The Dishonorable Brutus (Character Analysis)


Marcus Brutus is very dishonorable because he is an impractical, hypocritical, and deceitful traitor, while he also lies time and time again to the people of Rome and his closest friends and family.  Brutus is a nobleman but he frequently proves himself to be dishonorable as he refuses to reveal to his wife that he is a part of a savage conspiracy in which he betrays one of his closest friends, Julius Caesar. Brutus is persuaded by Cassius to accompany him in the conspiracy in which many noblemen conspire against Julius Caesar because they are convinced that Caesar will become a tyrant due to his ambition. As Brutus presumes that Caesar will be a tyrant, he is convinced that Caesar must die for the good of Rome. Brutus says, “not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.” (3.2.18-19).  Although he claims to be doing this horrible act for the good of Rome, after Caesar's funeral there is chaos throughout Rome as Antony has convinced the people of Rome that it was wrong of Brutus to kill Caesar. Brutus frequently makes terrible mistakes that lead to his death by suicide.

Marcus Brutus is impractical because he frequently makes fatal mistakes that lead to an uproar in Rome and eventually, his death. First, when Cassius has convinced Brutus to join the conspiracy, he tells Brutus that the conspirators should kill Mark Antony, a close friend, and ally of Caesar, to prevent any backlash that may result after Caesar’s assassination. Though Cassius tries his best to persuade Brutus to kill Antony, Brutus tells Cassius, “Let us be sacrificers, not butchers, Caius.”(2.1.165). This is a fatal mistake because Antony battles Brutus and Cassius with the help of Octavius because they are enraged with the death of Caesar. Second, Cassius believes that Mark Antony should not be able to speak at Caesar’s funeral while Brutus believes that it will cause no harm. Cassius says, “Know you how much the people may be moved by that which he will utter?”(3.1.233-234). Though Cassius was correct, Brutus ignores him and this results in an uproar in Rome after Mark Antony’s speech. Brutus ignores his allies several times and this response leads to much regret and results in defeat by Octavius and Antony. Brutus ignores Cassius a third time when Brutus thinks that it will be best to advance their army to Philippi, Greece, and Cassius believes that it will be best for the army to stay back. Brutus says that they should advance their troops because, “the enemy increaseth every day, we, at the height, are ready to decline.”(4.3.215-216). This causes Brutus’s and Cassius’s troops to weaken on their journey to Philippi while Antony and Octavius’s armies are well-rested and prepared for battle. This fatal mistake leads to the death of Cassius and Brutus by suicide. Brutus is impractical because he frequently makes fatal mistakes that lead to an uproar in Rome, and eventually, his death.  

Marcus Brutus is hypocritical because he condemns many actions but then he performs those actions himself. First, he says, “Let’s kill him boldly, but not wrathfully.  Let’s carve him as a dish fit for the gods. Not hew him as a carcass fit for hounds.” (2.1.172-174). Although he implies that he plans to not kill Caesar wrathfully, the conspirators stab him 23 times, which is completely unnecessary. Brutus is also a hypocrite when he is furious with Cassius for taking money dishonestly, and he later asks for a portion of it. Brutus says, “I did send to you for certain sums of gold, which you denied me. For I can raise no money by vile means.”(4.3.70-71), after telling Cassius that it was wrong to accept bribes. This shows how Brutus criticizes people for certain actions and then he becomes a hypocrite after acting in those ways himself. Brutus shows his hypocrisy again when he says, “But I do find it cowardly and vile, for fear of what might fall, so to prevent the time of life”(5.1.104-106), implying that suicide is cowardly. Brutus later dies by suicide even though he condemns it earlier. Brutus’s unconscious hypocrisy contributes to him being dishonorable. 

Brutus is dishonorable because he is a deceitful traitor. Brutus is a deceitful traitor because he betrays one of his closest friends and allies, Julius Caesar. He stabs and kills him even though Caesar loved him very much. Before Brutus stabs and kills Caesar at the Capitol, Brutus eats breakfast with the conspirators along with the conspirators. Caesar was unaware of the conspiracy at the time and Brutus says in an aside, “That every like is not the same, O Caesar, the heart of Brutus yearns to think upon!”(2.3.128-129). When he says this he understands that Caesar is a very good friend, and that makes his betrayal even crueler. This is crueler because he is betraying Caesar even yet Brutus acknowledges him as a noble and honorable person. Brutus demonstrates this again when he is about to kill Caesar and bows down to him. He says, “I kiss thy hand, but not in flattery, Caesar, desiring thee that Publius Cimber may have an immediate freedom of repeal.”(3.1.52-54). Brutus praises Caesar and asks a favor just before he gruesomely kills him which is horrible action because he is implying that he means none of it. Brutus claims that the act of Caesar’s assassination was a good cause when he says, “People and senators, be not affrightened. Fly not, stand still. Ambition’s debt is paid.” (3.1.82-83). After he kills Caesar, the Romans are enraged because they loved Caesar very much. Brutus tries to persuade the Romans that he killed Caesar for a good cause when he says, “Had you rather Caesar were living, and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live all freemen?”(3.2.19-20). When he says this, he implies that Caesar would have enslaved the Romans. Brutus is a deceitful traitor because he kills a close friend of his who loved him very much.

In conclusion, Marcus Brutus is very dishonorable because he is an impractical, hypocritical, and deceitful traitor, while he also lies time and time again to the people of Rome and his closest friends and family. First, Brutus frequently makes fatal mistakes and his poor judgment leads him to his death by suicide. Second, Brutus is a hypocrite because he condemns many things which he does himself. Finally, Brutus is a deceitful traitor because he stabs and kills his close friend, Julius Caesar, while acting as if it was a good cause for his death. Brutus is dishonorable because he turns his back on his closest friends, he has poor judgment, and he is a hypocrite.   
 

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. “Julius Caesar.” Adventures in Appreciation, edited by Fannie Safier, et al., Pegasus ed., Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989, pp. 543-639.

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