Women Roles in Julius Caesar

In the play Julius caesar by William Shakespeare roles of women were briefly included. The two women were Portia, the wife of Brutus, and Calpurnia, the wife of Julius Caesar. These roles are important factors in the foreshadowing and development in the play. To look at the role of women in the play you must look at what these two women did for the characters in the play as well as develop the play.

For the first example of foreshadowing by the women is by Calpurnia the wife of Julius Caesar, she warned Caesar to stay home the day of his murder due to the events that had taken place the previous night. Calpurnia here, my wife, stays me at home. She dreamt tonight she saw my statue, Which, like a fountain with an hundred spouts, Did run pure blood: and many lusty Romans Came smiling and did bathe their hands in it (Act II scene II). She makes it known that she has seen the future and what would become of Caesar if he leaves. Caesar was later stabbed twenty-three times by his fellow senate members including Brutus, Cassius, and Marcus.

Portia the wife of Brutus, she is a strong independent woman with a deep devotion for her husband. The relationship between Portia and Brutus is one of intimacy and mutual respect, she speaks openly with him on subjects that women wouldn’t be seen talking about. Brutus speaks with compassion when a conversation regards Portia. A foreshadowing moment in the play through Portia is when she reaches out to Brutus to tell her how he is feeling and to find the root of the strange events occurring, but he doesn’t confide in her (Speak No More of Her). Portia willing to show Brutus how much she wants to know what he’s been hiding from her.

She stabs herself in the thigh showing Brutus that she is strong and can handle anything a man can,. I have a man’s mind, but a woman’s might. Brutus convinced by her action agrees to tell her what has been happening. Portia distraught and missing her husband along with Antony and Octavius army being too strong for Brutus. She kills herself by swallowing burning coals swallowing fire this was the most gruesome death in the play by far. (Marshall, Cynthia)

Even Though the women’s roles are so important to the characters and to the foreshadowing the women don’t have any impact on the events that conspire. These women are trying to keep their men safe but neither men won’t listen to them, brushing off what they said as a bad dream or telling them that it has nothing to do with them and they shouldn’t be bothered. These women are seen as being powerless figures.

Shakespeare put these women into the play and described how other characters interacted with them like he did was to show how women in the Roman times were treated almost the same in Elizabethan times. When a woman is married her and her property is passed down to her husband, she was like a slave. Men mostly marry to benefit. This is called the Elizabethan Homily on the state of matrimony. An example of this would be when Caesar calls for Calpurnia and demands her to “Stand you directly in Antonio’s way when he runs doth course” (Act I Scene II). He demands her to do this because Caesar in infurtal and can not have any children, the infertility was blamed on Calpurnia. Caesar being a leader he wanted to keep the status of being man. This can directly represent the infertility of Queen Elizabeth.

Women were shown to be intelligent and strong and willing to sacrifice their lives for what they thought was right, although they were practically slaves to their husband. The roles the women played was important to foreshadowing and development in the play. I believe that the inclusion of these women in the way that Shakespeare described them shows the similarities of marriage in Elizabethan times and Roman times. The women helped move the play along with foreshadowing but only in an miniscule amount compared to other characters.

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