Julius Caesar Gender Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Riverside edition.
Calphurnia here, my wife, stays me at home.
She dreamt tonight she saw my statue,
Which, like a fountain with an hundred spouts,
Did run pure blood; and many lusty Romans
Came smiling and did bathe their hands in it
And these does she apply for warnings and portents,
And evils imminent, and on her knee
Hath begged that I will stay at home today. (2.2.80-87)
When Calphurnia dreams of Caesar's body spurting blood like a fountain, she correctly interprets it to mean that something bad is going to happen to Caesar and warns her husband to stay home that day. At first, it seems like Caesar is going to heed his wife's warning (even though he doesn't want people to think he's staying at home because he's afraid). But Calphurnia's attempts to protect her husband are completely undermined when Decius shows up. Keep reading...
This dream is all amiss interpreted.
It was a vision fair and fortunate.
Your statue spouting blood in many pipes,
In which so many smiling Romans bathed,
Signifies that from you great Rome shall suck
Reviving blood, and that great men shall press
For tinctures, stains, relics, and cognizance.
This by Calphurnia's dream is signified.
Besides, it were a mock
Apt to be rendered, for some one to say
'Break up the senate till another time,
When Caesar's wife shall meet with better dreams.'
If Caesar hide himself, shall they not whisper
'Lo, Caesar is afraid'? (2.2.88-95; 101-106)
Decius not only says that Calphurnia isn't capable of correctly interpreting her dream, he also tells Caesar that everyone will think he's a sissy if he doesn't go to the Capitol just because his wife had a bad dream.
How foolish do your fears seem now, Calphurnia!
I am ashamèd I did yield to them.
Give me my robe, for I will go. (2.2.110-112)
In the last passage we saw Decius warn Caesar that he would be seen as weak if he listened to the advice of a woman. Here Caesar completely disregards Calphurnia's interpretation of her ominous dream in favor of what Decius has to say. Of course, it turns out that Calphurnia was right all along – Caesar gets stabbed in the guts 33 times and his assassins wash their hands in his blood. So even though Caesar and the other characters don't put much stock in what women have to say, it seems pretty clear that Calphurnia isn't so dumb after all. In fact, it also seems like things would have turned out differently if the play's female characters hadn't been ignored.