In Julius Caesar, why is Brutus so affected by Portia's death?  

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Brutus is profoundly affected by Portia's death. Theirs had been a loving marriage. When he was struggling with idea of joining the conspiracy to assassinate Caesar, Brutus had tried to keep his difficulties to himself, to protect Portia from his distress. Portia, however, knew her husband and observed his troubled behavior. Kneeling before him, she begged him to share his distress with her. She even stabbed herself in the thigh to convince him that she was strong enough to be taken into his confidence:

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?

This proof of Portia's love and devotion was not lost on Brutus who then asks the gods to make him "worthy of this noble wife!"

Brutus was also deeply affected by the nature of Portia's death. Slipping into deep despair because of her separation from her husband and the danger in which he lived after fleeing from Rome, Portia took her own life by "swallowing fire." Brutus understood that only great pain would have driven her to such an act. As Cassius observed, losing Portia was indeed "insupportable and touching" for Brutus.

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Julius Caesar

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