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The problem of the hero in the play, Julius Caesar has created a confusion among the critics. However, we can clearly say that Brutus is the hero in this play, even though the play has been named after Caesar. Shakespeare's great tragedies have the names of their heroes as their respective titles. For example, Hamlet is the hero of the play named Hamlet; Othello is the hero in the play called Othello. Macbeth is the hero in the play entitled Macbeth. Lear is the hero in the play called King Lear. In the present play, an exception is noticed. Hero the title of the play is Julius Caesar, but the hero is Marcus Brutus.
Julius Caesar

Caesar really dominates the action of the play. Caesar is undoubtedly the central personality around whom the play resolves. But it is Brutus who wins our highest admiration because of his integrity and his other moral virtues. It is Brutus again who wins our deepest sympathies when he is overtaken by defeat and misfortune. Caesar's claim to be regarded as the hero cannot easily be dismissed. He is a formidable figure in the play. He is a Colossus who doth bestride the narrow world. He is regarded as a god by the people. But Caesar dominates the action of the play only up to the point where he is assassinated. Thereafter Caesar does not exist at all. How can we regard Caesar as the hero of the play when he does not figure in the play after the middle of the play. And in the first half of the play, he makes only three or four brief appearances? It has been suggested that after the assassination of Caesar, his spirit comes into prominence and begins to sway the action of the play.Antony excites the mob to violence in the name of Caesar. Then Antony and Octavius fight against the republicans and they both represent Caesar or the spirit of Caesar. Next, Caesar's ghost appears to Brutus first at Sardis and then at Philippi. When Brutus commits suicide, we may regard it is a victory for the spirit of Caesar who had been stabbed by Brutus and the others. There is a strong basis for the view that in the first half Caesar himself dominates the action of the play, and that in the second half it is his spirit which holds sway. If we admit this, then we should also recognize the weight in the opinion that Caesar is the hero of the play.

Brutus is also regarded as the hero of this play. It is the living Brutus who dominates the action of the play in a large measure . But for him, the conspiracy started by Cassius could never have achieved much success. Shakespeare has depicted Brutus as undergoing a mental conflict between his love of Caesar and his love of liberty. Now, in Shakespearen tragedy it is always the hero who experiences a mental conflict. As many as three soliloquies by Brutus depict this conflict. Finally, when Brutus commits suicide, he wins much more of our sympathy than either Caesar did at the time of his assassination or Cassius did at the time of his suicide.

To sum up, we can say that who is the hero of the play. Under the circumstances considered above, it may be a safer view to affirm that this play has no hero. Our attention in the course of this play has almost been divided between Caesar and Brutus. Therefore, it would be an unfair distinction to say that one or the other of these characters is the hero of the play. Perhaps the play has no hero, after all.


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