Act II, Julius Caesar: Comparison of Relationship between Brutus and Portia and Caesar and Calpurnia

Essay by siumonguet87Junior High, 8th gradeA, March 2004

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Act II: Development of Relationships between Husbands and Wives

Relationships 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,