How William Shakespear uses the symbol of honor through Brutus in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar’

December 9, 2020 by Essay Writer

Arguement – The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

Honor is the mask that allows nobles to justify their actions. In the play, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, by Shakespeare, the protagonist, Brutus, faces many decisions that questions his honor. Brutus is a trusted noble who shows he is the symbol of honor. Brutus and the conspirators assassinate Julius Caesar, causing the Romans to question whether Brutus is honorable or not, after Antony’s funeral speech. Caesar dies because of his hubristic nature, which Brutus believes to be a tremendous flaw in a ruler. Brutus is an honorable man because he is motivated by just, unselfish reasons to end Caesar’s life, and chooses the respectful, caring decisions in dilemmas.

Brutus is seen as honorable and noble even by his enemy, Antony, because Antony notices Brutus is altruistic in the style he assassinates Caesar. “This was the noblest Roman… All the conspirators save only he did that they did in envy of great Caesar; He only, in a general honest thought,” (V.5.68-71). This quote shows that Brutus was thinking not of the rewards for himself, but the rewards the Romans receive from Caesar’s death. This is completely honorable because the other conspirators had traitorous reasons to rebel against Caesar. Brutus believes in the benefit of the people of Rome because he sees Caesar as an ambitious friend. “…I know no personal cause to spurn at him, But for the general. He would be crown’d: How that might change his nature, there’s the question,” (II.1.11-13). In this quote, spoken by Brutus himself, Brutus notices Caesar’s ambitious personality. He plans to ambush Caesar, not for his own personal gain, since Caesar is a friend, but for Rome’s gain. On the opposite perspective, one might see Brutus as a person making a simple excuse to assassinate Caesar, but this is not true. Brutus eventually offers his own life to Rome if Rome needs it, showing sacrifices are needed and Caesar’s sacrifice was needed.

Brutus does not take rash, unneeded decisions that cause unneeded bloodshed. When the conspirators debate on whether to kill Antony or not, Brutus decides to allow Antony to live. “For Antony is but a limb of Caesar. Let’s be sacrificers, but not butchers,” (II.1.165-166). In this quote, Brutus demonstrates caring for his soon to be opponent, allowing Antony a fair fight in the fields of war, rather than a double assassination. Brutus also chooses not to butcher Caesar, but to sacrifice him as if the assassination is sacred. “Let’s kill him boldly, but not wrathfully; Let’s carve him as a dish fit for the gods,” (II.1.172-173). Brutus is the only one that wants Caesar to die gracefully, because he believes Caesar is a good man other than his ambition. He is only afraid of how Caesar will change after obtaining the crown. Another perspective might believe Brutus to be wrong and Caesar’s personality was fine, but Caesar was foolish enough to walk into an ambush by the conspirators even with many warnings. Caesar was lucky to have such a respectful, honorable man be his opponent.

Power is an attractive force that can compel humans to seize leadership whenever possible. Leadership is difficult in this regard, because ambitions can hinder an honorable leader. It is clear that the one honorable person in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar is Brutus. Brutus shows his selflessness and reverence during the play. He is the one that power did not corrupt, he is the one that protects Romans from ambitious leaders, he is the most honorable Roman.

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