Julius Caesar Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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How does Portia and Brutus' relationship differ from that of Calpurnia and Caesar in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar?

In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Portia and Brutus' relationship differs from that of Calpurnia and Caesar because Portia and Brutus base their marriage on mutual respect and honesty. Brutus heeds the advice of his wife, while Caesar does not. 

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Shakespeare's classic play Julius Caesar, Brutus and Portia's relationship significantly differs from Caesar and Calphurnia's marriage, which are depicted in the first two scenes of act two. In act two, scene one, the conspiring senators arrive at Brutus's home, and he agrees to join their cause against Julius Caesar. Shortly after the senators leave, Brutus's wife, Portia, enters the scene and comments on his strange behavior. Portia then petitions Brutus to confide in her and elaborate on what has been weighing on his mind. When Brutus attempts to avoid her questions, Portia displays her resolute, fearless personality by demanding that Brutus honor their marriage and tell her everything he has been thinking. Portia demonstrates her confidence and outspoken nature by telling Brutus,

"If this were true, then should I know this secret. 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"...

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The relationship of Brutus with Portia compared to that of Caesar's with Calphurnia is different in many directions, for Brutus and Portia have a soul-attached bond, when the conspirators went to Brutus' house to plan the purging murder, Portia was broken, and told Brutus that she can be able to handle any secret, for their vow indicates they are two halfs joined to complete one, and Brutus was indeed heartbroken to see that his wife, whom he dearly loves, kneeling and sad to hear that her husband is hiding something from her, so he did tell her his secret.

On the other hand we have Caesar and Calpurnia, when she had the nightmare and thought of it as a bad omen, she went to him in a very worried manner to tell him to listen to her, but he was too proud of himself, stating in Act ii scene ii "Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once." secondly, Calpurnia calls Caesar "My Lord" in obedience to him, and we also see that Caesar gets ashamed of himself that he listened to Calpurnia telling him not to go to the Senate because her dream may convey a bad omen from the gods, because he listens to what Decius tells him manipulatively that her dream has been misinterpreted and the real interpretance is that the Romans happily soaking their hands in Caesar's blood means that the Roman's will nourish themselves in his power and that if he doesn't go to the senate the people (conspirators) will change their minds about giving him the crown, so Caesar believes Decius' words and gets ashamed of believing his wife's alarming worries.