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 ...view middle of the document...

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" in hope of diverting Portia from finding the source of his grief (2.1. 280). Yet again, Portia is persistent, challenging Brutus by stating that Brutus is not ill, but has "a sick offense" within his mind, which she ought to know of.To gain his favor, she pleads with him by kneeling, demonstrating her willingness to be submissive. Archly and playfully, Portia tells of days long gone, and she cries, "And upon my knees /I charm you, by my once commended beauty, by all your vows of love, and that great vow /which did incorporate and make us one" (2.1. 290-294). Reasonably and logically, she tries to convey to Brutus of the meaning of marriage, where two beings become one and share a life together. Both being part of one body, she believes that she has the right to know of those mysterious cloaked men.At this time, Brutus feels a bit guilty of his past actions and knows that as husband and wife, they are not only two beings in one body, but equals, and lifts Portia up. Brutus shows his compassionate side, where he respects his wife and does not want her to feel inferior. Portia tells Brutus that if he were gentle, she would not need to beseech him while kneeling. Portia then restates that as a married couple, she is not just something, "to keep with you at meals, comfort your bed /and talk to you sometimes?" (2.1. 306-307). She does not feel like his wife and equal anymore, saying that she is not important when kept in the back of her husband's mind only for his pleasure. Guilty student. Portia, the rendition of the Roman modern woman, cannot live in that kind of state, believing that she feels used. She is very disturbed by the way she is treated, declaring "Portia is Brutus' harlot, not his wife" (2.1. 310). Slowly, Brutus understands his wife and feels shame when recalling what she has gone through. He tries to comfort her by saying, "You are my true and honorable wife, /as dear to me as are the ruddy drops /that visit my...

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