Julius Caesar Essay: Brutus Character Analysis
Brutus, a Roman consul who fatally stabbed his best friend, yet regrets it later on. Cassius convinces Brutus to kill his best friend to help the Roman Empire. Brutus quickly realizes his mistake with killing his best friend and takes his guilty thoughts out on Cassius. Brutus not only uses rhetorical analysis on his friend, Cassius but on the audience to feel his pain and sorrow he has brought upon himself.
The audience is let in on Brutus's thoughts as he regrets his previous actions. Brutus becomes overwhelmed with these thoughts and lashes out on Cassius. He wants the audience to feel sorry for him, and he wants us to believe him, believe that he knows he's made a mistake. Brutus also wants to have the audience, and Cassius sees that he's regretting it, and so should everyone else. Brutus tells Cassius, “You have done that, you should be sorry for.’ (Shakespeare IV. III:74). Brutus wants a bond to form between the audience and himself, so he throws Cassius under the bus, saying he needs to be sorry. Ethos is used in this sentence as Brutus tries to gain respect from the audience as he tries to distance himself from Cassius. Showing that maybe if Brutus weren’t convinced, Caesar would still be alive. As readers, we see that Brutus is struggling, and perhaps we should take pity on him. Brutus is not only struggling at the end but near the beginning, “Hear me, for I will speak. Must I give way and room to the rash choler? Shall I be frightened when a Madame stares?” (Shakespeare IV. III:42-44). Brutus acts as if he is done with Cassius and all his games. He gains control over himself and his thoughts, telling the audience and Cassius that they will listen when he speaks. The audience begins to believe that he was just struck with jealousy and confusion, with that the author has just won over the audience using ethos.
Ethos was not the only rhetorical analysis used in this speech. Brutus uses many tricks to convince the audience that he is a good guy and is truly sad. Brutus takes the option to control the audience‘s emotions by asking them a question, “did not great Julius bleed for Justice's sake?” (Shakespeare IV. III:20). He stands up for Caesar, showing that he knows Caesar was great and there was no reason to kill him. Surely if Brutus can understand that Caesar was good and even go as far as admitting it, he must know that what he has done is wrong. Pathos is used by convincing the audience on how they should feel. Brutus is good at making people feel sorry for him, for who wouldn’t feel sorry for a man who just lost his close friend. When speaking to Cassius, Brutus points out that “(He’d) rather be a dog and bay, the moon than be such a roman.” (Shakespeare IV. III:29-30). The audience and Cassius both know that Brutus killed Caesar, but he throws Romans under the bus. After all, why would they kill a man that everyone liked? There must have been another reason. If Brutus doesn’t want to be roman, there is a reason for us to believe that Brutus had a reason for killing Cesar, but it wasn't good enough. Brutus regretted it and would be a dog if that meant he would be free of his decision. Readers now think that Brutus is sorrowful and very hard on himself, so we must feel sorry for him.
Throughout the whole speech in Act 4, Brutus becomes struck with pain and sorrow. With the pain he has caused himself and others, it is easy for him to convince us to feel sorry for him. Shakespeare can make us conflicted on who to feel sorry for and who was justified with the killing. He not only used great rhetorical analysis when writing this speech but was able to give examples that from any viewpoint, we'd be able to understand where Brutus was coming from.