Brutus Character Analysis

  • Created by: Heather
  • Created on: 09-04-14 18:01
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  • Brutus Character Analysis
    • Background
      • 'There was once a Brutus that would have brook'd/ Th'eternal devil to keep his state in Rome/ As easily as a King.'
      • Brutus claims to be the descendant from Junius Brutus who was the traditional founder of the Roman Republic in the sixth century
      • In the Civil War between Caesar and Pompey, he sided with his arch enemy Pompey who killed his father,
      • Caesar spared Brutus which shows how much Caesar loves Brutus and respects him,
    • Backstabber or hero?
      • Through the book, Shakespeare makes it clear that Brutus us committed deeply to the Roman Republic which other Romans are very proud of,
        • Cassius is the first to show a glowing tribute to him- 'O, he sits high in all the people's hearts... His countenance, like richest alchemy/ Will change to virtue and to worthiness.'
      • Brutus 'love him well' (Caesar) so Brutus loves Caesar the man but hates Caesar the tyrant who is growing in power,
      • He is in constant turmoil about whether to kill his friend as he wants to do what is best for Rome and all actions he will make, he has to justify every action in his own ethical standards,
        • 'Brutus,/Stole from my bed; and yesternight at supper/ You arose... Musing and sighing...And too impatiently stamp'd your foot'
      • However, when he joins the conspiracy, his judgement is flawed and his vision obscured by his Utopian assumptions which is his belief that people can be persuaded by a rational argument,
        • 'Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius,/ To cut the head off and then hack the limbs... for Antony is but a limb of Caesar'
      • He is not concerned with personal gain but he is torn between personal love for Caesar and patriotic love for Rome.
      • he cares for the people of Rome and wants to keep them as a Republic like they want and he is very sympathetic towards Portia and listens to what she says which is unusual for that time and also for his man servant- Lucius which shows he is caring,
    • Honourable and Noble
      • Brutus is guided in all things by his concepts of honour.
      • He is honourable as he is greatly disturbed when events force him to act in a inconsistent manner,
        • When he drinks a toast with Caesar while wearing a false face to hide his complicity in the conspiracy which shows his anguish at what will happen,
      • He sees the nobility in everyone as he underestimates Antony as an opponent as he believes that everyone is as truthful and consistent as him which is because of his Utopian assumptions,
      • Brutus has an honourable and noble reputation which is not just from his ancestors, but also from his previous actions and this changes the conspiracy to an honourable cause and not just a power-hungry group and encourages others to join,
    • Shakespeare/ Elizabethan times
      • Brutus killing Caesar and plotting against him reminds an Elizabethan audience of the many attempts made on the Queen's life,
      • Cassius's persuasion of Brutus to join the conspiracy would have reminded an Elizabethan audience of the anxiety about disaffection in the realm and there is corruption in Elizabethan times.


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