BRUTUS:Julius Caesar

  • Category: English
  • Words: 2112
  • Grade: 100
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.",,,,00 00 00 00 00 00 38 45 ,"English"
3042,1,"Shakespere",10/12/1998 0:00:00,"William Shakespeare","Hamlet's change from Act II to Act IV",,"In Shakespeare's Hamlet, although Hamlet makes similar points about himself in these two soliloquies, he seems to be less self-blaming and more in control of his emotions in the Act IV speech.
In the Act IV soliloquy, Hamlet is less self-blaming and more in control of his emotions. In Act II Hamlet blames himself for the delay in his revenge, "O, what a rouge and peasant slave am I!" (2:2:519). He also seems to be more self-abusive in his expressions, "Why, what an ass am I!" (2:2:553). Hamlet's deep depression is expressed through his comparison of himself to the lowest and most worthless things he can think of. However, in the Act IV soliloquy, Hamlet uses logic to reason his delay in killing Claudius, "How all occasions do inform against me and spur my dull revenge!" (4:4:32). While he is still a bit emotional, he is less self-abusive and more in control of his feelings, "How stand I then, that have a father killed, a mother stained." (4:4:56). Hamlet's reproach of his actions is gentler and less derogatory. He uses reason to explain how certain occasions have delayed him rather than blaming himself for backing out on his plans.
In both soliloquies Hamlet makes comparisons between himself and other characters. In Act II he compares himself to an actor and in Act IV he compares himself to Fortinbras. In both soliloquies Hamlet uses the comparisons to put himself down for not carrying out his actions. In Act II Hamlet is angry with himself because he doesn't understand how an actor can get so emotional over a speech that he is reading, while Hamlet, who is actually in the real situation, is passive in his emotions, "Is it not monstrous that this player here, but in a fiction, in a dream of passion, could force his soul so to his own conceit." (2:2:520). In Act IV Hamlet expresses admiration for Fortinbras' courage and ambition to succeed and to fight for his name and honor, (".led by a delicate and tender prince, whose spirit, with divine ambition puffed." (4:4:48). Although both comparisons are different, both the actor and Fortinbras serve as role-models to Hamlet. He looks up to their actions to spur his ambition for revenge.
At the end of each soliloquy Hamlet reaches a state of resolution, in which he seeks to find certain truths about himself and the outside world. At the end of Act II Hamlet seeks to find the truth about the outside world. He is determined to find out whether his father's apparition was an honest one. He decides to put on a play similar to his situation through which he could test and evaluate Claudius' reaction, "I'll have grounds more relative than this. The play's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King." (2:2:574). The play is used to reinforce Hamlet's belief that Claudius really killed his father. At the end of Act II, Hamlet already knows the truth about the world outside of him. In act IV, however, he seeks to find the truth about himself. Hamlet wants to find out why it is that he has not acted out his thoughts. He wants to discover why it is that his approach toward death has changed since Act II and why it is that he is not scared of death anymore. Lastly, his resolution is either to get the murder over with or not to think about it at all "O, from this time forth, my thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!" (4:4:65).
Hamlet's emotions and thoughts have changed significantly from Act II to Act IV. He was able to accomplish two things. He discovered both the truth about himself and about the outside world. He progressed emotionally by being less hard on himself and using logical explanations for his delay in revenge. Lastly, he resolved to get Claudius' murder done once and for all.
This essay is copyrighted by the author and maintained by GotEssays.Com for research purposes only!
ad 4
Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved