Julius Caesar

Portia Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
Portia is the wife of Brutus and daughter of the famous Roman statesman Cato. She is proud of her identity as a member of two prominent Roman families and takes her role as Brutus’s wife seriously, demanding to be included in his plans. Despite this pride, Portia also concedes to Roman gender expectations, associating femininity with weakness and identifying with the ideal of the fearless Roman man, stabbing herself in the thigh to prove she is trustworthy, and eventually killing herself in a gruesome manner, by swallowing hot coals. Her logical personality contrasts with Calpurnia’s.

Portia Quotes in Julius Caesar

The Julius Caesar quotes below are all either spoken by Portia or refer to Portia. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Manhood and Honor Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the The Folger Shakespeare Library edition of Julius Caesar published in 1992.
Act 2, scene 1 Quotes

I grant I am a woman; but withal a woman that Lord Brutus took to wife; I grant I am a woman; but withal a women well reputed, Cato's daughter. Think you I am no stronger than my sex, being so father'd, and so husbanded? Tell me your counsels, I will not disclose'em. I have made a strong proof of my constancy, giving myself a voluntary wound here, in the thigh: can I bear that with patience, and not my husband's secrets?

Related Characters: Portia (speaker), Marcus Brutus
Related Symbols: Body, Blood, & Pain
Page Number: 2.1.315-325
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Julius Caesar quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Get the entire Julius Caesar LitChart as a printable PDF.
Julius caesar.pdf.medium

Portia Character Timeline in Julius Caesar

The timeline below shows where the character Portia appears in Julius Caesar. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 2, scene 1
Manhood and Honor Theme Icon
Logic and Language Theme Icon
Public vs. Private Theme Icon
Portia enters, asking Brutus about his strange behavior lately—he’s been so restless and distracted. She pleads... (full context)
Act 2, scene 4
Manhood and Honor Theme Icon
Portia sends Lucius to the Capitol to learn whether the conspirators have been successful. Nervous, she... (full context)
Logic and Language Theme Icon
Public vs. Private Theme Icon
Fate Theme Icon
The soothsayer passes by. He tells Portia that he fears harm to Caesar, though he doesn’t know for sure that it will... (full context)
Act 4, scene 3
Manhood and Honor Theme Icon
Public vs. Private Theme Icon
Fate Theme Icon
Brutus and Cassius dismiss their guards and servant. Brutus explains that his temper stems from grief—Portia is dead. She killed herself by swallowing coals when she feared that Antony and Octavius... (full context)
Manhood and Honor Theme Icon
Logic and Language Theme Icon
Public vs. Private Theme Icon
Politics and Morality Theme Icon
...are reported to have executed a large number of senators, including Cicero. Messala also reports Portia’s death, and Brutus stoically accepts the news, not revealing that he already knew. Brutus and... (full context)