Shakespeare – Module 7: Shakespearean Tragedy- Julius Caesar – 3 of 3

Hello Year 7 and Year 8! Last session, we looked at a key soliloquy from ‘Julius Caesar’. This session, we will revise what a tragic hero is and think about why Brutus is considered to be a tragic hero.


WHAT: revising what a tragic hero is and evaluating why Brutus is a tragic hero

By the end of this session you will be able to:

✓ be able to summarise why Brutus is considered to be a tragic hero

Today you will need:

✎ A pen
☰ A word document, notepad or paper to record your ideas

STARTER- YOU DO: What can you remember about Brutus? Mind map everything you can remember about this character.

Brutus- Character Summary

Brutus is a politician in the Roman republic. At the start of the play, he is worried that the people want Caesar to be king and to have complete power. When Cassius tells him he is worried about the same thing, Brutus joins him in a plot to assassinate Caesar. Brutus is convinced that killing Caesar is the right thing to do but after he is forced to flee and his loyal wife, Portia, commits suicide because of his actions, Brutus become more troubled. When Brutus senses defeat in battle, he takes his own life.

Facts we learn about Brutus at the start of the play:

  • He is descended from Lucius Brutus, a founder of the Roman republic who fought to overthrow the monarchy.
  • He is worried that Caesar will be crowned king and Rome will cease to be a republic.
  • These worries have made him appear troubled to those who know him well.
  • He has no personal grudge against Caesar, his only concern is the good of Rome.

YOU DO: One of the key themes in ‘Julius Caesar’ is conflict. The character of Brutus is used to explore this theme. Watch the video below to explore how conflict is presented in Shakespearean Tragedies. It is about 5 minutes long.

Now answer these questions to show your understanding of the video:

1. What is Brutus’ main worry about Caesar becoming king?

Brutus is worried that the power would go to his head and Caesar would become dangerous.

2. What does Brutus love more than Caesar?

Brutus loves his country more than he loves Caesar.

3. What drives Brutus to kill Caesar?

Loyalty to his country.

So, unresolved conflict leads to tragedy. We know that it is often a protagonist who faces the inner conflict. Let’s think back to the idea of a tragic hero so we can consider why Brutus could be considered to be a tragic hero.

YOU DO- fill in the missing words below to revise what a tragic hero is.

1. A tragic hero is usually of n_ _ _ _ birth.


2. A tragic hero has a fatal character f _ _ _- this is known as hamartia. For example, this could be pride or j _ _ _ _ _ _ _.

flaw, jealousy

3. A tragic hero makes m _ _ _ _ _ _ _ which lead to their downfall or even death.


Which of the above characteristics apply to Brutus? Think about these statements as you move on to the next activity.

Does Brutus show the characteristics of a tragic hero?

Look at the quotations below? They are all things Brutus says or are said about him. Can you explain what you think the quotation means? Try to translate it into modern English. Click on the box to reveal an explanation.

‘I love / The name of honour more than I fear death.’ (Brutus 1:2

Brutus would rather die than be seen as dishonourable. He values honour above everything else.

‘I slew my best lover for the good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself when it shall please my country to need my death.’ (Brutus 3:2)

Brutus sacrificed Caesar for the good of Rome and would die for his country/the republic

‘Well, Brutus, thou art noble. Yet I see / Thy honorable mettle may be wrought From that it is disposed.’ (Cassius 1:2)

Brutus is honourable but can be manipulated.

WRITING CHALLENGE: Is Brutus a tragic hero?

Answer this question in full sentences, making reference to the play to support your ideas. You should spend about 20 minutes on your writing. Send your writing to your English teacher.

Well done! You should now have evaluated why Brutus could be considered to be a tragic hero. That brings us to the end of our work on ‘Julius Caesar’. See you next time…