Characteristics of Brutus in 'Julius Caesar': Character Analysis Essay

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“To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” - William Shakespeare. We are able to observe that when a wrong is committed against a character, they then feel as if they have validation to use any means necessary to correct this wrong, and how adhering to one’s sense of self-respect can allow one to find a sense of justice in a situation that began with injustice. In The Life and Death of Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare, the concept of being manipulated by self-respect is evident in the plot of Marcus Junius Brutus. Brutus is depicted as a character who is too idealistic and lives in a fool’s paradise in which he makes all his decisions simply by expecting that all is as honorable as himself. Honor is part of Brutus’s conception of himself and probably the one quality that has the most significance to him. For him, honor means moral integrity and an inner sense of what is right or wrong, a honorableness of mind. One might assert that Brutus abides and stays content with his honorable reputation as seen in the cases when he tries to do what is best for his country Rome, and additionally his fate by the end of the play. Moreover, Brutus’ notion of being a righteous honorable person, adds to the self-delusion of his reputation when he tries to commence his actions toward Julius Caesar’s injustice which ultimately leads to his own demise.

Furthermore, Brutus’ sense of honorability profoundly affects the decisions he makes around him. Brutus’ commitment to murder Caesar was erroneous of him, but from his perspective, it was unerring to him since he was convinced that if Caesar became king, Rome would fall. The quote, “Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved / Rome more.” (III, ii), explicitly showed that his intention was to do it for his beloved country to save people from Caesar’s tyranny, therefore he believes killing Caesar was necessary to save Rome. To him, his intentions were noble and purposeful, but hopelessly ultimately brought to his own destruction. Brutus has many flaws, but his honor, idealism, and poor judgment, truly brought him to his own downfall. From his poor discernment and open-mindedness, he is manipulated into believing that Caesar’s tyranny is the path to Rome’s label action. Since Brutus has a deep fondness for his country, he is easily persuaded that the assassination of Caesar is nevertheless justifiable. He misjudges the motives of Cassius and therefore falls to his manipulative methods. If Brutus had not possessed poor judgment and excessive idealism of people and situations, he would have not been so easily convinced by Cassius to be a part of Caesar’s murder and may have ultimately been driven to a different fate.

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Similarly, as of how one event leads to another, after the sorrowful death of Caesar, Antony proves strong in all of the ways that Brutus proves weak. His impulsive, improvisatory nature serves him perfectly, first to persuade the conspirators that he is on their side, thus gaining their leniency, and then to persuade the Roman crowd of the conspirators’ injustice, therefore gaining the masses’ political support. Not too scrupulous to stoop to deceit and duplicity, as Brutus claims to be, Antony proves himself a consummate politician, using gestures and skilled rhetoric to his advantage. He responds to subtle cues from both his nemeses and his allies to know exactly how he must conduct himself at each particular moment in order to gain the most advantage. In both his eulogy for Caesar and the play as a whole, Antony is adept at tailoring his words and actions to his audiences’ desires. Unlike Brutus, who prides himself on acting solely with respect to virtue and blinding himself to his personal concerns, Antony never separates his private affairs from his public actions. As a result of Antony’s oration, a downhill spiral for Brutus begins; one thing leads to another. As Cassius did warn Brutus beforehand about Antony’s whole motive, Brutus’ error of judgment toward Antony created a situation that could have been prevented. His flaws stood in his way, accordingly leading to his own treasured country turning against him. After Antony’s speech at Caesar’s funeral, the servant states to Antony that Brutus and Cassius, “Are rid like madmen through the gates of Rome” (III, ii). Fleeing from Rome makes Brutus realize the immensity of his error, and that he can no longer turn back. Brutus was so certain about his justness in killing Caesar that he never anticipated that Rome would follow Antony and go in opposition to him. From the outlook of this whole situation, war was inevitable. Subsequently, by the end of the war, Realizing that the end is near, Brutus exhibits honor by choosing to take his own life rather than letting himself be captured, “It is more worthy to leap in ourselves, / Than tarry, till they push us.” (V,v). Again, in this scene honor connotes self-pride. It is more “honorable” for Brutus to save face and take his own life than it is to be captured and appear weak. Therefore Brutus does not fear death, he is deemed brave, self-possessed, and a model of Roman virtue.

In the Roman World of The Life and Death of Julius Caesar, honor is a matter of altruism, rationality, and pride. No character in the play more clearly embodies the virtue of honor than Brutus. His flaws of idealism and bad judgment lead him to an event where there is a reversal of his fortunes. Ultimately, intertwining it all together, the assassination of Julius Caesar resulted in the demise of Marcus Brutus. One might say that it was destined to be, specifically through the way he made his decisions through the aspect of his honorableness mind. Furthermore, when we face similar situations that leave us feeling unjustly wronged, we must look past our stubborn pride and respect ourselves by accepting the help that is offered. This acceptance gets us that much closer to rebuilding our path to the happiness in life that we strive to reach.

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Characteristics of Brutus in ‘Julius Caesar’: Character Analysis Essay. (2023, July 20). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 20, 2024, from
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