What was the role of women in Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There are really only two women in the entire play, Calphurnia and Portia, and neither makes a case for a strong female lead in Julius Caesar.

As it turns out, Calphurnia is in touch with the negative tone surrounding Caesar and which he seems to be oblivious to. She begs her husband not to leave their home on the fateful day, even telling him to lie and blame the fears of leaving on her so that he can preserve his own image and yet not place himself in harm's way. When his wife drops to her knees, pleading for her husband's attention and consideration, Caesar finally realizes her sincerity and agrees not to go. However, it only takes one swipe at his manhood for Caesar to sway from his decision. Decius effectively convinces Caesar to leave with him by noting,

Besides, it were a mock
Apt to be rendered for someone to say,
“Break up the senate till another time
When Caesar’s wife shall meet with better dreams.”
If Caesar hide himself, shall they not whisper,
“Lo, Caesar is afraid?”

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 1074 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Reviewed by eNotes Editorial on December 24, 2019