Essay about Portia’s Struggle to Become Manlier

Essay about Portia’s Struggle to Become Manlier

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Since the Elizabethan era, society has been familiar with William Shakespeare’s play The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. Throughout the play, Brutus struggles to confront his internal conflict, which later leads him to join the conspiracy to assassin Caesar. After the assassination of Caesar, Brutus does not realize the fact that the Romans despise him for his actions taken. When he finally realizes his tragic flaw of gullibility, he tells Strato to kill him, so he would not have to witness him getting defeated in the war against Marc Antony in front of the Romans. Shakespeare wrote the play so that the audience visualizes that Caesar along with Brutus are the tragic heroes of the play, but he does not recognize Portia as a tragic hero; therefore, the audience fails to realize that Portia has the characteristics of a tragic hero as well. In The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, Shakespeare uses Portia to present to the audience the tragic flaw of the struggle to become manlier. In The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, Shakespeare uses Portia to demonstrate that manliness is the highest virtue in society.
Someone manly is a person who uses their nobility by flattering their power to one another to achieve their goals. Blits believes that the characters in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar use this nobility and try to gain something from it, he states, “The men we see in the play have the strongest desire for worldly glory and, regarding honor as the highest good, relentlessly strive to win it” (Blits 31). In her speech Portia mentions, “I grant I am a woman; but withal/ A woman well reputed, Cato’s daughter” (2.1.294-295). Portia presumes that by using obsequious methods of her nobility, Brutus will tell her about the conspiracy. She mentions her father b...

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... suffer the exact pain as men do when they are in combat and Blits tells us “manliness is displayed primarily in battle, so the combat between warriors does not stop at the city’s wall. Portia does not show any emotion to Brutus when she cuts herself because she knows that a manly person cannot shows any emotion when in pain. Once the audience visualizes that Portia does not get what she deserves after cutting herself, the audience truly identifies that she struggles to become manlier in the play but never reaches it.

Works Cited

Blitz, Jan H. “Manliness and Friendship in Julius Caesar” Bloom’s Modern Critical Interpretations: Julius Caesar. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2010.
Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. Prentice Hall Literature: Grade ten. Ed. Kate Kinsella, Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2007. 824-923.

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