Women In Julius Caesar

Topics: Julius Caesar, Roman Republic, Plutarch Pages: 8 (2112 words) Published: January 5, 2015
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Volume 12 : 7 July 2012
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Women in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar
Iftikhar Hussain Lone



Nature herself was proud of his designs,
And joyed to wear the dressing of his lines,
Language in India www.languageinindia.com
12 : 7 July 2012
Iftikhar Hussain Lone
Women in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar


Which were richly spun and woven so fit
And, since, she will vouchsafe no other wit. (On Shakespeare –Ben Jonson) Vividness and Spontaneity in Characterization
William Shakespeare’s capital gift was to depict characters, both historical and imaginary, with a surpassing vividness and spontaneity. His characters differ in sex, age, state of life, virtues and vices but are all alike in being ‘alive’. Whether good ‘or’ bad, moving among the realities of history ‘or’ among the most romantic happenings, his characters possess an unfailing humanity, and striking realism: Rosalind, Portia, Juliet, Cleopatra, Caesar, Brutus, Orlando, Shylock, Touchstone, not to mention the great tragic heroes – indeed the catalogue is endless.

Shakespeare – A Feminist?

William Shakespeare

Shakespeare, it is claimed by many modern critics, was a feminist. Shapiro, for example goes on to claim that Shakespeare was “the noblest feminist of them all”. Though historically untrue, it can be put forth that ‘patriarchy’ is more at the centre of his tragedies. Msluskie believes: “Shakespeare wrote for male entertainment”.

William Shakespeare,

because of his extraordinary genius for portraying human behavior, deftly depicted the Language in India www.languageinindia.com
12 : 7 July 2012
Iftikhar Hussain Lone
Women in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar


condition of women within a patriarchal system, creating women characters, who, in their richness, transcend the limitations of his time.
Portia and Calphurnia in Julius Caesar
Though Elizabethan era was no exception to the tradition of looking at women as objects and chattels, Shakespeare however, portrays the characters of part Portia and Calphurnia in Julius Caesar in positive light, ignoring the common stereo types often associated with female characters. Both female characters are portrayed as the logical voice of reason, whose intellect and intuition are able to foreshadow Caesar’s death. Their loyalty and devotion to their husbands and their ability to influence the most powerful men in Rome, demonstrate that Shakespeare intended to portray Portia and Calphurnia as women of great strength who supported their men. They themselves are strong women, but the men are unwilling to accept the reality and in the end become pathetic figures, and die tragic deaths. Vital Female Characters

In Julius Caesar, the female characters of Calphurnia and Portia are vital to the play for their personal relationships with their husbands, Julius Caesar and Brutus. Despite their concern about their respective husbands' political careers, their opinions a re ignored or pushed aside, because they represent feminine values and are grounded in the domestic sphere. Although they are used to emphasize the gender differences, these women are also needed in order to provide further insight into the characters of Caesar and Brutus. Their interactions serve to emphasize the "feminine" traits of the men and the ability of women to display "masculine" traits.

Brutus' interaction with Portia
Brutus' interaction with Portia, in Act 2, Scene 1, illustrates that women are isolated from politics. Although Portia proves that she is...

Cited: Primacy Sources
Shakespeare, William, Julius Caesar (Penguin London, first published, 1967).
Bowden, William R. “The Mind of Brutus”. Shakespeare Quarterly. 17 (1966): 57
Holderness, Loughrey and Murphy, Shakespeare: The Roman Plays (Longman, London and
New York, 1996)
Hunter, G.K.
Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare Studies, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1994
Kahn, Coppelia, Roman Shakespeare (Rutledge, London and New York, 1997.
Paimer, D.J. “Tragic Error in Julius Caesar” Shakespeare Quarterly. 21-22 (1970): 299.
New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Inc. 1997.
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