Feminist Criticism of Portia and Calpurnia.

Topics: Julius Caesar, Roman Republic, Gender Pages: 1 (281 words) Published: March 28, 2006
Feminism aims to acieve rights and equality for women in social, political and economic life. Feminists point to the fact that throughout history, power has been in the hands of men, both in society and in the family. In the subordinate roles of Calpurnia and Portia, Julius Caesar clearly reflects that patriarchal control, and feminists see the issue of unjust male power and control as crucial to understanding Rome. To a woman's ear, the ear of a woman who has been married more than once, as the historical Portia herself had been, the words of Brutus strike a familiar note. The wife takes her husband by surprise; "What are you doing here?" he asks, rather puy out as the brocken movement of his first line shows: "Portia! What mean you? Wherefore rise you now?" (Act 2, Scene 2, line 234). AS a form of greeting this leaves something to be desired. We see the wound that Portia gives herself as evidence that Potia has, 'in her good Roman education', learned the lessons designed for men: "When it comes to bodies, there has been an attpemp to educate both Brutus and Portia out of tenderness and respect". On the other hand, the vividness of Calpurnia's description of her dream suggests that 'she has never hand her mind trained to think like a man'. We see that Caesar's contempt for Calpurnia's dream is because the dream is produced not out of a book but out of her own woman's body, like her voice. It is because Caesar only pays attention to the voices of other men that he will defy Calpurnia's common sense and venture outside.
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