Thesis Title

Brutus' (Sic) Ignoble Mind: a Cognitive Approach to the Tragedy of Julius Caesar

Author

David A. Gann

Date of Graduation

Spring 1996

Degree

Master of Arts in English

Department

English

Committee Chair

Mary Baumlin

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature

Abstract

Applying cognitive psychological principles of rational-emotive therapy, this thesis analyzes Brutus of William Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. An overview of the criticism of the play informs the reader of the major dissenting views about Brutus. Following this is a rational-emotive explanation, describing Brutus as incapable, because of his rigid philosophy, of clear self-perception. Brutus' hamartia is best described in cognitive terms as intellectual error. Both the sin-punishment model and the model of hamartia as moral flaw lack the depth to account for the complexity of the play. Julius Caesar is a complex tragedy, all three models woven together is such a way as to make the tragic causation ambiguous; the combination of Brutus' practical mistakes, his errors in judgement and his moral transgressions creates an ambiguity that makes it difficult to make a simple conclusion about the quality of tragedy in Julius Caesar.

Copyright

© David A Gann

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