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Julius Caesar Essay Essay, Research Paper

Julius Caesar: Betrayed by His Peers

Julius Caesar was the great leader of the Roman Empire. He was a tragic hero with a tragic flaw. Many thought he was well suited for his position, but his fellow politicians thought otherwise. The tragedy of Marcus Brutus should be of great importance because his jealousy showed disloyalty and how friends can be traitors, especially in Caesar’s case. Friendships will cease eventually, jealousy will last forever.

Tragedy is best described as a play, novel or other narrative depicting serious and important events, in which the main character comes to an unhappy end. Both Julius Caesar and Marcus Brutus come to an unwanted end. In this particular work of Shakespearean tragedy, the revenge motive upon Caesar and supernatural incidents is dealt with commonly. The conspiracy against Caesar involves the following members: Brutus, Cassius, Casca, Trebonius, Ligarius, Decius, Metellus Cimber, and Cinna, who all have the need for revenge upon Caesar. The need for revenge involves one significant idea: power. Caesar wanted to be king. The tragic part is his “friends” were jealous.

Tragedy is a work of literature that involves a complication between two or more characters which eventually will later turn into an unwanted outcome. In Caesar’s case, his tragedy is of some importance. Brutus is the main focal point because his tragedy is of killing his best, well-respected “friend.” Brutus believes justice should be served because his love for Rome is unrelenting. His tragic flaw, along with the other conspirators, derives from an unrighteous cause.

The chief tragedy of Brutus’ life was killing Caesar out of jealousy. His cause was Rome. He would do anything for his fellow countrymen. The reasons behind his motives are; he thinks Caesar will become a tyrant, his nature will change, and Cassius’ persuasive reasoning. An example of Brutus’ jealousy is in Act 2 when he states that “It must be by his death; and for my part, I know no personal cause to spurn at him, But for the general. He would be crowned. How that might change his nature, there’s the question (Act 2, Scene 1, pg. 799).” Brutus feels that if Caesar gains anymore power that Rome will be a dictatorship ruled only by one man. When his wife, Portia, committed suicide he did not care much of her anymore because he knew that she must die at some time. The statement, “I have the patience to endure it now (Act 4, Scene 3, pg. 855),” meant that he could still go on without her. But, he still loved her somewhere in his heart.

When Antony betrayed Brutus, he felt terrible because one of his best friends had led him astray. Antony misled him by telling him that he would speak of good intentions about the conspiracy against Caesar and give praise to Brutus. He told the Roman citizens that the conspirators intentionally killed him not for the good of Rome, but just to get rid of him. Antony referd to Caesar’s body at his funeral by saying, “Here is himself, marred as you see with traitors (Act 3, Scene 2, pg. 838).” Antony betrayed Brutus once again when he takes sides with the Second Triumvirate at the Battle of Philippi. But, the worse tragedy of all was when he was forced to commit to suicide at Philippi. He was slain by the same sword that went through Caesar and Brutus felt he had avenged Caesar’s death.

Many critics of William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” share the same opinion that this play should have been entitled “The Tragedy of Marcus Brutus” because Brutus was caught up in jealousy and power. They feel Marcus Brutus had more impact upon the play because of his role as a good “friend” of Julius Caesar and as a politician, who died for the glory of Rome rather than for one individual. Brutus was a valiant, honorable man who served a great cause to his fellow citizens.


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