Julius Caesar

What do you infer about the role of women based on Calpurnia and Portia?

What do you infer about the role of women based on Calpurnia and Portia?

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The portrayal of the two female characters of the novel, Portia and Calphurnia, captures the prevailing stereotypical perceptions of women. Caesar's wife, Calphurnia, demonstrates women's predisposition towards fearfulness and superstition when she pleads with Caesar to remain at home after dreaming that a statue made in the likeness was Cesar pouring forth blood. Calphurnia establishes the sentiment that fear is a feminine trait with her entreaty to Caesar asking him to use her anxiety as an alibi, saying, "Do not go forth today. Call it my fear." (2.2.50). Caesar agrees to this arrangement temporarily with a veiled acknowledgment of the reality- a rhetorical question relating to the fact that he is "afeard to tell the graybeards the truth" (2.2.67). Caesar then immediately displays his weak resolution when Decius easily persuades him to reverse his earlier decision, and he proceeds to greet the senators, demonstrating another hazardous trait associated with women, inconstancy. Portia similarly behaves in accession with the low expectation of women and demonstrates "how weak a thing/ The heart of woman is!" (2.4.40). She proves herself untrustworthy and reveals to Lucius Brutus' involvement in the conspiracy because is overcome with fear. Caesar suffers a great insult through his association with the weak will of woman because in Roman society masculinity is the gauge of Roman worthiness.