Julius Caesar: Tragic Hero Essay, Research Paper
Julius Caesar: Tragic Hero
In Julius Caesar William Shakespeare illustrates Caesar as the Tragic Hero. Greek philosopher Aristotle defines the Tragic Hero as a man of high estate, that is, a well-known, well intentioned man whose misfortune results from some error in judgment or some flaw in character (called the tragic flaw). Based on Aristotle s criteria for a Tragic Hero, Julius Caesar fits best as the Tragic Hero. William Shakespeare shows this by viewing Julius Caesar as a noble man of high rank, by showing that he is a historical figure with a tragic flaw, which leads to his downfall, and by showing that Caesar accepts his fate of death and achieves honor and respect in his death.
Shakespeare illustrates Caesar as a tragic hero by showing that he is a noble man of high rank. Every Roman follows his leadership and Caesar also defeats the great Pompey. First of all, At the Feast of Lupercal Caesar manipulates the commoners and made himself look noble to the commoners. Casca said, Why there was a crown offered to him;…people fell a-shouting (I, ii, 221-223). Next, to show how noble and great Caesar was, the Romans would stand along the street sides to watch him pass by. Madam not yet, I go to take my stand; to see him pass on to the Capitol, said the soothsayer (II, iv, 25-26). Finally, Caesar had the greatest rank possible, as he would have been crowned king if it weren t for the conspiracy s plot. As Casca said, Indeed they say senators tomorrow; Mean to establish Caesar as king… (I, iii, 87-88).
Shakespeare illustrates Caesar as a tragic hero by showing that he is a historical figure with a tragic flaw, which leads to his death. Julius Caesar took over most of the Roman Empire and his events are very important to history. First, Julius Caesar is very historical because if he weren t then, we would not be talking about him today. As Cassius ironically said, …How many ages hence shall this our lofty scene be acted over in states unborn… (III, i, 112-113). Secondly, every tragic hero has a tragic flaw that leads him or her to his or her death and one of Julius Caesar s flaws was arrogance. As Caesar himself said, But I am constant as Northern Star…There is no fellow in the firmament (III, i, 60-62). Finally, Caesar made a big mistake, which lead him to his downfall when he didn t take the soothsayer s warning. Again this was the fact that Caesar was arrogant. The soothsayer said warning Caesar, Beware of ides of March (I, ii, 23) then Caesar replied that the soothsayer was a fake, and to dismiss him.
Shakespeare illustrates Caesar as a tragic hero by showing that Caesar accepts his fate for death and achieves honor and respect in his death. Caesar knew he was going to die sooner or later so he eventually had to accept his fate for it. First, Caesar walked to the Capitol knowing the soothsayer s warning accepting his fate for whatever was to happen. As Cassius said, What urge your petitioned in street? Come to the Capitol (III, i, 10). Caesar was very well respected in his death because he was given a respected funeral. Brutus said, Mark Antony, here, take you Caesar s body, you shall not in your funeral speech blame us… (III, i, 245-246). Caesar did not only receive a respected funeral but he also received a respected speech from the most noble Brutus and his nephew Antony. Brutus said, By your pardon I will myself into pulpit first,…What Antony speaks, I will protest… (III, i, 237-240).
Julius Caesar fit all the characteristics of a Tragic Hero set forth by Aristotle. He did in fact have a tragic flaw, which was arrogance. It was because of his arrogance that led him to his death. However, he definitely is a man of high estate and is well known and well intentioned. Caesar is a victim of his own self-importance who recognizes his downfall, but continues on living normally, reminding himself death comes upon all men and man should not fear it.