Brutus' Ignoble Mind: a Cognitive Approach to the Tragedy of Julius Caesar
Date of Graduation
Master of Arts in English
English Language and Literature
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.
© David A Gann
Gann, David A., "Brutus' Ignoble Mind: a Cognitive Approach to the Tragedy of Julius Caesar" (1996). MSU Graduate Theses. 235.