Brutus from Julius Ceasar: Character Analysis

Brutus from Julius Ceasar: Character Analysis
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            The play ‘Julius Cesar’ is one of the greatest works of the famous writer Shakespeare. The play revisits the great roman emperor Cesar and the events that occurred leading to his death. Brutus is one of the main characters in the play. He played a key role in the assassination of the great Cesar. Through his actions, he has been condemned over the years as a traitor and a backstabber. Some critics, however, argue that Brutus was a hero and a patriot and his actions were in the best interest of the Roman Empire. In the play, Brutus’ character is complex and elicits different views. His decision to stab the emperor in his back was not an easy one, and he had mixed feelings, to choose between his loyalty to his friend or to the empire. Brutus’s involvement in the assassination of Julius Cesar portrayed his character as a traitor, idealist, ambitious, brutal, jealous, and devious.

Brutus’s character in the play Julius Cesar is seen as brutal. This is because, in spite of being one of the closest friend and ally of Cesar, he goes on to conspire against the emperor with his enemies in order to assassinate Cesar and dethrone him as the emperor of Rome.  This act is seen as a betrayal in that even after being a close friend of Cesar and fighting side by side in numerous wars, Brutus was still able to stab Cesar in the back in the fateful assassination of this great emperor. Brutus took part in a conspiracy with Cesar’s enemies to assassinate. Him being a close friend of the emperor, he was expected to warn his friend of his enemies’ intention, but instead took part in the secretive plot, and even aided in the assassination by stabbing him (Shakespeare and Mason, p87). Here Brutus appears to play the character of a traitor.

Brutus, despite being a powerful military leader and a public figure, was not satisfied with his status. He still coveted the power of his friend the emperor Cesar. Due to his ambitions, he conspired with the enemies of the emperor in a plot to dethrone him. This was in order for him to gain more power.  This led him to stab the emperor in the back, and through this, he gained more power. He filled the vacuum of power left by the death of the emperor by dividing the authority with his co-conspirators.

Brutus was jealous of the emperor Cesar. In the play, he was displeased with the way the citizens of Rome revered their emperor. He also coveted the throne of the emperor (Shakespeare and Mason, p13). This led him to conspire with the enemies of the emperor and hatched a plot to assassinate him. Here the character of Brutus is seen as envious.

Brutus also exhibits the character as a devious man. He went behind the back of his friend Cesar and conspired to assassinate him. He pretended to be in good terms with the emperor but in a real sense, he was plotting to kill him. Through his actions, he portrays the character of a devious man. Despite being a friend of Cesar, he was still able to devise a plan to kill him, and incidentally was the one who stabbed Cesar in the back (Shakespeare and Mason, p87). This was a brutal act since it is not usual for a person to stab a friend in the back. This action by Brutus led to the coining of the word brutality.


In the play Julius Cesar, Brutus faces a dilemma in choosing between duty to the republic and loyalty to his friend. Some may argue that he was a hero through his actions, but in my opinion, he was a traitor since he took part in the assassination of his friend, the remarkable Julius Cesar.

 Works Cited: Shakespeare, William, and Lawrence Mason. The tragedy of Julius Caesar, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1919. Print.