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Rae Pooley

on 2 December 2014

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By: Rae Pooley
1.) A tragic hero has royal blood or is in a prominent place in society.
2.) A tragic hero has one or more flaws that bring him/her to their own downfall.
3.) The tragic hero is brought to his/her downfall.
4.) The tragic hero has a moment of recognition.
How does Brutus qualify as a tragic hero?
Based on the play
Julius Caesar
by William Shakespeare
Brutus, like most tragic heroes, is high-class and well known. He is in a prominent position in the government of Rome, and is also very close to Caesar. While he is not directly related to royal blood, he still fits the stereotype of being a hero and leader in society.
Brutus's Flaws
Brutus, like any tragic hero, does have some flaws.

Brutus is overly trusting in others. He trusted the conspirators, and even trusted Marc Antony. Brutus's main flaw is that he is overly idealistic. If Brutus had been more realistic with his predictions for what the consequences of murdering Caesar would be, he wouldn't have let Antony speak at the funeral. He instead focused on pride and the idea that he was acting for the greater good of Rome. These ideas of glory and success for him and all of Rome tainted his sense of reality, and shortly brought him to his downfall.

Brutus's Downfall
1. Brutus is respected and well known.
2. He has flaws such as being overly trusting, and he has an idealistic sense of reality that affects his judgement.
3. Brutus's flaws and major mistakes ultimately bring him to his own death.
4. Brutus recognizes his mistakes before he commits suicide.
Brutus makes a few major mistakes that bring him to his downfall.
His first mistake was when he decided to join the conspirators. All it took was a few fake letters to convince Brutus that he needed to join. This shows how easily Brutus will trust someone/something without investigating further.
Brutus's biggest mistake was when he let Antony speak at the funeral. He believed that he and the other conspirators would look better, and less like criminals, if he let Antony speak to the people. This idea is very idealistic and even a little far-fetched. Brutus had little control over what Antony said, even with the guidelines that he had given him. The audience was also one that could be swayed easily by any well thought out argument. Altogether, Brutus's decision was a recipe for disaster.
His last mistake was when he went ahead and marched to Phillippi, even when Cassius advised differently. Caesar's ghost had told Brutus that they would meet again at Phillippi, which was foreshadowing for Brutus's death.
Brutus's Moment of Recognition
Aristotle's Definition of a Tragedy
By Aristotle's theory, there are three major plot points in a tragedy.
These are:

1. The catastrophe
2. The reversal of intention
3. Recognition

How does
Julius Caesar
fit this description?
The Three Plot Points of
Julius Caesar
1. The catastrophe occurs at Caesar's funeral. This is when everything truly begins to spiral out of control. The people are now against Brutus and the conspirators, and Antony plans on taking the throne with Octavius and Lepidus.
2. A possible point of the reversal occurs earlier on when Brutus decides to join the conspirators. Brutus is completely reversing his views on Caesar, from friend to conspirator against him.
3. A moment of recognition, while not one of Brutus's, occurs in the very last few stanzas. Antony realizes that Brutus was truly acting for the good of Rome, and not for more selfish reasons like the others. He recognizes that Brutus is a good man and that he was pure of intentions.
A Major Theme from
Julius Caesar
A theme from Julius Caesar is that it is important to recognize all possible outcomes of an action, and to compromise if needed.
Brutus did not see all the possible outcomes of an action, he only saw the good ones. This caused him to be rather stubborn and not take advice from others who saw the flaws in his plans. This is very evident in the 'catastrophe' when he did not take Cassius's advice to prevent Antony from speaking at Caesar's funeral.

When Brutus joined the conspirators, and reversed his intentions, for the most part he did not question the outcomes. He was convinced by just a few letters that joining was his best option and that it would be a smart, successful choice.

During the moment of recognition by Antony, he realized the effects of poor judgement errors on Brutus's part. He realizes that Brutus's intentions did not come off as what Antony had believed they were. Antony was willing to accept that Brutus was a good man, and completely change his thinking about him.
Antony's funeral speech
Brutus's Suicide
Brutus's moment of recognition occurs right before he commits suicide. He realizes his mistake in murdering Caesar, and even says, "Caesar, now be still:
I kill'd not thee with half so good a will". Brutus is saying that his intentions of killing himself are twice as good as those of when he killed Caesar. He is admitting his mistakes and is repaying Caesar by killing himself.
The End
Full transcript