Brutus is found dead
For the Good of Rome
In the play, Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, Antony says that Brutus is the noblest Roman of all when Brutus is found dead. Antony was correct in his statement because in the play, Brutus proves himself to be more noble than any other man. By emphasizing the sacrifice Brutus makes, how he is manipulated by being noble and proving that he is a tragic hero confirms that Brutus is a noble man.
The American Heritage Dictionary by Houghton Miffton defines noble as:
Possessing hereditary rank in a political system or social class derived from a feudalistic stage of a country's development.
Having or showing qualities of high moral character, such as courage, generosity, or honor: a noble spirit. [...] (Yahoo. n.pag.). Brutus is defined by a number of these. In the play Brutus is a powerful public figure. He is viewed as noble and honorable by the people of Rome and they listen to all that Brutus has to say. He has a high social rank and is respected by most. However, Brutus has higher honors than just being a respected and honored man:
Brutus was now considered to be a friend of Caesar, who sent him on an important mission to the east, made him governor of Cisalpine Gaul (i.e., the Po plains) in the years 46-45, choose him as praetor for the year 44 and promised him the consulate in 41. No man had received similar, extravagant honors. (Marcus Junius Brutus Caepio n.pag.). By holding these high honors it proves Antony's claim of Brutus being noble is the truth, as well as
showing that Brutus fits the definition of noble.
Brutus makes a sacrifice when he decides to help the conspirators. Caesar had became his friend, and he loved his dear friend. The conspirators wanted Brutus to join their cause and Cassius, who is also Brutus's friend, decided to manipulate him. Many years before Brutus came to be, a man named Lucius Junius Brutus, who was a distant relative of Brutus, killed a king and swore that that no "king or any man" will rule Rome again. (Zoch 31,207 ). Cassius uses this information by making Brutus believe that killing Caesar would be for the good of Rome. At Caesar's funeral Brutus speaks these words to the people of Rome: "If then that a friend demand why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer: not that I loved Caesar less, but that I love Rome more." (Shakespeare 20-22) In his heart killing Caesar was noble and it prevented what his ancestor, Lucius Brutus, feared for Rome.
Aristotle says that a tragic hero is noble and so by proving that Brutus is a tragic hero it also proves that he his noble.
Aristotle's definition of a tragic hero states:
The tragic hero is a character of noble stature and has greatness....
Though the tragic hero is pre-eminently great, he/she is not perfect....
The hero's downfall, therefore, is partially her/his own fault, the result of free choice, not ` of accident or villainy or some overriding, malignant fate....
The hero's misfortune is not wholly deserved. The punishment exceeds the crime. The fall is not pure loss. There is some increase in awareness, some gain in self- knowledge, some discovery on the part of the tragic hero. (Aristotle n.pag.).
We see many flaws in Brutus throughout the play. The one trait he has as a noble man is also his tragic flaw: being noble. By being overly noble Brutus is deceived by Cassius who tells Brutus that killing Caesar is for the good of Rome. Brutus's intentions are good, while Cassius's are selfish. Also, Antony, knowing Brutus's nobility, uses it to deceive Brutus into thinking that he was going to say only positive
things about the conspirators at Caesar's funeral. Brutus stood before the crowd of Romans proves how noble he is by speaking these words: "With this I depart, that, as I slew my best lover for the good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself when it shall please my country to need my death" (Shakespeare 44-47) These actions lead to Brutus's downfall. Antony creates a mutiny which then leads to war. Brutus realizes that he cannot win the battle and decides to end his life but before doing so he regrets killing his friend and knows the wrong he did. Before his end Brutus increased his awareness and discovered he felt guilt for his actions.
Anthony makes a correct statement when he says that Brutus is a noble man. Not only does Brutus fit the definition of noble but he is noble in his acts. Aristotle's own definition provides us with proof that Brutus is noble because of his actions and flaws. The nobility of Brutus shows in everything he does throughout the play. The sacrifices he made and his reasoning are proof of such a noble man.
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