The Tragedy Of Julius Caesar: Hero Versus Villain

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“Hero”, “villain” these are words that are often used to depict one’s personality or purpose. However in retrospect, it is short sided to assume that a person falls under one general category. In many cases throughout history, it has been proven that there is often what is called a “tragic hero”. A tragic hero is someone who does something for the greater good at the expense of someone’s well being. In the play The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, Brutus is a perfect example of this. When forced to make a decision of either killing Caesar or letting Caesar bring the Roman Empire to its downfall, Brutus sacrifices everything to save Rome. This is one of the most cliched cases of a tragic hero. From the good morals and the heroic acts to the tragedy and selflessness, Brutus was considered a good person with flaws which is only human.

When Cassius had approached Brutus asking for him to be apart of the assasonation, Brutus was hesitant. He presented good morals. He also refused to kill Antony which showed that Brutus was noble. Although he had a good moral compass he was easily manipulated and this was one of his biggest faults. “This was the noblest Roman of them all. All the conspirators save only he

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Did that they did in envy of great Caesar. He only in a general honest thought.

And common good to all, made one of them. (5.5.73–77)” Disreguarding what Antony had said in his speech he admitted that Brutus was honorable in the ending scene. Even Antony, Caesar’s most loyal follower and friend, admitted that Brutus was honest and noble.

When manipulated into participating in the murder of Julius Caesar, Brutus agreed to engage in taking Caesars life. Some might look at this as a sinful evil act but when put into perspective it was a heroic decision. Caesar was on his way to gaining a level of power in which could potentially become very dangerous. Along with many other selfish deeds Caesar was leading Rome into many wars which brought innocent Romans to die in wars designed to increase his legend rather than to protect Rome. This was just one of the many selfish actions Caesar was apart of.

Not only did Brutus just do Rome one good favor he sacrificed everything he possibly had to offer in an effort to do what was best for the Empire. For starters Caesar was Brutus’s best friend. This meant that it wasn’t a careless meaningless plan in fact it was the opposite. Another thing Brutus sacrificed for Rome was his literal life, leaving his wife alone and widowed. He gave his life and family prosperity up for the betterment of Rome. At the end of the day Brutus gained nothing. He was left with a dagger in his chest. This just shows how selfless Brutus was. Some might argue that Brutus was a selfish politician that was trying to gain power to the throne by killing Caesar but that’s simply not the case. In Fact he was left with no power, no family, and no best friend.

A man isn’t human without flaws. In Fact, the definition of a tragic hero is a good person with flaws. Brutus a tragic hero. He was someone who sacrificed everything to be an honorable person and his intentions are often misinterpreted. He was not only noble but he was someone who was heroic who also sacrificed for his country. Afterall in current time America praises our veterans because they fought and killed for our country so why wouldn’t we think of Brutus the same? It isn’t rational to label someone as all or nothing. Brutus was not all villain and not all hero he was both, therefore, making him a tragic hero. A hero with villain tendencies. It’s time society stops thinking in all black or white.


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