be pure jealousy of Caesar’s popularity and resulting
power. He wanted it for himself.
Finally, the question of the noble Brutus is at hand. From the start,
he is somewhat portrayed to be respectable in status and character. He said he
feared Caesar accepting the crown he said, although he had not a notion of
killing the man at the time. He was manipulated into doing it by Cassius and
the two fake letters that Cassius sent to him in the name of the citizens of
Rome. When he kills Julius Caesar by stabbing him even as he looked him in the
eye he believes that he and the others are doing it only for the good of the
country of Rome. Later it is shown that most of them were in it for the power,
though. But the fact remains, Brutus had done it in good will and even said so
as he explained his motives to the crowd of citizens. Finally, when it appears
that all is lost in battle and he finds his partner Cassius dead, he also runs
upon his sword. Over his dead body, even the evil Mark Antony declares him to
be “the noblest Roman of them all”.
Of all of the people involved in William Shakespeare’s tragedy Julius
Caesar, only one of them had good and pure intentions behind his actions.
Brutus did what he did in the name of the Roman people, in fear that it might
become another dictatorship like in the past with the kings. For this reason,
Brutus is actually the only true tragic hero portrayed in this play.