| Quote #4
Dear my lord,
When Brutus refuses to confide in his wife, Portia takes issue with his secrecy: as a married couple, she says, they should have no secrets. In other words, Portia is sick and tired of being excluded from her husband's world just because she's a woman. She also suggests that, when Brutus keeps things from her, he's treating her like a "harlot, not his wife."
| Quote #5
I grant I am a woman; but withal
Yikes! Portia seems to buy into the all-too-common idea that women are weaker than men. Here she says she knows she's just a girl but reasons that, since she's the daughter and wife of two really awesome men, that makes her better than the average woman. To prove her point, she stabs herself in the thigh without flinching and demands that her husband treat her with more respect.
History Snack: When Portia says she knows she's just "a woman" but she also thinks she's "stronger" and more constant (i.e., masculine) than most, she sounds a lot like Queen Elizabeth I (Shakespeare's monarch) who famously said "I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king" ("Speech to the Troops at Tilbury," 1588). Queen Elizabeth I, like Portia, buys into the idea that women are generally weaker than men but presents herself as the exception to the rule.
| Quote #6
For Caesar, being a man means being completely fearless in the face of death.