I believe that Cassius has changed since the first half of the play because he has become a lot more blunt with his emotions and is not as hesitant to say what is on his mind as soon as it is so. In the first half of the play her refers to himself as sneaky and a shrewd contriver when he says,
“You know that I do fawn on men and hug them hard/ And after do scandal them” (I,ii,75).
Cassius does kind of prove this behavior when he makes this false letters to give to Brutus to convince him to be in the conspiracy and help him kill Caesar. But then as the play progresses Cassius seems to be more upfront and less likely to go behind peoples back, this is especially apparent when he says to Brutus,
“I do not think it good” (IV, iii, 197).
He said this in regards to marching to Philippi. They do end up going like Brutus suggested, but Cassius was not afraid to be honest and straight up right out of the gate. He didn’t try to make up a little white lie or try to manipulate Brutus, he just said straight up what he thought and why he thought it. Although a small change i definitely think that Cassius has shown some character growth throughout this play.
Brutus’s reaction to the news of Portia’s death does surprise me because of how much he showed respect and love for her in Act 2 Scene 1.
“You are my true and honorable wife.” (II, i, 287)
Not only does what he say display his affection for Portia but so do his actions. When she got down on her knees to prove a point to Brutus, that he should feel obligated to tell her what has been bothering him, he replied,
“Kneel not, gentle Portia” (II, i, 279)
Portia was Brutus’s other half. Together they were one whole, and they become one when that said there vows. She was the one he came home to every night and the one he could tell all of his secrets to, or most of them.
I would have thought that Brutus would have been absolutely traumatized, speechless to lose someone that was so close to him, someone that was basically apart of him. But instead acting devastated like I would have anticipated, he seemed calm and at ease with the situation. Brutus said,
“Why, farewell Portia. We must die, Messala: With meditating that she must die once/ I have the patience to endure it now.” (IV, iii, 189)
What he is basically saying is that everybody dies and it was inevitable that she would die at some point so it’s not really that big of a deal. But everybody knows that everyone dies at some point, that doesn’t really make us at ease with the fact. I know it sure doesn’t settle my nerves especially when it comes to my loved ones. And like I said earlier, Portia was what love meant to Brutus.
I definitely anticipated a much more devastated absolutely heart broken Brutus compared to the very calm and accepting Brutus that was displayed at this point in the play.