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Character of Brutus in Julius Caesar: Traits, Analysis & Quiz

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Shamekia Thomas

Shamekia has taught English at the secondary level and has her doctoral degree in clinical psychology.

Brutus is one of the central characters in the play 'Julius Caesar' written by William Shakespeare. Brutus' character is complex and he is often thought of as a tragic hero. Learn more about the character Brutus from the play 'Julius Caesar', and test your knowledge with a quiz.

We also recommend watching Julius Caesar: Shakespeare's Play vs. History and Jane Eyre: Summary, Characters and Analysis

Introduction

How do you know who you can trust? How do you know who will remain loyal to you and support your success? Do you know who your real friends are? These are often the questions many of us think when we develop close friendships and relationships. These are the questions Julius Caesar should have asked about the people closest to him. If he had, it might have saved his life.

Julius Caesar

William Shakespeare's play, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, is about the assassination of Julius Caesar. The plot to kill Julius Caesar is first organized by some of his close friends, including his close friend and servant Brutus who Caesar deeply trusted and believed to be 'honorable.' If Brutus had not agreed to play a role in the assassination of Caesar, the plot to kill him might not have worked.

Character Analysis and Traits

Brutus is known as a tragic hero in the play Julius Caesar because he faces a major conflict between his loyalty to his friend and his loyalty to his country. Although Brutus' relationship with Caesar is strong, his relationship with the people of Rome is stronger. Brutus loves Julius Caesar as a friend but does not want anyone to become so powerful that they are able to become a dictator over the people of Rome. Brutus has strong support for the people of Rome and does not want them to lose their power. Because Caesar's enemies know about Brutus' sense of honor for his country, they are able to manipulate him into going along with their plan to kill Caesar. Brutus agrees to kill Caesar because he believes it will be best for the country, the other men want to kill Caesar because of envy and jealousy.

Brutus' character complex. He has always been thought of as 'honorable' and noble. He has strict moral and ethical beliefs that guide his life and guide his desire to protect the people of Rome but he appears hypocritical when he becomes involved in the plot to commit murder.

Brutus

Because of Brutus' 'honorable' reputation, others join in the conspiracy to assassinate Julius Caesar because they trust Brutus' character. It is Brutus' 'honorable' nature that causes him to fall victim to the manipulation of Cassius, Antony, and the other conspirators. When he reads letters supposedly written by Roman citizens, he is too naïve to see that the language used in the letters were likely written by Cassius.

Brutus also struggles in his decision to murder Caesar. At the start of the play he expresses his dislike of Caesar's role and power in Rome but struggles to come to a decision about what to do until the idea was planted in his head by Cassius. Even when he decides to become involved in the assassination, he tries to make the murder seem less cold-blooded by organizing a ritualistic stabbing. Although it takes Brutus awhile to commit to his role in the death of Julius Caesar, once he is committed to the plan, he sticks with it. He makes a number of decisions that were crucial to the success of the assassination. If Brutus was not involved in the assassination attempt, it likely would not have worked. Because of Brutus' character, the conspirators knew the people of Rome would trust Brutus' actions instead of blaming the conspirators for Caesar's death.

The Assassination of Julius Caesar

Lesson Summary

Brutus is a morally conflicted man in the Shakespeare play, Julius Caesar. He loves his friend Julius Caesar but loves his country and the people of Rome more. Brutus agreed to be a part of the assassination of his friend because he feared Caesar's power and allowed himself to be manipulated by others who used his good nature against him. Brutus resolves his moral conflict when he becomes convinced that killing Caesar is best for the country; he convinces himself that performing a ritualistic murder is less murderous than a cold-blooded killing.

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