Portia’s Death
Rebecca Reilly


    Shortly after the demise of Caesar, another tragedy struck the cobblestone streets of Rome. Portia, beloved wife of Brutus, died unexpectedly at their home under strange circumstances. It is widely believed that it was death by suicide. Sources say that her death was caused by swallowing hot coals, which caused her to suffocate.

    Brutus and Portia had a wonderful companionship, as Brutus considered Portia a confidante most of the time. After talking to Portia, Brutus shares that he wishes he could be worthy of an honorable wife such as her, “O gods/ Render me worthy of this noble wife!” (Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare, Act 2, Scene 1, lines 326-327.)  Portia’s death has left Brutus distraught as he admits to Cassius upon talking about her death, “O Cassius, I am sick of many griefs,” (4.3.165.)

    Portia was the daughter of Cato and the granddaughter of Marcus Cato. Her father Cato was a Roman senator who took sides against Caesar. Her husband Brutus was best known for his role in the assassination plot of Julius Caesar. Cassius, a good friend of Brutus, was so overcome with sadness upon hearing the news of Portia’s death that he exclaimed, “O insupportable and touching loss!” (Act 4, scene 3, line 172.) Portia will be greatly missed not only by her husband, but by her dear friends and family.