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Essay on Protagonist of Julius Caesar

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In Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, Lord Voldemort attempted to kill young Harry Potter and succeeded in killing Harry’s parents in order to stop a prophecy concerning the child. This plan backfired as Lord Voldemort could never succeed in killing Harry due to special circumstances involving Harry’s parents that occurred when Lord Voldemort first tried to kill Harry. This situation shows how the purposeful harm of others is not acceptable and will have unwanted repercussions that occur due to the initial hurtful actions. There are multiple occurrences similar to this that can be found in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. In this play, Brutus reveals in many situations that the intentional harm of others is never morally acceptable, and it will have consequences that will return to hurt later on. Despite its title, Brutus serves as the protagonist of Julius Caesar.

Brutus realizes this message multiple times throughout Julius Caesar when events occur that affect his daily life and cause him to feel guilty or make him feel as if he has made an error in his judgment. Brutus has one such realization when Cassius reacts to the news of Portia’s death as this shows Brutus how his previous action of killing Caesar will return to harm and hurt him, both morally and physically. After telling Cassius of the grave news about Portia, Brutus laments, “Impatient of my absence, / And grief that young Octavius with Mark Antony / Have made themselves so strong: for with her death / The tidings came” (Julius Caesar. IV.III. 169-172). This statement shows how he knows that Portia died because of the previous actions that cause him to be in such danger. This is especially clear when Brutus expressed that the news of his opponent's victory was received at the same time as Portia’s death. This led Brutus to believe that Portia committed suicide because of her fear of what could happen to Brutus following the victory for his enemies. Soon after, Brutus has another realization as he is holding a conference between himself, Messala, Cassius, and Titinius. While comparing letters with Messala to see if they contained similar information, the death of one hundred senators is discussed. After comparing letters with Messala, Brutus proceeds to claim, “ Therein our letters do not well agree; / Mine speak of seventy senators that died / By their proscriptions, Cicero being one” (IV.III. 197-199). This comparison suggests that the news does not have much of an effect on Brutus as his tone is very nonchalant and not distressed. This can be seen as the mention of Cicero is very quick and does not contain much emotion even though Cicero, another conspirator, was a close friend to Brutus. This implies that Brutus has already had this realization as he seems to have understood that his past actions will have consequences for himself and others. Through these kinds of moments, Brutus shows how his actions will have consequences, but he is also reminded of this a number of times by other people.

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Many people help remind Brutus that his actions will have rebounding consequences and this causes him to feel even more guilty about all the sorrow his actions have caused. One of these instances is when Antony reminds Brutus of his previous errors in judgment. Antony reprimands Brutus by stating, “In your bad strokes, Brutus, you give good words. / Witness the hole you made in Caesar’s heart, / Crying ‘Long live! Hail, Caesar!’” (V.I. 31-33). This statement makes Brutus doubt what actions he chose to make even though he was sure he was doing the honorable and correct thing to do in the situation. This makes him doublethink everything; therefore, he starts the battle at a disadvantage compared to Octavius and Antony. This also damaged a part of Brutus’ honor as he did not make the right decision at that time, which is what he was intending to do. Antony clouds Brutus' judgment with this statement as he will continue to doubt his decisions in order to prevent any more negative outcomes. This is one of the most debilitating outcomes to come from Brutus’ actions as his intention is to always do the honorable thing which he did not do in this case. To further hinder Brutus’ decisions, Cassius reminds Brutus of his misjudgments that have rebounded to harm them after the first actions made by Brutus. Cassius tells Brutus that it was not his fault but Brutus’ fault for letting Antony live after they killed Caesar. Cassius reminds Brutus by saying, “Now, Brutus, thank yourself. / This tongue had not offended so today, / If Cassius might have ruled” (V.I. 48-50). This statement shows how Brutus’ actions are what caused this war to take place as Antony was allowed to live. With this, Cassius shows Brutus how his actions have consequences that will eventually lead to their downfall. This further manifests how the war is already starting unilaterally, giving an advantage to Octavius and Antony. Through reminders from various people, Brutus understands that his actions will have repercussions, but he also reached this understanding through ultimate realizations.

Brutus has a number of final revelations multiple times throughout the final scene of the play, especially through the numerous deaths that occur in this time frame. One specific moment that this happens is when Brutus has a moment of weakness as he sees the dead bodies of Cassius and Titinius laying on top of each other. When reacting to the news of Titinius’ suicides and the sight of the dead bodies, Brutus cried to the heavens, saying, “O Julius Caesar, thou art mighty yet! / Thy spirit walks abroad, and turns our swords / In our own proper entrails” (V.IV. 100-102). This proclamation made by Brutus shows how he has previously realized that the consequences of his actions will return to harm him in many ways. In this specific example, he is hurt by the suicide of two of his closest friends and confidants during this time. This affects his morale and adds to the piling pressure that is affecting him by adding increased pain that will ultimately collapse him. This adds to the inevitable knowledge that the war will not end in victory for Brutus as two of the leaders on his side had died, leaving Cassius’ remaining forces leaderless. Later on, to add to his understanding, Brutus has his final epiphany when he commits suicide himself; therefore, this shows how he has a complete understanding of the overarching message when he accepts his own fate. He states, just after running on his own sword, “Caesar, now be still; / I killed not thee with half so good a will” (V.V. 57-58). This statement, directed towards Caesar, shows how he fully understands that his action will always have an equal and opposite reaction, which in this case ended with his death. He lets himself die as he knows that if he continues living then his pain and suffering would only continue. This leads him to the only conclusion in which he could be at peace, and in that situation, he commits suicide. His calmness and relaxation before and after he runs on the sword show how he has fully accepted that he had to die to set himself free from the consequences of his actions.

Evidently, Brutus reveals that purposeful harm to others will always have negative responses throughout the play. He achieved this with events that affected him, reminders from numerous people, and from deaths that gave him final revelations. All of this combined allowed Brutus to have the ultimate understanding and to display the overarching message. In all cases, the intentional harm of another person is not morally acceptable and will have major repercussions.

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Essay on Protagonist of Julius Caesar. (2023, April 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 2, 2024, from
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