Julius Caesar - Tragic Hero Essay

This essay has a total of 1099 words and 5 pages.

Julius Caesar - Tragic Hero


Julius Caesar as a Tragic Hero

Julius Caesar is a play written by William Shakespeare during the year 1597. Julius
Caesar's story involves a conspiracy against Julius Caesar, a powerful senator.


The play involves a highly respected senator, Brutus, who decides to join the conspiracy
to kill Julius Caesar, in the effort to keep democracy intact. Brutus believes that if
Julius Caesar is allowed to live, Caesar will take a kingship and turn the government into
a monarchy. Brutus, Cassius, and the other conspirators kill Julius Caesar, yet they find
Antony, a loyalist of Caesar, seeks revenge on them. Plato set out rules on the traits a
tragic hero must possess. A tragic hero must neither be an evil villain nor a great hero,
instead the tragic hero must be either a flawed hero or a villain with some good traits.
Also, the tragic hero must not deserve what mighty punishment is dealt to him. Another key
feature of a tragic hero is the fact that a tragic hero must be a high-standing individual
in society. The tragic hero must not deserve his punishment for the play to be a tragedy.
Also, a tragedy happening to someone in high authority, will affect not only the single
person but also society as a whole. Another reason for the tragic hero to be in high
authority is to display that if a tragedy may happen to someone such as a king, it may
just as easily happen to any other person. Julius Caesar fits the role of a tragic hero.
Julius Caesar is a high standing senator that possesses hamartia, failings of human
nature. Julius Caesar's imperfections may be seen in three distinct aspects of Caesar,
such as the following: his pride, his vacillation, and his ambition.


Julius Caesar has much pride, a hamartia, which brings him to not be wary of the
conspiracy. Caesar is given much warning on the threat of his life, yet due to his pride
he thinks himself to be too great of a person to have such a downfall. Julius Caesar is
warned by a soothsayer, "Soothsayer. Beware the ides of March."(1,2,18) Julius Caesar
rebukes the soothsayer by stating, "Caesar. He is a dreamer. Let us leave him.
Pass."(1,2,23) Caesar does not take warning to be wary the middle of the month, the day of
his assassination. Later, Caesar's wife Calpurnia has a nightmare that Caesar is slain at
the Capitol. Caesar calls for the priests to do a sacrifice to see if it is wise to stay
or leave for the Capitol. The priests warn Caesar not to leave out of the house and
Calpurnia pleads with him also. Caesar's pride is shown by his response, "Caesar.
…Danger knows full well that Caesar is more dangerous than he. We are two lions littered
in one day, And I the elder and more terrible, And Caesar shall go forth."(2,2,44-47)
Caesar shows that his pride overrules any advice given by others. If not for Julius
Caesar's pride, he may have avoided the assassination and had more time for the conspiracy
to be uncovered. This clearly shows that Caesar's pride is a hamartia that leads to his
downfall.

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