Roles and Analysis of All Character in Julius Caesar
Character Analysis and Role of Brutus in Julius Caesar
Brutus emerges as the most complex character in Julius Caesar and is also the play’s tragic hero. In his soliloquies, the audience gains insight into the complexities of his motives. He is a powerful public figure, but he appears also as a husband, a master to his servants, a dignified military leader, and a loving friend. The conflicting value systems that battle with each other in the play as a whole are enacted on a microcosmic level in Brutus’s mind. Even after Brutus has committed the assassination with the other members of the conspiracy, questions remain as to whether, in light of his friendship with Caesar, the murder was a noble, decidedly selfless act or proof of a truly evil callousness, a gross indifference to the ties of friendship and a failure to be moved by the power of a truly great man.
Brutus’s rigid idealism is both his greatest virtue and his most deadly flaw. In the world of the play, where self-serving ambition seems to dominate all other motivations, Brutus lives up to Antony’s elegiac description of him as “the noblest of Romans.” However, his commitment to principle repeatedly leads him to make miscalculations: wanting to curtail violence, he ignores Cassius’s suggestion that the conspirators kill Antony as well as Caesar. In another moment of naïve idealism, he again ignores Cassius’s advice and allows Antony to speak a funeral oration over Caesar’s body. As a result, Brutus forfeits the authority of having the last word on the murder and thus allows Antony to incite the plebeians to riot against him and the other conspirators. Brutus later endangers his good relationship with Cassius by self-righteously condemning what he sees as dishonorable fund-raising tactics on Cassius’s part. In all of these episodes, Brutus acts out of a desire to limit the self-serving aspects of his actions; ironically, however, in each incident he dooms the very cause that he seeks to promote, thus serving no one at all.
Character Analysis and Role of Julius Caesar in Julius Caesar
The conspirators charge Caesar with ambition, and his behavior substantiates this judgment: he does vie for absolute power over Rome, reveling in the homage he receives from others and in his conception of himself as a figure who will live on forever in men’s minds. However, his faith in his own permanence—in the sense of both his loyalty to principles and his fixture as a public institution—eventually proves his undoing. At first, he stubbornly refuses to heed the nightmares of his wife, Calpurnia, and the supernatural omens pervading the atmosphere. Though he is eventually persuaded not to go to the Senate, Caesar ultimately lets his ambition get the better of him, as the prospect of being crowned king proves too glorious to resist.
Caesar’s conflation of his public image with his private self helps bring about his death, since he mistakenly believes that the immortal status granted to his public self somehow protects his mortal body. Still, in many ways, Caesar’s faith that he is eternal proves valid by the end of the play: by Act V, scene iii, Brutus is attributing his and Cassius’s misfortunes to Caesar’s power reaching from beyond the grave. Caesar’s aura seems to affect the general outcome of events in a mystic manner, while also inspiring Octavius and Antony and strengthening their determination. As Octavius ultimately assumes the title Caesar, Caesar’s permanence is indeed established in some respect.
Character Analysis and Role of Antony in Julius Caesar
Antony proves strong in all of the ways that Brutus proves weak. His impulsive, improvisatory nature serves him perfectly, first to persuade the conspirators that he is on their side, thus gaining their leniency, and then to persuade the plebeians of the conspirators’ injustice, thus gaining the masses’ political support. Not too scrupulous to stoop to deceit and duplicity, as Brutus claims to be, Antony proves himself a consummate politician, using gestures and skilled rhetoric to his advantage. He responds to subtle cues among both his nemeses and his allies to know exactly how he must conduct himself at each particular moment in order to gain the most advantage. In both his eulogy for Caesar and the play as a whole, Antony is adept at tailoring his words and actions to his audiences’ desires. Unlike Brutus, who prides himself on acting solely with respect to virtue and blinding himself to his personal concerns, Antony never separates his private affairs from his public actions.
Flavius and Marullus Tribunes
Character Analysis and Role of Flavius and Marullus Tribunes in Julius Caesar
who wish to protect the plebeians from Caesar’s tyranny; they break up a crowd of commoners waiting to witness Caesar’s triumph and are “put to silence” during the feast of Lupercal for removing ornaments from Caesar’s statues.
Character Analysis and Role of Casca in Julius Caesar
Witness to Caesar’s attempts to manipulate the people of Rome into offering him the crown, he reports the failure to Brutus and Cassius. He joins the conspiracy the night before the assassination and is the first conspirator to stab Caesar.
Calphurnia The wife of Julius Caesar
Character Analysis and Role of Calphurnia in Julius Caesar
she urges him to stay at home on the day of the assassination because of the unnatural events of the previous night as well her prophetic dream in which Caesar’s body is a fountain of blood.
Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony)
Character Analysis and Role of Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony) in Julius Caesar
He appears first as a confidant and a devoted follower of Caesar, and he offers Caesar a crown during the feast of Lupercal. He has a reputation for sensuous living, but he is also militarily accomplished, politically shrewd, and skilled at oration. He is able to dupe Brutus into allowing him to speak at Caesar’s funeral and by his funeral oration to excite the crowd to rebellion. He is one of the triumvirs, and he and Octavius defeat Brutus and Cassius at Philippi.
Character Analysis and Role of A soothsayer in Julius Caesar
He warns Caesar during the celebration of the feast of Lupercal to “beware the ides of March.” He again warns Caesar as he enters the Senate House.
Marcus Brutus A praetor
Character Analysis and Role of Marcus Brutus in Julius Caesar
that is, a judicial magistrate of Rome. He is widely admired for his noble nature. He joins the conspiracy because he fears that Caesar will become a tyrant, but his idealism causes him to make several poor judgements and impedes his ability to understand those who are less scrupulous than he. Brutus defeats Octavius’ forces in the first battle at Philippi, but loses the second battle and commits suicide rather than be taken prisoner.
Character Analysis and Role of Cassius in Julius Caesar
The brother-in-law of Brutus and an acute judge of human nature, Cassius organizes the conspiracy against Caesar and recruits Brutus by passionate argument and by deviously placed, forged letters. He argues that Antony should be assassinated along with Caesar, that Antony should not speak at Caesar’s funeral, and that he (Cassius) and Brutus should not fight at Philippi, but he eventually defers to Brutus in each instance. He is defeated by Antony at the first battle of Philippi, and he commits suicide when he mistakenly believes that Brutus has been defeated.
Character Analysis and Role of Cicero in Julius Caesar
A senator and a famous orator of Rome. He is calm and philosophical when he meets the excited Casca during the night of portentous tumult proceeding the day of the assassination. The triumvirs have him put to death.
Character Analysis and Role of Cinna in Julius Caesar
The conspirator who urges Cassius to bring “noble” Brutus into the conspiracy; he assists by placing some of Cassius’ forged letters where Brutus will discover them.
Character Analysis and Role of Lucius Brutus in Julius Caesar
young servant; Brutus treats him with understanding, gentleness, and tolerance.
Character Analysis and Role of Decius Brutus in Julius Caesar
The conspirator who persuades Caesar to attend the Senate on the day of the ides of March by fabricating a flattering interpretation of Calphurnia’s portentous dream and by telling Caesar that the Senate intends to crown him king.
Character Analysis and Role of Metellus Cimber in Julius Caesar
The conspirator who attracts Caesar’s attention by requesting that his brother’s banishment be repealed, allowing the assassins to surround Caesar and thereby giving Casca the opportunity to stab him from behind.
Character Analysis and Role of Trebonius in Julius Caesar
The first of the conspirators to second Brutus’ argument that Antony be spared, Trebonius lures Antony out of the Senate House so that the other conspirators can kill Caesar without having to fear Antony’s intervention. Consequently, he is the only conspirator who does not actually stab Caesar.
Character Analysis and Role of Portia in Julius Caesar
The wife of Brutus and the daughter of Marcus Cato. She argues that those familial relationships make her strong enough to conceal Brutus’ secrets, but on the morning of the assassination, she is extremely agitated by the fear that she will reveal what Brutus has told her. She commits suicide when she realizes that her husband’s fortunes are doomed.
Character Analysis and Role of Caius Ligarius in Julius Caesar
No friend of Caesar’s, he is inspired by Brutus’ nobility to cast off his illness and join the conspirators in the early morning of the ides of March.
Character Analysis and Role of Publius in Julius Caesar
An elderly senator who arrives with the conspirators to escort Caesar to the Capitol. He is stunned as he witnesses the assassination. Brutus sends him out to tell the citizens that no one else will be harmed.
Character Analysis and Role of Artemidorus in Julius Caesar
He gives Caesar a letter as the emperor enters the Capitol; in the letter, he lists the conspirators by name and indicates that they intend to kill him, but Caesar does not read it.
Character Analysis and Role of Popilius Lena in Julius Caesar
The senator who wishes Cassius well in his “enterprise” as Caesar enters the Senate House. This comment intensifies the dramatic tension in the moments immediately prior to the assassination by causing Cassius and Brutus to briefly fear that they have been betrayed.
Cinna the poet
Character Analysis and Role of Cinna the poet in Julius Caesar
On his way to attend Caesar’s funeral, he is caught up in the riot caused by Antony’s funeral oration. The mob at first confuses him with Cinna the conspirator, but even after they discover their error, they kill him anyway “for his bad verses.”
Character Analysis and Role of Octavius Caesar in Julius Caesar
The adopted son and heir of Julius Caesar; he is one of the triumvirs who rule following the death of Caesar. He and Antony lead the army that defeats Cassius and Brutus at Philippi.
M. Aemilius Lepidus
Character Analysis and Role of M. Aemilius Lepidus in Julius Caesar
He joins Antony and Octavius to form the Second Triumvirate to rule the Roman Empire following the assassination of Caesar. He is weak, and Antony uses him essentially to run errands.
Character Analysis and Role of Lucilius in Julius Caesar
The officer who impersonates Brutus at the second battle of Philippi and is captured by Antony’s soldiers. Antony admires his loyalty to Brutus and thus he protects him, hoping that Lucilius will choose to serve him as loyally as he did Brutus.
Character Analysis and Role of Pindarus in Julius Caesar
At Philippi, he erroneously tells his master, Cassius, that the scout Titinius has been captured by the enemy when the scout has actually been greeted by the victorious forces of Brutus. Thinking that all is lost, Cassius decides to die; he has Pindarus kill him with the same sword that he used to help slay Caesar.
Character Analysis and Role of Titinius in Julius Caesar
An officer in the army commanded by Cassius and Brutus, he guards the tent at Sardis during the argument between the two generals, and is a scout at Philippi for Cassius. After Cassius commits suicide when he mistakenly believes Titinius to have been taken prisoner by the enemy, Titinius kills himself in emulation of Cassius.
Character Analysis and Role of Messala in Julius Caesar
A soldier serving under Brutus and Cassius, Messala gives information concerning the advance of the triumvirs, and he reports Portia’s death to Brutus at Sardis. At Philippi, he hears Cassius confess that he believes in omens. Later, he discovers Cassius’ body.
Varro and Claudius
Character Analysis and Role of Varro and Claudius in Julius Caesar
Servants of Brutus, they spend the night in his tent at Sardis. Neither of them observes the ghost of Caesar that appears to Brutus.
Character Analysis and Role of Young Cato in Julius Caesar
The son of Marcus Cato, the brother of Portia, the brother-in-law of Brutus, and a soldier in the army commanded by Brutus and Cassius. He dies during the second battle at Philippi while trying to inspire the army by loudly proclaiming that he is the son of Marcus Cato and that he is still fighting.
Clitus and Dardanius
Character Analysis and Role of Clitus and Dardanius in Julius Caesar
Servants of Brutus, they refuse their master’s request at Philippi to kill him.
Character Analysis and Role of Volumnius in Julius Caesar
A friend of Brutus and a soldier under his command at Philippi. He refuses to hold a sword for Brutus to impale himself on.
Character Analysis and Role of Strato in Julius Caesar
The loyal servant who holds Brutus’ sword so that he may commit suicide. Later, he becomes a servant to Octavius