Brutus is a noble Roman, descended from the Brutus who liberated Rome from the tyrannical monarchy of the Tarquins.
He is greatly honored for his lineage and personal nobility by the people of Rome, and Caesar is particularly shocked to find him among those stabbing him to death. A logician, he is able to talk himself into anything, including the murder of Caesar, while never noticing how his logic forever betrays him. He desperately attempts to keep the conspiracy honorable, neither requiring an oath nor murdering anyone other than Caesar. Believing that everyone will be swayed by good logical argument, he thinks that the people of Rome will approve of the nobility of their act. He offers the mob of plebeians a prose logic-chopping to explain his acts, and at first carries the day, but Antony’s open emotionalism quickly overturns this. He falls out with Cassius during the war over misunderstandings about money, but is reconciled to him. He still offers strong logical reasons for bad decisions that will in the end cost them the war. He loves and admires his wife, a being at least as stoical and honorable as he. He plays the part of the stoical Roman well: when Messala brings him news of Portia’s death, he does not let on that he is already aware of it, leaving the messenger to wonder at the strength of his response. He disapproves of his father-in-law Cato’s suicide, but resolves to do the same if need be to avoid being captured. He is fond of his servants and treats them well, and enjoys music. At first frightened by Caesar’s ghost, he takes heart again, but its second appearance to him, at the battle of Philippi, convinces him that his life is at an end. Needing assistance to end his own life, he has a very difficult time finding anyone willing to help him. None of his old friends will, only a soldier he barely knows. In death, he is admired as being the only one of the conspirators to have joined in the deed for an idealistic reason.