Compare and contrast the marriage between Calphurnia and Caesar with the marriage between Brutus and Portia in "Julius Caesar".

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Both Calphurnia and Portia are dutiful wives to their respective husbands, but with much different motivations. Both are alongside their husbands near the beginning of the play during the feast of Lupercall. Here Caesar instructs Calphurnia to stand directly in Antonio’s way during the Lupercall chase, so he may touch her to “shake off this sterile curse,” implying that they have sexual contact with Caesar’s blessing. Nothing is exchanged between Portia and Brutus. Calphurnia dreams Caesar is murdered, and and on her knees implores him not to go to the senate. Similarly, Portia kneels to Brutus as he finishes planning the assassination with the conspirators when she insists on his telling her what bothers him, “...That you vnfold to me, your selfe; your halfe...” and bear his burdens with him as a good wife should. She further comments that if he does not share his burdens with her, She is then “Brutus Harlot, not his Wife,” tacitly acknowledging the relationship between Caesar and Calphurnia as suggested in Act 1. Caesar dismisses Calphurnia’s “foolish fears;” in contrast, Brutus is about to take Portia into his confidence and divulge the assassination plot when they are interrupted. Curiously, Calphurnia is never mentioned in the play after her dream; Brutus learns of Portia’s suicide just before his defeat in battle, suggesting she stood by him up to and including death.

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Julius Caesar

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