Strong, independent and intelligent. Portia is the character I believe to be the most honourable, not to mention admirable, throughout the play of Julius Caesar. Her stage appearance is quite brief, but to have me writing a post about her clearly shows she left us all thinking.
Her strong and powerful voice brought her to an equal level all men of that time were so firmly positioned on. She spoke to Brutus, not up to him. She genuinely loved him and wanted nothing more but for him to share his troubles, persuading him to do so before being rudely interrupted. The words that fell from Portia’s lips are expected to be heard here in the 21st century, not in 48BC, where men were thought to be the better sex, no question to it. It makes me proud to be a female when I read Portia’s lines, fighting for the truth from her husband, making him look at her more as an equal, rather than a woman.
Looking past Portia’s push for feminism, before it was even really a concept, she is still quite the mighty character. Her independence is something I feel no character had throughout the play. Brutus needed the other conspirators to execute to Caesar’s assassination correctly, just as Mark Antony needed the help of Octavious to gain the power Caesar once had. Portia needed not a single character in the play. She loved Brutus with all her heart, and without him she was in such a state of grief she believed death was more bearable. But that wasn’t her being dependent on him, it was her simply being in love with him. She needed not a man, nor power. Portia was a character already accomplished, one I truly wish the play was more about.
Portia also believed strongly in the love she had for Brutus, and knew right from wrong, just as her husband did. But the difference between them is the way they handle these situations, for Brutus knew killing Caesar was wrong, but did it anyway. For if he did believe his act was truly righteous, he would of told Portia with no hesitation of his plans, nor would the decision be troubling him so much so Brutus lost his will to eat and sleep. How can after the murderous act he committed still be considered honourable? An honourable person is one that does good, one that can be looked up to, and I can honestly not say I look up to Brutus, someone who had blood on his hands, and someone who seemed to be peer pressured into the act all together.
Brutus in my opinion is simply the tragic hero, as the most honourable character without a doubt goes to Portia. I can honestly say I look up to her, for she was a character cast to play a woman, a sex so undermined in the era she was born into, and yet she spoke stronger in the space of one act than I feel any other character could have throughout the entire play. How can you argue with that?