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Justin Tucker
Dr. Bender
ENG 4423
Marcus Brutus
In Shakespeares Julius Caesar Brutus is a character torn between loyalty to a friend and
what is right for a countrys republic. In the play he ultimately gives into the needs of the many
and joins the plot to kill Caesar. Which ends with him being turned villain in the eyes of the
people of Rome and killed for it. In history it is much the same, however in viewing Brutuss
crime, not through the eyes of a playwright, in a historical stand point he is a truly a hero.
The best way to understand Brutus as being a hero is by looking at his portailal in Shakespeares
play. In the play Brutus is a solider in senators robes, a man of action who has been handpick by
Caesar no less to decide Romes laws. This mostly due to the fact that Caesar held Brutus in high
esteem due both men having a military background or in the case of history that Brutus was his
illegitimate son. Which has lead Brutus into the role of Caesar right hand man and close friend.
Caesars rise to power has caused great worry in the senate that Caesar may become a single
ruler like Rome once had. However this is where history and the play diverge in regards to what
In the play the plot of the assassination is put together by Cassius and Casca who both think
Caesar is a deceptive snake waiting to grab power over Rome for himself. They use Brutuss
sense as a man of action to make him believe that Caesar mush die for the good of the Roman
Empire. However to help things along they also make Brutus come to the understanding that it is
the will of the Roman people that wish for Caesars death. This leads to the death of Caesar and
the vilification of Brutus. However Shakespeare is not without his mercy for Brutus because he

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is cast in the light of being sympatric villain due to the tricky used to make him believe that the
death of his friend would help all of Rome to continue to live as republic. However in history we
see a different side all together.
When it comes to the history of Brutus much is the same in the regards to the rise of Caesar
however things change in the way of the assassination plot. The historical Brutus had his doubt
about Caesar to begin with and even sided with his rival during the Roman civil war. However
due to Caesar having a relationship with Brutuss mother when he was younger thought Brutus to
be his son. This is a corner stone for Brutus and Caesars relationship and how it turns bloody. To
also help understand about Brutuss dedication to the empire, it must be understood that he is
descended from Junius Brutus, a Roman hero for expelling the Tarquins and destroying the
monarchy. So Brutus seeing Caesar gaining power to rival the old monarchy did the only thing
that would help, kill Caesar.
The play and history do meet up again after Caesar has drawn his final breath, with his last
words being Et tu Brute? which was made famous by the play, or to silent defeat at the hands
of his assassins. The senate underestimated the sway that Caesar held over the republic and its
people. With the might of Markus Anthony and Octavia Caesar, the senate was hunted down and
killed for the death of Caesar.
This included Brutus but not one to die like an animal, decided to end his life by falling on his
sword. So in conclusion when viewing Brutus from the side of history it can be see that although
Brutus can be seen a betrayer of a dear friend, one is more inclined to see him as a man standing
against tyrants.

Work Cited
"Internet History Sourcebooks." Internet History Sourcebooks. Web. 22 Sept. 2015.

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"P139 The Life of Antony." Plutarch Life of Antony. Web. 22 Sept. 2015.

"The Internet Classics Archive | Marcus Brutus by Plutarch." The Internet Classics
Archive | Marcus Brutus by Plutarch. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.
"The Internet Classics Archive | Caesar by Plutarch." The Internet Classics Archive |
Caesar by Plutarch. Web. 22 Sept. 2015.

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De Vita Caesarum, Divus Lulius (The Lives of the Caesars, the Deified Juslius)
Written by Suetonius in 110CE, Translated by J.C.Rolfe
A biography of Julius Caesar, which includes early life.
(Original Latin)
Written by Plutarch in 75 A.C.E, Translated by John Dryden
A biography of Julius Caesar, has a more story like feel to it and starts in mid-life.
Marcus Brutus
Written by Plutarch in 75 A.C.E, Translated by John Dryden
A biography of Marcus Brutus, gives good knowledge of Brutuss life and a description of the
murder of Caesar.
The Parallel Lives
Written by Plutarch
A biography of Markus Antony, gives a good description of his life and events around Caesar.

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