Summary and Analysis Act II: Scene 4



Portia and Lucius enter the street in front of Brutus' house, where Portia is extremely excited. She suggests that Brutus has told her of his plans (in fact, he has not had an opportunity), and she repeatedly gives Lucius incomplete instructions concerning an errand to the Capitol. She struggles to maintain self-control and reacts violently to imagined noises that she thinks emanate from the Capitol.

A soothsayer enters and says that he is on his way to see Caesar enter the Senate House. Portia inquires if he knows of any plans to harm Caesar, and he answers only that he fears what may happen to Caesar. He then leaves to seek a place from which he can speak to Caesar. Portia sends Lucius to give her greetings to Brutus and to tell him that she is in good spirits, and then to report back immediately to her.


In this scene, Portia wishes to act but cannot for she has "a man's mind, but a woman's might." Portia's untenable position — her fear that her husband's plan will be discovered (although she does not know exactly what the plan is) and that she cannot act to help him — add to tension at the end of Act II. Caesar is on his way to the Capitol surrounded by murderers. Artemidorous may offer him a way out if he can only hear it and the soothsayer of this scene looks as though he may offer Caesar another chance. What will happen, however, is, so far, only "a bustling rumor, like a fray, / And the wind brings it from the Capitol."


counsel a secret.

will crowd a feeble man almost to death there is some ambiguity whether the soothsayer refers to himself or to Caesar.

more void less crowded.

speed thee give you success.

merry full of fun and laughter.

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