Good Example Of Essay On The Importance Of Women In Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Women, Caesar, Shakespeare, Family, To Kill A Mocking Bird, Society, Husband, Julius Caesar
There are two women in the play, Julius Caesar. Shakespeare uses these two characters to shed light on the characteristics of Caesar and Brutus and build the suspense in the play. One can easily compare Calpurnia and Portia and conclude that these two women love their husbands unconditionally. Still, the males in their lives treat each woman differently. When Shakespeare wrote the play, women played the role of homemakers in their homes. In fact women opposed the value of a masculine world, yet Portia and Calpurnia love and support their husbands in all they do. Still, Shakespeare includes the women in the play, “Julius Caesar” as they enhance the technique of foreshadowing the events that happen in the play.
In Act II Scene II, Calpurnia foreshadows her husband’s death. She calls out in her sleep: “They murder Caesar,” (JC, Act II, Scene II). The dream foreshadows Caesar’s impending doom, but Caesar displays one of his famous angry moods when he disregards her warnings. Calpurnia is cowed by the way that Caesar reacts to her warning. One could say that Calpurnia loves her husband, but she fears him and his anger moods. Calpurnia cannot have children and suffers the embarrassment when Caesar asks Marc Antony to touch her as he makes his run in the games so that she would be cured. Gerlach et.al defines the role as one that “represented the following virtues which, importantly, have their meaning in relationship to the male; obedience, silence, sexual chastity, piety, humility, constancy, and patience,” (Gerlach, et. al, par 2). Nonetheless, Portia crosses the feminine boundaries as she shares a good relationship with her husband.
Aside from redefining the role of the Renaissance women, Portia is important to the play as she foreshadows Brutus’ demise on the battlefield. She commits suicide in brave Roman style because she fears that the lack of communication from her husband meant that he died. There is no question about the love that Portia has for Brutus as she become troubled when he faces the burden of holding the plot to kill Caesar to himself. In turn, Brutus shows great respect for his wife as he apologizes for this lack of communication and shares his concerns. Shakespeare often critiques the society and goes against the traditional patterns of the society. He shows the contrasting roles of women in the society when he shows that Calpurnia cowers at Caesar’s moods, but Portia shows the strength of women when she confronts her husband about the problems in their relationship.
While the play shows the dominance of men in the society, the absence of women is outstanding as “Shakespeare created the absence of a strong female role in order to prove the tragic flaw of an ambitious, male dominated world in terms of Julius Caesar,” (“Calphurnia And Portia: Rome’s Unwanted Women,” par. 1). These two women show the different ways that men treat women. One the one hand, the reader sees that males treat women as their equal in the character of Brutus, but Caesar wants to remain strong in the eyes of the Romans and he listens to his male counterpart instead of his wife. Clearly, Shakespeare wants his readers to understand that even though the males in the society treat women unfairly, women had their worth as in the character of Portia who stands by her husband through all his difficulties.
In concluding, the women in Shakespeare’s time played inferior roles in the society, but the presence of Portia in the play shows that women understand their male counterparts. Both women foreshadow the demise of arrogant men in the plays. However Caesar does not show the necessary respect for his wife and her opinion and he meets his doom. On the other hand, Brutus shows respect and compassion towards his wife and as such he eased his conscience somewhat when he shares his fears with her about the conspiracy against Caesar.
Calphurnia And Portia: Rome’s Unwanted Women (2013) Viewed at http://alexmatsuo.com
Accessed February 20, 2014
Gerlach, J., et.al (1996) “Revisiting Shakespeare and Gender” Viewed at
http://scholar.lib.vt.edu Accessed February 21, 2015
Shakespeare, W. The Life and Death of Julius Caesar Viewed at
http://shakespeare.mit.edu/julius_caesar/ Accessed February 21, 2015