Thursday, 9 August 2018

"Brutus is the real hero of Julius Caesar." Discuss.

In a Shakespearean tragedy, the hero is only one who occupies an exalted position in life. Now let try to justify who is the hero in Julius Caesar either Caesar or Brutus.Brutus is the real hero of Julius Caesar and also tragic hero .  Brutus qualifies for the position of its hero. But the claims of Caesar cannot be set aside. It is he who really dominates the action of the play. In the first half of the play it is the living Caesar who dominates, and after his assassination in the middle of the play, it is the spirit of Caesar which dominates the second half. In the very beginning scene we get an impression of Caesar's greatness and the high esteem in which people hold him. All these remarks raise Caesar in our estimation.
Brutus is real hero

At the very beginning, Caesar produces a favourable impression on us when he dismisses the soothsayer as a dreamer. After returning from the games, Caesar impresses us greatly by his intelligence in assessing the character of Cassius. He tells Antony that Cassius is a dangerous man because he thinks much, reads much, observes a great deal, and can see through the deeds of men. Caesar says that thin men are dangerous. At the same time, Caesar says that he is himself not in the least afraid of Cassius. The manner, in which Caesar replies to his wife Calpurnia's warnings, again produces a favourable impression upon our minds. He tells her that he is not afraid of any danger that he might have to face. Two of the most famous lines in the play come from Caesar in the following way----

 "Cowards die many times before their deaths;The valiant never taste of death but once."

Here Caesar's fearlessness in the face of danger really wins our sympathy. Here he appears to us as a true hero. Thus there is no doubt that Caesar appears before us as a kind of demi-god. Then The will shows Caesar's generosity and his interest in the welfare of the people. We cannot affirm that Caesar is the hero of the play.In the  first place, Caesar  appears only three times in the course of the whole  play and he dies in the middle of the play. Secondly, he suffers from several physical infirmities which actually lower him in our estimation. Cassius refers to the swimming contest in which he had not only defeated Caesar but had even saved the life of Caesar who was about to drown. On another occasion Caesar had suffered from a fever and had cried for water like a sick girl. Brutus says that Caesar suffers from "the falling sickness." Caesar's behaviour at the games is most absurd and ridiculous. We cannot believe that such a great man can behave in such a feeble manner. Then Caesar also appears to be somewhat superstitious, even though he ignores the warnings by the soothsayer and the priests. In the light of all these facts, we would refuse to call Caesar the hero of this play.

Brutus has much stronger claims to be regarded as the hero.He is known to the people of Rome as a high-minded, noble-spirited, and honourable man. In a soliloquy, Cassius admits that Brutus is honourable. Casca says that Brutus sits high in the people's hearts. At the end of the play Antony pays a high tribute to Brutus saying that of all the conspirators, Brutus was the only one man representing an excellent combination of the best human qualities. Thus there can be no doubt about Brutus's nobility. This in itself raises him above Caesar. Brutus love of freedom and republicanism also impars a certain greatness to his character. He joins the conspiracy against  Caesar not because of any personal envy against Caesar or because of any feeling of jealousy. His motives in joining the conspiracy are totally unselfish. His soliloquy clearly shows that his decision to join the conspiracy is determined by his republican views. By nature and by family tradition, he is a foe of tyrants and tyranny. In joining the  conspiracy against Caesar, he certainly betrays the claims and demands of friendship. But he sacrifices friendship for the sake of a higher ideal which is republicanism and a regard for the rights and liberties of the people. Like a Shakespearean tragedy, in Brutus we find the tragic flaw. The flaw is a lack of practical insight and practical judgment Brutus is an idealist. He shows himself to be unfit for the role of a political and military leader.

To sum up, we can say that it is Brutus who wins our deepest sympathies when he is overtaken by misfortune. The assassination of Caesar does not move our hearts to such deep pity as the defeat of Brutus at hands of Antony and Octavius. We admire Brutus for the indifferent manner. At this hour of crisis in his life he thinks it a more appropriate course lo commit suicide than to be taken prisoner by the ememies. At the time of committing suicide, he becomes truly a tragic figure. There is no doubt that Brutus is the hero of the play, while it is Caesar after whose name the play has been called.

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