Act Ii, Julius Caesar: Comparison Of Relationship Between Brutus And Portia And Caesar And Calpurnia

2522 words - 11 pages

Act II: Development of Relationships between Husbands and WivesRelationships between characters play a great part in Julius Caesar, the Shakespearean tragedy about the scheming of Caesar's death, which then are shown to affect all aspects of Roman life. Some relationships show the concealed discord between characters, some show the conniving spirit of those who desire power, while others show how some hearts are devoted entirely to the greater good of the republic. The dialogue between Brutus and Portia, along with that of Calphurnia and Caesar, plays a significant role in the development of the plot. Portia is a symbol of Brutus's private life, a representative of correct intuition and morality, just as Calphurnia is for Caesar, but they differ in several ways, including each wife's fears and concerns, each husband's response to the pleas of each wife, the final outcome of the exchange, and both couples' dramatic function in development of the play.The fears and concerns of Portia and Brutus's reactions are shown once after the conspirators have left Brutus's house, where Portia becomes apprehensive to the point where she cannot hide her anxiety. Portia enters after the end of Brutus's soliloquy, approaching Brutus calmly. He, however, is a bit startled at the fact that his wife is awake at this time of night. Brutus shows his affection for Portia when he says, "Portia! What mean you? Wherefore rise you now? / It is not for your health thus to commit your weak condition to the raw cold morning"(2.1. 224-226). Telling Brutus how she senses something is bothering him, perhaps a secret he is keeping from her, and knowing that within, he is at war with himself, she explains that Brutus got out of bed for an unknown reason, and the other night had arisen during suppertime, with strange gesticulations and expressions. Reminding him, Portia says, "When I asked you what the matter was, /you stared upon me with ungentle looks. I urged you further; then you scratched your head and too impatiently stamped with your foot" (2.1. 261-264). These odd mannerisms of Brutus lead Portia to be troubled once again, and when she inquires further about his affairs, he simply dismisses her with the wave of his hand. Portia also sees that Brutus' secrets have affected his physical appearance to a point almost beyond recognition. Brutus is restless, sleepless, and wisely she approaches him cautiously. All Portia wants to know, as a good wife, is the cause of his grief. However, even after Portia's long account of her grief and worry, Brutus is uneasy with this topic and coldly dismisses her, saying, "I am not well in health, and that is all" (2.1. 227). He avoids answering any questions about public business, but Portia is a more intelligent woman than that, and she finds fault in his pathetic defense, explaining that if he were sick, he would know how to obtain good health. Brutus feels intimidated once again, briefly stating, "Why so I do. Good Portia, go to bed"...


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