Analysis Of Shakespeare 's ' Julius Caesar '

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Julius Caesar Assignment
Tess Macintyre
IGCSE English Literature

Discuss the contribution made by the two women, Portia and Calpurnia, to the play as a whole.

In William Shakespeare’s drama Julius Caesar, Shakespeare’s numerous characters include just two women; Calpurnia and Portia; the wives of Julius Caesar and Marcus Brutus respectively. Though the parts are small, they each make important contributions to the play as a whole. Both women in Julius Caesar exist only in the context of their relationships with men. It is evident then, that both make a major contribution to the development of the characters Caesar and Brutus, their husbands, with whom both are respectively depicted.

Calpurnia, Caesar’s wife is used by Shakespeare to display the private side of Caesar, a different aspect of his character than the rest of his appearances, and one of vulnerability. This is portrayed through Calpurnia’s plea to her husband on the morning of the Ides of March, “Do not go forth today. Call it my fear/ That keeps you in the house, and not your own.” (II, ii, ll. 50-51) And Caesar’s subsequent reply, “Mark Antony shall say I am not well, / And for thy humour I will stay at home.” (II, ii, ll. 55-56)Though Caesar veils it, and attempts to shift the cause of his absence at the senate to his wife’s fear, it is obvious that he too is fearful, as he could easily have dismissed his wife’s concerns as foolish, as he eventually does later in the scene, but only once convinced by
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