What contributions to the play are made by Calpurnia and Portia?

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The simple answer is that Calpurnia adds to all the forebodings about her husband Caesar’s safety, while Portia helps to bring out the emotional torment her husband Brutus is experiencing because of his involvement in the plot to assassinate Caesar. However, it would appear that Shakespeare had another reason for including these two female characters in his play. Without them, the play would have the impression of a bunch of men dressed up to represent ancient Romans and strictly involved in one-sided male talk and male business. With the female characters, Shakespeare tries to achieve what is called “orchestration,” i.e., some variation in the appearances, voices, costumes, motivations, dialogue of the cast.

It will be observed that in most...

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