Marcus Brutus Character Analysis Essay


Character Analysis

One of the conspirators, Brutus is supposed to be Julius Caesar's BFF but he ends up stabbing his so-called pal in the back, literally and figuratively. Does this make Brutus a villain worthy of a Lemony Snicket novel? Not necessarily, but we'll let you decide.

Biggest Backstabber Ever or Roman Hero?

Brutus' decision to stab Caesar in the back isn't an easy one. He has to choose between his loyalty to the Roman Republic and his loyalty to his friend, who seems like he could be heading toward tyrant status. When Brutus hears how the commoners are treating Caesar like a rock star, he's worried for Rome:

What means this shouting? I do fear the people
Choose Caesar for their king.
                                                 Ay, do you fear it?
Then must I think you would not have it so.
I would not, Cassius, yet I love him well.

Even though Brutus "love[s]" Caesar "well," he also fears that his friend will be crowned king, which goes against the ideals of the Roman Republic.

After killing his pal and washing his hands in his blood, Brutus defends his actions:

If there be any in this assembly, any dear
friend of Caesar's, to him I say that Brutus' love
to Caesar was no less than his. If then that friend
demand why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my
answer: not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved
Rome more.

OK, fine – we believe Brutus when he says it was hard for him to murder Caesar. But does his sense of patriotism really justify killing a friend and a major political leader? It turns out that this is one of the most important questions in the play, and there aren't any easy answers.

Great-Grandfather of Macbeth and Hamlet

When we first meet Brutus, it becomes clear that he's the play's most psychologically complex character. Check out his response when Cassius asks him what's bothering him:

Be not deceived. If I have veiled my look,
I turn the trouble of my countenance
Merely upon myself. Vexèd I am
Of late with passions of some difference,
Conceptions only proper to myself,
Which give some soil, perhaps, to my behaviors.
But let not therefore my good friends be grieved
(Among which number, Cassius, be you one)
Nor construe any further my neglect,
Than that poor Brutus, with himself at war,
Forgets the shows of love to other men.

When Brutus says he's been at "war" with himself, we know he's pretty torn up about something. Is he worried about Caesar's growing power and what he'll probably have to do to stop him from becoming king? Probably. The rest of play traces Brutus' inner turmoil, which is why a lot of literary critics see Brutus as the great-grandfather of two of Shakespeare's later protagonists: Hamlet (the moodiest teenager in literature) and the introspective Macbeth. This speech also says a lot about Brutus' character. When Cassius asks him why he's been so upset lately, Brutus' first priority is to apologize to his pal for being so moody and neglectful of their relationship. Obviously friendship is very important to Brutus.

The Noblest Roman of Them All?

There's a reason Antony calls Brutus the "noblest Roman" (meaning most honorable): he stands up for what he believes in, risks his life for Rome, and doesn't seem to be concerned with personal gain. Yet for all of Brutus' good qualities, his troubles stem from his decision to murder a man and his misjudgment about the consequences. Brutus' defining traits are still up for discussion: is he more naïve than noble, more callous than considerate? Brutus' honor convinces him that they shouldn't dispose of Antony when the other men want to, and his trust in Antony's honor leads him to believe Antony's funeral speech will not be an invitation to riot. (Sadly mistaken.)

His final words are most telling – he doesn't die just to avenge Caesar, but instead leaves a complicated legacy: "Caesar, now be still: I kill'd not thee with half so good a will." This incantation acknowledges the debt Brutus owes to Caesar, and it admits that Brutus sees some of his own failings too – leading him to embrace his own death. It's not that Brutus didn't willingly kill Caesar. He's as committed to his own death now as he was to Caesar's then. Brutus commits an act of self-sacrifice with no pride or self-pity. He's humble about what he's done (both good and bad) and quietly accepting of his own fate.

Brutus' Timeline

Character Analysis Of Marcus Brutus: "The Tragedy Of Julius Caesar" By William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare's play, "The Tragedy of Julius Caesar", is

mainly based on the assassination of Julius Caesar. The character

who was in charge of the assassination was, ironically, Marcus Brutus,

a servant and close friend to Julius Caesar. But what would cause a

person to kill a close friend? After examining Brutus' relationship to

Caesar, his involvement in the conspiracy, and his importance to the

plot, the truth can be revealed.

Marcus Brutus, a servant and close friend to Caesar, has a

strong relationship with Caesar but a stronger relationship with

Rome and its people. Brutus is very close to Caesar. In Roman times,

the only way for someone to get close to a person of high rank is if

he/she is close to him/her. In many points of the play, Brutus was

talking and next to Caesar. Brutus also loves Caesar but fears his

power. In the early acts of the play, Brutus says to Cassius, "What

means this shouting? I do fear the people do choose Caesar for their

king...yet I love him well."(act 1, scene 2, ll.85-89), as he is

speaking to Cassius. Brutus loves Caesar, but would not allow him to

"climber-upward...He then unto the ladder turns his back..."(act 2,

scene 1, ll.24,26). As the quote says, Brutus would not allow Caesar

to rise to power and then turn his back onto the people of Rome. After

the assassination of Julius Caesar, Brutus talks to Antony about

Caesar's death. "Our hearts you see not; they are pitiful; and pity

to the general wrong of Rome..."(act 3, scene 1, ll.185-186). Brutus

says that Antony cannot see their(members of the conspiracy) hearts,

which are full of pity. Again, this shows how Brutus loved Caesar but

cared for the life of Rome and its people more. This is the only

reason Brutus would conspire against Caesar. For Brutus says to

himself, "I know no personal cause to spurn at him...How that might

change his nature..."(act 2, scene1, ll. 1,13) Caesar's relationship

with Brutus is also strong. Just allowing Brutus to speak to Caesar

shows his respect for Brutus. Caesar feels that Brutus is noble to him

and does the right thing regardless of personal danger. On the Ides of

March, as Caesar was assassinated, Caesar's last line is: "Et tu,

Brute?--Then fall, Caesar."(act 3, scene 1, l.85). This shows that

Caesar would not die without Brutus' stab....

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