In Julius Caesar, why is Brutus so affected by Portia's death?

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Brutus is profoundly affected by Portia's death. Theirs had been a loving marriage. When he was struggling with idea of joining the conspiracy to assassinate Caesar, Brutus had tried to keep his difficulties to himself, to protect Portia from his distress. Portia, however, knew her husband and observed his troubled behavior. Kneeling before him, she begged him to share his distress with her. She even stabbed herself in the thigh to convince him that she was strong enough to be taken into his confidence: 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.

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Brutus is profoundly affected by Portia's death. Theirs had been a loving marriage. When he was struggling with idea of joining the conspiracy to assassinate Caesar, Brutus had tried to keep his difficulties to himself, to protect Portia from his distress. Portia, however, knew her husband and observed his troubled...

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behavior. Kneeling before him, she begged him to share his distress with her. She even stabbed herself in the thigh to convince him that she was strong enough to be taken into his confidence:

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?

This proof of Portia's love and devotion was not lost on Brutus who then asks the gods to make him "worthy of this noble wife!"

Brutus was also deeply affected by the nature of Portia's death. Slipping into deep despair because of her separation from her husband and the danger in which he lived after fleeing from Rome, Portia took her own life by "swallowing fire." Brutus understood that only great pain would have driven her to such an act. As Cassius observed, losing Portia was indeed "insupportable and touching" for Brutus.

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In Julius Caesar, what do we learn about Brutus from his reaction to Portia's death?

We learn in Act IV of Portia's death when Brutus gives this news to Cassius after they have argued violently. Before telling Cassius of Portia's suicide, Brutus says that he is "sick of many griefs" and that "[n]o man ears sorrow better [than he]." After sharing the details of Portia's despair and suicide, Brutus tells Cassius to discuss Portia no further. A short time later, when Cassius is still trying to accept that Portia is dead, Brutus says to his friend, "No more, I pray you." Brutus then turns to the business at hand.

We can infer from Brutus' reactions in this scene that he cannot bear to discuss his wife or to dwell upon her death--and the nature of her death--because doing so brings him such great pain. "I pray you" suggests that he most earnestly needs Cassius to move on to another subject. Cassius understands the grief Brutus experiences, calling Portia's death an "insupportable and touching loss."

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