William Shakespeare wrote a tragic play about Julius Caesar and the dramatic life events he endured and even the subsequent events that his death caused. One of the most unusual characters in many aspects is Brutus. As a close friend of Caesar, Roman patriot, literal back-stabber, and hero of Rome, Brutus plays an impactful part in the tragical murder of Caesar while maintaining the Roman empire. Brutus’s loyalty to the Roman republic ultimately causes him to betray his close and powerful friend, Caesar.
All throughout the play of Julius Caesar, Brutus unknowingly causes himself much pain and heartbreak but, in each moment, he sees his actions as positive and beneficial for the country and citizens of Rome. Due to his underlying patriotism to Rome, he is given honor after his death by Caesar’s closest friend and adopted son, even when many of those he conspired with did not get the same respect. With great admiration, the impact and journey of Brutus through the life and play of Julius Caesar will be analyzed to reveal the true character and embodiment of Brutus, the patriot of Rome.
Within the first acts of Julius Caesar, Brutus is depicted as a fierce but caring protector of Rome’s next ruler (Shakespeare par. 3). Quickly Shakespeare shows the audience that Caesar may appear to be an excellent politician and perfectly fit to rule Rome, but he is not loved by everyone for various reasons. Many citizens, like Brutus, have fond endearment of Caesar as a human and friend. Politically, many do not see Caesar with the same fondness and do not believe he is fit for Rome. Contrary to Brutus, many high-ranking officials and a majority of Roman citizens see Caesar at face value and love every aspect of him.
With great concern, Brutus becomes conflicted with himself and his internal battle becomes obvious to those closest to him. His wife quickly notices a change in her husband and out of love seeks to determine the source of his conflict with no avail (Hammer 32). His emotional conflicts were even witnessed by his close friend at work, Cassius. Both men were protectors of Caesar and agreed, regretfully, that he is not fit to rule Rome, but their beliefs were not of the same intentions. The two men, with confirmation about their feelings, set forth to make a drastic change. Cassius was much more deceitful than Brutus and let his mal-intentions get the better of him and Brutus.
Brutus, as mentioned before was a true patriot of Rome and every action he made was for the better of his country regardless of the personal impact it had on him. As a protector of Caesar, despite not seeing him as a fit ruler, he performed his duties with pride for Rome (Bloom par. 6). As a patriot of Rome and with the best interest of the country in mind, Brutus decided that something drastic must be done to prevent Caesar from becoming ruler. Although Brutus was a strong and independent man, he was also easily persuaded which became evident as the acts progress. Cassius convinces Brutus that he is correct in thinking that actions must take place to prevent Caesar from becoming the Roman ruler. Cassius sets of lucrative acts and traps to lure Brutus into joining Cassius’ conspiracy to overthrow Caesar. The men regretfully devise to murder Caesar through conspiracy. By being led into a conspiracy, Brutus confirms that he is blinded by his patriotism which can be seen as honorable by some. Not seeing or acknowledging the consequences of his actions but only being aware of the prospective benefits for Rome, this can be seen as incredibly heroic or foolishly naive.
Once convinced of a conspiracy, Brutus and other close protectors of Caesar murder him in the Senate. Prior to this gruesome massacre, Caesar was made aware of conspiracies by several individuals, but they were ignored by Caesar’s pride and also gullible personality. Caesar’s wife even explained nightmares that foreshadowed his murder and finally convinced him to not go to the Senate. He eventually was talked into going by his closest and most loyal friend, Antony. When Caesar arrives in the Senate and is murdered, Brutus once again shows his transparent and genuine emotions as he weeps over his dear friend’s dead body. Antony sees Brutus’s remorse as loyalty (Bloom par. 4). Although Brutus has murdered Caesar knowing the potential consequences, he kept the better good of Rome and the people in the forefront of his mind and that is what ultimately guided his sword into Caesar causing his death and sealing Brutus’s fate.
At the public announcement of Caesar’s death, Brutus admits that the actions were done so with the best interest of Rome in mind. The citizens of Rome were in shock and rightfully so as they saw Caesar as the answer to their political prayers. Up to this point, Brutus participated in many actions that caused him to be penalized in some way but he rationalized them as being beneficial for Rome and the Roman people (Think Now par. 1). At the public announcement and funeral for Caesar, Brutus allowed his patriotic and caring nature get the best of him. Antony requested to speak at Caesar’s funeral and in doing so forced Brutus and Callius to be exiled from the city. Antony did this by making the Roman people aware of the goodness of Caesar and the evil and Brutus and Callius.
Once Brutus and the other shunned people left Rome, his whole world was destroyed but all he had to fight for was his belief that his actions were justified by doing what was right for the country of Rome. Ultimately, Brutus kills himself as he sees his battle has been lost. During the process of Brutus being loyal to Rome, his murdered his friend, the reputation of the guards, caused numerous deaths and even caused his beloved wife to take her own life. Despite the horrible acts and consequences of Brutus’s actions, Antony deems Brutus as a true hero of the Roman empire despite murdering Caesar and allows him an honorable burial within Rome.
Act after act in Julius Caesar, Brutus is constantly fighting an internal battle of what is morally correct and what is in the best interest of Rome. Ultimately, Brutus submits to his patriotism time after time which makes him a true tragic hero (Bloom par. 2). Being blind to his inevitable consequences makes Brutus truly an honest hero in many aspects and his foolishness could be seen as a comedic aspect of the play if viewed in retrospect. Ultimately Brutus causes his own death along with so many others in honor of the success of Rome.
Contrary to Brutus, Cassius had a different perspective on what should be done to prevent Caesar’s inevitable ruling. Cassius did not have the same patriotic heart that Brutus did which ultimately lead Brutus to be as forward and aggressive with his beliefs as he was. If Brutus was to act alone, Caesar may have survived but due to Brutus being shown what can be done to stop Caesar in a malicious but effective way, he acted. Brutus also needed confirmation that his lack of confidence in Caesar’s ability to rule Rome was accurate and a shared belief with others. By confiding in Cassius, he was ultimately led to his death and the murder of Caesar.
The big picture and theme of Brutus’s character is blind faith in conclusion. Brutus disobeyed every bit of training and morality that was instilled in Romans to protect the very country he served. Brutus proved his loyal character by selflessly giving up every law known in the Roman culture to do what he thought was best for the country as a whole. He systematically assigned a dear friend, caused his wife to kill herself, and even took his own life all for the sake of his country. The faith that Brutus had that he was doing the right thing by eliminating the chance of Caesar ruining Rome was blindly led by his violent actions. Brutus can be viewed as a true patriot with blind faith which is by far the best description he can receive for his actions. He was not lawfully correct in his behavior or even morally just but on account of his patriotism and faith, he was able to fulfill his inner desire to prevent Caesar from ruling but was never able to calm the inner conflict in his heart or conscience.
After careful examination of the characteristics of Brutus, it is easy to see his admiration for Caesar but also his justification for his actions. Throughout the beginning of the play, it is clear that Caesar and Brutus were close and relied on each other in many different aspects of their lives. It is also evident that Brutus is deeply in love with his country Rome and is willing to do whatever it takes to protect the livelihood of the country he loves so dearly. Despite the friendship of Caesar and Brutus, the patriotism of the Roman country wins in Brutus’s internal conflict. The tragedy of this play truly circles around the compassion that Brutus has for Rome and the Roman people. Caesar obviously plays a major role in this Shakespeare play, but the plot and tone are clearly set by Brutus. Privy to intimate information, Callius also plays an intricate role in Brutus’s actions, as depicted previously, which shapes the outcome of the entire play and Rome’s history.
In this play written by William Shakespeare, at the surface, it is a tragic play about Caesar. What Shakespeare wanted to show in this play was the devoted and selfless actions of the true hero, Brutus. As a close friend of Caesar, Roman patriot, literal back-stabber, and hero of Rome, Brutus plays an impactful part in the tragical murder of Caesar while maintaining the Roman empire. Brutus’s loyalty to the Roman republic ultimately causes him to lose much more than his own life. Due to his unrelenting patriotism to Rome, he is given honor after his death by Caesar’s closest friend and adopted son, even when many of those he conspired with did not get the same respect (Hamer 32). Through conflict and murder, self-realization and patriotism, Brutus shows through the numerous acts of Julius Caesar that selflessness is possible and in the name of a country, is extremely honorable. Despite the questionable and unlawful acts of violence, Brutus is truly the real hero in the play by impacting the course of history and the political reign of Rome through the conspired assassination of Julius Caesar
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