In The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, women did not have strong roles. The roles of women are not common in the play, and their appearances are very limited. In fact, there are only two female roles in the play; the subservient Calphurnia, wife of Caesar, and the daring wife of Brutus, Portia. These two contrasting characters bring an element of foreshadowing to most of the notable events that occur during the play. One example of Calphurnia being used to foreshadow events is when she tells Caesar to “not go forth today; call it my fear” (2.2.50), indicting that she believes something dreadful will happen to Caesar. Calphurnia has also seen many omens that she believes are indicators of Julius Caesar’s death.
Besides the things that we have heard and seen,
Recounts most horrid sights seen by the watch.
A lioness hath whelped in the streets,
And graves have yawn’d, and yielded up their dead;
Fierce fiery warriors fight upon the clouds
In ranks and squadrons and right form of war,
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...ce her husband to tell her what is troubling him. Brutus just keeps telling her that he will inform her to what is bothering him eventually, but not right now.
And by and by thy bosom shall partake
The secrets of my heart.
All my engagements I will construe to thee,
All the charactery of my sad brows.
Leave me with haste.
The women’s lack of power is also shown when Calphurnia can’t get Caesar to stay home, and away from the capitol, after having her dream. After hearing Decius’s interpretation of Calphurnia’s dream, Caesar cries out, “How foolish do your fears seem now, Calpurnia! / I am ashamed I did yield to them. / Give me my robe, for I will go.” Caesar would rather believe the lies of a man than the truth of a woman. More often than not, the women in this play could not control any situation or their husbands very well.
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