Wittingly or unwittingly chooses to do what is wrong. Despite the good qualities of being brave, imaginative, and noble, the tragic figure commits a primal wrong and the innocent deaths that follow are the direct result of the wrong choices made. Discuss whether this view of tragedy is held out by the play.
Julius Caesar is a historical play written by William Shakespeare. It’s called Julius Caesar, but it’s about Marcus Brutus, our tragic hero. It tells the story of Brutus’ part and life from the beginning, when they plot to assassinate Caesar, to the finish, when Brutus kills himself after realizing he made a mistake. This essay examines how Brutus’ bad judgments contributed to his demise. This essay focuses on the concept of tragedy and demonstrates that the play follows the viewpoint that tragedy begins when a person of exceptional qualities, whether intentionally or unintentionally, chooses to do the wrong thing.
The tragedy is a sub-genre of drama that focuses on the mournful or horrible circumstances that a hero encounters or causes. That hero always has a flaw that leads to his demise. In tragedy, characters are always of high societal standing. It always ends in death (Piostrowska, 2020;5)
Our hero is Marcus Brutus, a roman politician. He was a man of integrity, honor, and trustworthiness. Moral and ethical principles governed his every action. Despite his outstanding traits, he made a bad judgment that contradicted his values, believing he was saving Rome while he was doing the opposite. Like all tragic heroes, he also had a tragic flaw, he was a bad judge of character. His flaw led him to his downfall.
His most egregious error was assassinating Caesar. His main motivation for assassinating Caesar was that he was ‘too ambitious.’ He was afraid that as Caesar’s popularity grew, they might become Caesar’s subjects. He saw himself as Rome’s salvation.
Another blunder was putting faith in Cassius and Mark Antony. Cassius enticed Brutus with forgeries of letters (act 1 scene 2). He manipulated Brutus into thinking that they all had the same aim in mind: to save Rome. Brutus misjudged Mark Antony. He assumed the man was harmless in the absence of Caesar, not realizing that Antony was seeking vengeance for Caesar’s death. Antony convinced the people of Rome that Brutus and his conspirators were murderers. (act 3:scene 2)
Lastly, waging a war in Philippi without an army was the ultimate mistake that made him realize his flaws, but it was already too late (act 5, scene 4).
To begin with, Brutus willingly assisted in the assassination of Caesar. He admired Caesar, but he preferred Rome. He was a guy who was guided by his ethics and morals, but he was so enamored of Rome that he went against his ideals. He had no personal animosity for Caesar, but he questioned if Caesar would change once he was king. He agreed to assassinate Caesar because he does not want his beloved Rome to be headed by a tyrant because power, without a doubt, breeds tyranny. They plan to assassinate Caesar with the help of his conspirators, stating that his life is a necessary sacrifice to save Rome (act 2, scene1). Brutus assassinated Caesar on purpose, with the goal of saving Rome from dictatorship.
Secondly, Brutus put his faith in Mark Antony and Cassius unwittingly. Our tragic hero had a personality flaw that contributed to his demise (Piotrowska, 2020;4). Amongst his exceptional qualities, Brutus was also naive. Frequently misread people’s personalities, believing that everyone was honest, trustworthy, and well-intentioned like him. Cassius was Brutus’ total opposite. He was dishonest and deceptive, and one of his best qualities was his ability to discern a person’s genuine intentions. He observed Brutus’ flaws and realized that if his strategy was to succeed, he needed Brutus on his side. He despised Caesar, but he envied his authority, which was enough for him to assassinate Caesar. Cassius was able to easily sway Brutus. Brutus trusted Cassius, not knowing that the man had his own motives.
Furthermore, he trusted Mark Antony. Even though Cassius warned him that Mark Antony would avenge his leader’s death, he trusted Antony and permitted him to live. He thought Antony couldn’t act on his own without Caesar, so he misjudged him. He was the first to speak during Caesar’s funeral, imploring the public to heed to him because he is noble and honorable, and stating that Caesar’s death was for Rome’s welfare. He gave Antony the opportunity to speak. How could he have faith in someone who had been betrayed? Caesar was a man Antony adored. Antony portrayed Brutus and his conspirators as brutal assassins by convincing the mob that Caesar was a good man and displaying Caesar’s generous will. The assassination, on the other hand, provided Antony with an opportunity to take control. Antony accomplished this by turning the mob against the conspirators and the Senate through his address at Caesar’s funeral (act 3; scene 2)
Finally, Brutus wittingly committed suicide. When he saw how they were fighting and losing the battle, he wanted to die. After seeing Caesar’s ghost, the night before, he decided it was time for him to die. He requested Strato to hold the sword for him since he preferred to return to Rome as a corpse rather than be Antony’s prisoner, so he rushed into it and killed himself (act 5; scene 5). Although the tragic hero finally recognizes his errors, it is too late; suicide was his only option (Piotrowska, 2020:4).
Brutus bears full responsibility for his own death as well as the deaths of others as a result of his acts. Perhaps Caesar would have been the best leader Rome has ever had if he hadn’t dismissed Caesar’s character based on the presumption that he would be a tyrant. He should have told Caesar of the conspirators’ plans to avoid all the unneeded bloodshed. Brutus did not save Rome by assassinating Caesar; rather, he provided an opening for other vicious tyrants (Mark Antony and Octavius) to assume power. Brutus clearly aimed for more than he could achieve, and his goal to save Rome was a failure. Caesar`s death was thus a curse upon Rome, rather than a sacrifice to redeem it.
It is clear that the play is based on the idea of tragedy. It begins when Brutus intentionally or unintentionally, chooses to do the wrong thing. Despite his good traits, Brutus committed a primal wrong by assassinating Caesar. Because of Caesar’s death, the innocent perishes in civil conflicts, and tyranny prevails in Rome.