The Instigator
Hisoka
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Emilrose
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points

Does Julius Caesar have a clear protagonist and antagonist? Pro(Yes) Con(No)

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Emilrose
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/17/2014 Category: Education
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,533 times Debate No: 67197
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (4)

 

Hisoka

Con

I believe that the Shakespearean play Julius Caesar has no Antagonist or Protagonist. All of the characters are very flawed and none of them deserve the title of protagonist.
Emilrose

Pro


Accepted. Thanks to Con for starting this debate and I look forward to seeing his arguments. My position is that: The Shakespearean play "Julius Caesar" does indeed have an antagonist and a clear protagonist.

Brief summary

The Tragedy of Julius Caesar is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1599.[1] It is one of several plays written by Shakespeare based on true events from Roman history, which also include Coriolanus and Anthony and Cleopatra.

Although the title is Julius Caesar, Julius Caesar is not the most visible character in its action; he appears in only five scenes. Marcus Brutus speaks more than four times as many lines and the central psychological drama is his struggle between the conflicting demands of honour, patriotism and friendship.

(1.) http://en.wikipedia.org...

Definitions:

Protagonist

n.

1. The main character in a drama or other literary work.
2. In ancient Greek drama, the first actor to engage in dialogue with the chorus, in laterdramas playing the main character and some minor characters as well.
3.
a. A leading or principal figure.
b. The leader of a cause; a champion.
4. Usage Problem A proponent; an advocate.

(2.) http://www.thefreedictionary.com...


Antagonist

n.

1. One who opposes and contends against another; an adversary.
2. The principal character in opposition to the protagonist or hero of a narrative or drama.


(3.) http://www.thefreedictionary.com...


As outlined in the plot summary, though the play is entitled "Julius Caesar" he receives very little dialogue and is assassinated in the Act 3 of the play. Rather the man who does feature as the main character is Marcus Brutus.
Brutus begins the play as a close friend and associate of Caesar--until he is recruited by Cassius, who along with other Roman conspirators (I.E Casca, Cinna) takes exception to Caesars overwhelming popularity and fears his expanding power.

In order to ensure Brutus stays on side, Cassius has Cinna place some forged letters where Brutus will find them, exploiting his already growing suspicions about Caesar and convincing him to become fully aligned with their cause. As can be seen throughout the entirety of the play, not only does Brutus feature the most but it's also evident that he has the largest conscience and strongest sense of loyalty. Something that the character Cinna reveals early on when he states that an asset to their conspiracy will be his (Marcus Brutus') "good name".

When establishing who assumes to the role of "antagonist", it would seem fairly apparent that this is where Cassius stands. He is the one who formulates the plot to kill Julius Caesar and who is portrayed in the most negative light. Later on you see Brutus conflicting with Cassius because of his own dishonesty and failure to meet certain commands. Upon the discovery of their plot, they then both become under military attack from Marc Anthony and Octavius. In the concluding Act when he he and his men have defeated Cassius and Brutus, Marc Antony pays tribute to Brutus by saying: "he was the noblest Roman of them all", again suggesting that Brutus, was very much the "protagonist".

Debate Round No. 1
Hisoka

Con

Though it can be argued that Brutus is the protagonist of Julius Caesar, it could also be argued that Mark Antony and/or Octavius Caesar are the Protagonists. Thought they have less lines than Brutus, it can be argued that since Octavius is trying to find revenge for his fathers death. Even Cassius can be argued to be the protagonist because of the prejudice Caesar places upon him and the fact that he saved Caesar in the Tiber but is never rewarded for his bravery. My argument is that there is no CLEAR protagonist in the play Julius Caesar, which is highly evident. Though Brutus is considered "noble" and he is doing everything for the freedom of Rome, he is a man who killed his own close friend, and cannot necessarily be the protagonist of the play. Most of the play is based around the betrayal of Caesar and the manipulative manner of Mark Antony to the plebeians.

In any case, according to the second definition offered by my opponent, the protagonist is "In ancient Greek drama, the first actor to engage in dialogue with the chorus, in later dramas playing the main character and some minor characters as well." Which would technically make the protagonist Flavius, which is surely not true. Through these definitions I can state that since Brutus is an adversary to Caesar, that he is an antagonist. Since Mark Antony is an adversary to Brutus, he is also an antagonist. Since Julius Caesar was an adversary towards Cassius, he is an antagonist too. This proves that there is no clear protagonist or antagonist in the play Julius Caesar.
Emilrose

Pro

Rebuttals

As the plot largely revolves around Brutus and his actions, it can be more than "argued" that he is the protagonist of Julius Caesar. In fact most experts in the field of Shakespearean agree that Brutus fits the role of "protagonist". He is even referred to explicitly as "Marcus Brutus the protagonist" in many reviews. Con states that it could be argued that Mark Antony and/or Octavius Caesar are protagonists, however, as they only really become prominent towards the conclusion of the play this cannot be the case. Brutus is the one who receives the most lines and the character who dominates the plot. Con also suggests that Cassius can be seen as the protagonist--but again, he receives much less emphasis than Brutus. And as highlighted previously, Cassius is the one who formulates the plot to kill Julius Caesar and subtly manipulates Brutus into joining his cause, which thus makes him the "antagonist". Him having Cissa place forged letters (where Brutus discovers them) is an example of this.

"Though Brutus is considered "noble" and he is doing everything for the freedom of Rome, he is a man who killed his own close friend, and cannot necessarily be the protagonist of the play. Most of the play is based around the betrayal of Caesar and the manipulative manner of Mark Antony to the plebeians."


Number 1 of the definitions of protagonist states: "the main character in a drama or other literacy work", so the protagonist is not only the one to show the highest moral compass but is also generally viewed as the one to feature the most. Though Brutus did betray Julius Caesar in the beginning, it's made evident that Julius Caesar was becoming increasingly arrogant and power-hungry, and this is where Brutus' susceptibility to Cassius' manipulation arises. Brutus is presented with the option of remaining completely loyal or doing (what he thinks) is best for Rome and its people.


I'd point out that the second definition of protagonist offered is primarily referencing "ancient Greek" drama, therefore not applying to Shakespearean drama.

(1.) http://www.shmoop.com...

(2.) http://www.field-of-themes.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Hisoka

Con

Hisoka forfeited this round.
Emilrose

Pro

Forfeit by Pro, so no further arguments to rebut.

The case of a both a clear protagonist and antagonist has been made, with both use of sources and description of play in support.
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
HisokaEmilroseTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
HisokaEmilroseTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by TheNamesFizzy 2 years ago
TheNamesFizzy
HisokaEmilroseTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: FF. No sources by Con. Can't really make a decision as I haven't seen or read the play.
Vote Placed by BLAHthedebator 2 years ago
BLAHthedebator
HisokaEmilroseTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: FF, arguments by con all refuted, and sources only by pro.