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Describe Portia in Julius Caesar.I need a little information about Portia to pay a...

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lisahairston | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 19, 2010 at 10:16 PM via web

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Describe Portia in Julius Caesar.

I need a little information about Portia to pay a tribute to her.

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shaketeach | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted September 19, 2010 at 10:47 PM (Answer #1)

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Portia is the wife of Brutus.  In Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar, we see a loyal and concerned wife.  For example, in Act II, scene 1, she tells her husband that she has noticed a change in him.  It would appear that she loves her husband deeply.  She proves her devotion by giving herself a voluntary wound on her thigh.  (The Romans had some strange customs.) They both come from noble families, in other words they are Roman blue bloods.

We see her again in Act II, scene 4.  Again we see the loving and devoted wife fearing for her husband.

The next thing we hear is that she has committed suicide by swallowing fire.

It might help you if you researched Roman customs.

 

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shakespeareguru | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted September 20, 2010 at 9:04 PM (Answer #2)

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Portia gets very little stage time in Julius Caesar, but her main scene packs quite a wallop.  She is Brutus' wife and makes her first appearance in Act II, scene i, just after the exit of the conspirators.  She knows that something is troubling Brutus, and she demands to know what disturbs him.

The Roman society prided itself on its Stoicism -- the ability to bear what life offers with strength, reason and courage.  Portia is the poster child for this point of view, since she demands to be treated as she believes a wife should and be granted the confidence of Brutus' thoughts.  To emphasize her Stoicism, Shakespeare provides an odd but telling detail about Portia in this scene.  She wounds herself to prove her loyalty and constancy to Brutus.  Lines 294 -300:

I grant I am a woman; but withal

A woman that Lord Brutus took to wife.

I grant I am a woman; but withal

A woman well-reputed, Cato's daughter.

Think you I am no stronger than my sex,

Being so father'd and so husbanded?

Tell me your counsels, I will not disclose 'em.

I have made strong proof of my constancy,

Giving myself a voluntary wound

Here in the thigh.  Can I bear that with patience,

And not my husband's secrets?

So, from the above quote, you have some strong descriptive information to assist you in paying tribute to Portia.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 19, 2010 at 10:40 PM (Answer #3)

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I am assuming you are expected to write a tribute to her for her funeral, although that is not clearly stated in the query.

Portia is only one of two women introduced in this play.  First, re-read the parts of the play which include her.  Study her actions, her words, the stage directions included by Shakespeare about how she should deliver her lines or where she should direct her attentions or move when speaking.  What do you discover?  What kind of woman is she?  What is her lineage?  To whom is she married, and how does she feel about that?  When she sends her servant to the Senate, what do you notice about her words? Her actions?  Her emotional state?  What do we learn about her when Brutus is on the battlefield later in the play?

From this, and from asking additional questions about this woman, you should be able to come up with a tribute worthy of her character, her strength, her honor, and her fortitude.

Good luck!

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fabian846 | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted January 4, 2011 at 10:33 PM (Answer #4)

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Portia is a precious woman. She really loved her husband but Brutus ignored it. But in the end I felt sorry for her, because of the love and concerned for her husband she extremely went to suicide.

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