Julius Caesar Gender Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Riverside edition.
For once, upon a raw and gusty day,
The troubled Tiber chafing with her shores,
Caesar said to me 'Darest thou, Cassius, now
Leap in with me into this angry flood,
And swim to yonder point?' Upon the word,
Accoutred as I was, I plunged in
And bade him follow; so indeed he did.
The torrent roar'd, and we did buffet it
With lusty sinews, throwing it aside
And stemming it with hearts of controversy;
But ere we could arrive the point proposed,
Caesar cried 'Help me, Cassius, or I sink!'
I, as Aeneas, our great ancestor,
Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder
The old Anchises bear, so from the waves of Tiber
Did I the tired Caesar. And this man
Is now become a god, and Cassius is
A wretched creature and must bend his body,
If Caesar carelessly but nod on him.
There's nothing like a little (un)friendly male competition, is there? Here, Cassius tells Brutus the story of how Caesar, as a young boy, challenged him to swim across the Tiber River, where Caesar's show of masculine bravado nearly cost him his life.
Alas, it cried 'Give me some drink, Titinius,'
As a sick girl. Ye gods, it doth amaze me
A man of such a feeble temper should
So get the start of the majestic world
And bear the palm alone. (1.2.9)
In order to undermine Caesar's power and authority as a Roman leader, Cassius relates a story about how Caesar once fell ill and begged for water "like a sick girl." Apparently, for these Romans, becoming sick or "feeble" and showing signs of weakness compromise one's masculinity and ability to rule.
Let it be who it is: for Romans now
Have thews and limbs like to their ancestors;
But, woe the while! our fathers' minds are dead,
And we are govern'd with our mothers' spirits;
Our yoke and sufferance show us womanish. (1.3.6)
Hmm. We seem to be detecting a pattern here. In the last passage, Cassius equated Caesar's illness with "girliness." Here, he claims that "the yoke" of Caesar's tyranny has turned all the Roman men into "womanish" mama's boys.