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Free Study Guide-Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare-Free Booknotes
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ACT II, SCENE 4

Summary

This scene opens outside Brutus' house. Portia appears with the servant, Lucius. She is agitated and wants to know what is happening at the Capitol. She implores Lucius to run to the Senate and bring word about Brutus since he was unwell when he left the house earlier in the morning. Her concern is increased by the imagined noises that she hears coming from the Capitol. It seems Portia has been told what her husband and the others are doing.

When the soothsayer enters, Portia asks him whether he knows about any plot against Caesar. He replies that a great deal of harm may happen today. He tells Portia that he will go to Caesar and warn him not to trust anybody but himself. The soothsayer's words heighten Portia's anxiety. In her nervousness, she hopes that Brutus is successful in his enterprise.


Notes

Once again, the rapidly climbing suspense of the play is increased. Portia's agitated state and her anxiety about Brutus implies that she knows about the conspiracy to kill Caesar. Her frenzied behavior further heightens the tension of the play and foreshadows the pending doom that will cause frenzy in all of Rome. When Portia questions the soothsayer, she is momentarily relieved to learn the soothsayer is ignorant of any specific plot against Caesar. The action rises once again, however, when he tells her he intends to advise Caesar to trust no one. It appears that Caesar will receive yet another warning about his safety.

It is important to note that Portia is selfishly concerned only about Brutus. She anxiously prays for the speedy and successful execution of his enterprise, seemingly oblivious to the immorality of his actions.

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