While one could try to analyze Calpurnia and Portia as full characters in their own right, they function primarily not as sympathetic personalities or sources of insight or poetry but rather as symbols for the private, domestic realm. Both women plead with their husbands to be more aware of their private needs and feelings (Portia in Act II, scene i; Calpurnia in Act III, scene ii). Caesar and Brutus rebuff the pleas of their respective wives, however; they not only prioritize public matters but also actively disregard their private emotions and intuitions. As such, Calpurnia and Portia are powerless figures, willing though unable to help and comfort Caesar and Brutus.
In Caesar’s Rome, anything from a political rally to an innocent walk down the wrong street can turn deadly with a single flare of a temper. In contemporary America, so many people die annually from gunfire that the death toll between 1968 and 2011 alone eclipses all wars ever fought by this country. Whether this addiction to violence is fueled by political ambition or senseless hate, Julius Caesar demands that we engage in vital conversation about the cost of the relentless cycle of violence that cripples our country: civically, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
In Julius Caesar, the audience is able to see both the private and public sides of Caesar and Brutus. Caesar is a powerful confident man who leads great armies and effectively rules the Roman empire, yet he is not without weakness. He is highly superstitious, suffers from epilepsy, and ultimately proves to be human when murdered by his closest friends. Similarly, Brutus is strong and refuses to show weakness when in public, whether it be speaking to the plebeians or leading an army into battle. However, we see through his intimate conversations with his wife Portia and with Cassius, that Brutus is often unsure and greatly pained. Specifically, after fleeing Rome, Brutus learns that his wife has committed suicide, and is heartbroken when discussing it with Cassius. However, as soon as soldiers enter his tent, he pretends to not know of her death, and when told of it, does not react with great emotion.