What does Portia demand in the dialogue, or conversation, with Brutus in Scene 1?Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

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lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Portia in her gentle way demands to know what is troubling Brutus. He says he is sick, but Portia does not buy that. She states that he would take better care of himself were he sick. He would not be in the night air if he were sick.

Portia reminds Brutus that he once admired her beauty. she gets on her knees, and Brutus asks her not to do so. He is in a moment of weakness seeing her on her knees. Nevertheless, he knows he cannot share with her that with which he is really absorbed.

Portia feels she has a right to know what is troubling Brutus, "within the bond of marriage."

Portia promises to keep Brutus' secret, but Brutus will not share. She suggests that she is no more to Brutus than a harlot because he will not share his secret. To quote:


You are my true and honourable wife,
As dear to me as are the ruddy drops
That visit my sad heart


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.
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?
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Julius Caesar

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