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Activity Overview

The Tragedy of Julius Caesar is full of important literary elements for students to explore. One of these elements is the tragic hero, a protagonist who seems to be ill-fated, and destined for doom. In this play, Brutus is the tragic hero as he leads himself and many others to their ruin and deaths.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle first articulated the specific attributes or principles of a tragic hero. For the storyboard above, students can use a template to storyboard the qualities that make Brutus a tragic hero. The finished product outlines each of Aristotle's principles with a detailed explanation of the specific attributes.

Brutus - Tragic Hero

ATTRIBUTEDESCRIPTIONExample from Julius Caesar
HamartiaHero's Flaw that Causes Downfall Brutus’s love of Rome demands he do anything required to preserve it.
HubrisExcessive Pride Brutus was so certain of his justness in killing Caesar, he didn’t anticipate that the people of Rome would follow Antony against him.
PeripeteiaReversal of Fortune Antony turns the crowd against him during Caesar’s eulogy.
AnagnorisisMoment of Critical Discovery He discovers that the people of Rome have turned on the conspirators and they must prepare for battle.
NemesisFate that Cannot be Avoided Once Caesar has been killed, it is inevitable that Brutus will go to war with Antony. Caesar’s ghost foreshadows this defeat.
CatharsisAudience's Feeling of Pity or Fear After the Hero's Fall Antony finds Brutus’ body and requests that he be buried as a hero. The audience is sad that a noble man, with good intentions, suffered such a tragic fate.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 9-10

Difficulty Level 4 (Difficult / Complex)

Type of Assignment Individual

Type of Activity: Tragic Hero

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/3] Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/9-10/6] Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically
  • [ELA-Literacy/L/9-10/6] Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows how Brutus can be considered a tragic hero.

  1. Identify events of the play or characteristics of Brutus that fit into Aristotelian attributes of a tragic hero.
  2. Illustrate examples for Hamartia, Hubris, Peripeteia, Anagnorisis, Nemesis, and Catharsis.
  3. Write a short description below each cell that specifically relates Brutus as a tragic hero.
  4. Save and submit the assignment.


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

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The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

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