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“The noble Brutus hath told you Caesar was ambitious. If it were so, it was a grievous fault, and grievously hath Caesar answered it. Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest (for Brutus is an honorable man; so are they all, all honorable men), come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral,” (677-688, li 74-81). In William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, the character of Marcus Brutus represents an honorable man. His honor and nobility cause him to make many mistakes along the path of the story, leading eventually to his downfall and suicide.
At the beginning of the play the reader meets Marcus Brutus, a man widely known for his noble character, for the first time. He does “fear the people choose Caesar for their king,” but does not want this to come true (631, li 84-87). This, perhaps, begins his downfall. Although Brutus does not realize it yet, even considering going along with the conspiracy is his first mistake. Then he tells the conspirators to “come home to me, and I will wait for you,” (637, li 294). This probably signals to Cassius that Brutus will most likely join the conspiracy. Cassius probably sends the forged letter to make Brutus decide definitely to go along with the plan. Brutus fails to realize that Cassius sent the letter he received at the beginning of the second act. A less naive and more perceptive man would see through that because the letter contains certain diction that hints Cassius sent it. Had Brutus read I more closely, he would have realized that Cassius set up the whole thing to get him involved with the conspiracy. These things start the decline of Brutus’s character.
Brutus, although an honorable and noble man, lacks practicality, causing his character to slowly weaken. He finally agrees to the conspiracy against Caesar, but somehow convinces himself Rome will rejoice, not think he committed a murder. Here the reader first really realizes that Brutus does not really a think clearly. If he would just think the plan through he would realize that the citizens of Rome wouldn’t consider Caesar’s death a favor, but more likely they would consider it a murder. Then the time comes for Caesar to go to the Capitol, and here the conspirators slay him. Brutus, even as he prepares to stab Caesar, apparently still does not realize what he is doing. The act really dishonors a man that holds such honor and respect in the eyes of Rome. Even after Caesar’s murder, Brutus thinks that “ambition’s debt is paid,” (668, li 90). This further shows that Brutus might not hold as much honor and nobility as before he got involved with Cassius. If Marcus Brutus would use his common sense before he decides to do something as drastic as murder, he would still hold as much honor as people think he does.
Finally, Brutus possesses a certain naiveté that directly causes his downfall. He tells Mark Antony that he “shall speak in the same pulpit whereto I am going, after my speech is ended” at Caesar’s funeral (673, li 267-269). This exact line eventually ruins Brutus’s life. A less ignorant man would figure out that he should not allow this to happen. Then he lets Antony speak to the crowd without supervision, allowing Antony to say whatever he wants to get the crowd to turn against the conspirators. His naiveté causes this mistake as well. Allowing Antony to speak freely just shows the readers how ignorant this honorable man can act at times. Finally, he acts on his words “I love the name of honor more than I fear death” by having Strato hold his sword as he commits suicide (631, li 94-95). He would rather die than have the people hold him prisoner for killing Caesar, so he chose to kill himself. This ends the downfall that started with the simple thought of joining forces with Cassius and led to allowing Antony to excite the citizens. Had Brutus simply used better judgment, both he and Caesar would have remained living.
Throughout the course of Julius Caesar, the readers can see how Marcus Brutus changes. At first he truly acts like a noble and honorable man, but through his