My Account
Preview
Preview

Merchant of Venice Essay: The Character of Portia

:: 2 Works Cited
Length: 1974 words (5.6 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Aqua      
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Character of Portia in Merchant of Venice  

 
In his Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare wants the reader to admire Portia, arguably the most powerful character in the play. However, it is easy to mistake the word ‘admiration’ to mean simply a liking of someone’s positive virtues. Rather, we should like Portia because of those things that make her a multi-faceted character. Though she can appear to be an “unlessoned girl,” she is also conniving, manipulative, and powerful. Three examples that effectively show her prowess and as a result win our admiration of her occur during the casket, the trial, and the ring scenes.

One reason why Shakespeare wants us to appreciate Portia is because of the respect that radiates from her during the casket scene. Respect is clearly shown when she follows the prescription of her father’s will, which stipulates that she is to be wed to whoever can successfully figure out the riddle of the caskets and pick the one that has her likeness in it:

I may neither choose who I would nor refuse
who I dislike, so is the will of a living daughter curbed
by the will of a dead father. (I.2.22-24)

Portia realizes that she has little to say in the matter, and nowhere does she hint at not following her father’s wishes and marrying whomever she wants. Portia’s faith to her father is steadfast as she goes through the ritual of entertaining potential suitor over and over again. However, that is not to say that Portia is fond of her predicament, because clearly she is not. When Morocco fails to pick the correct casket and leaves in a distraught manner, she is relieved and exclaims: “A gentle riddance” (II.7.78).

Portia must also be admired for her unwavering love and support of her Bassanio. Whi...


... middle of paper ...


...tely frees Antonio (and perhaps even Bassanio) and at the same time obliterates Shylock.

Therefore, Portia is a character whom Shakespeare means to be highly admired. She possesses qualities that make her the adoration of some and the envy of others. She is highly skilled at whatever task she undertakes; yet she retains an aura of compassion and a strong sense of commitment. She puts herself on the line for the sake of her Bassanio. On the other hand, when she is crossed - or better yet when something she is endeared to is threatened - she is prepared to unleash a havoc to make things better again.

 

Works Cited


Shakespeare, William. The Merchant of Venice. 1967. Ed. W. Moelwyn Merchant. The New Penguin Shakespeare. London: Penguin Books, 1996.

- - -. Othello. 1968. Ed. Kenneth Muir. The New Penguin Shakespeare. London: Penguin Books, 1996.

 


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper








This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Free Merchant of Venice Essays: The Character of Portia - Portia is a woman who is subservient to the attitudes of her times. She is educated beyond measure and yet is subject to the will of the males in her life. First of all she is forced to obey the dictates of her father's will and must marry the man who guesses the right casket. Secondly she is under the direction of her husband Bassanio, who takes over her fortune and is in charge of her. It does seem that the men in this play portray women as no better than cattle or land. Portia disguises herself as a young male judge to save her husband's best friend....   [tags: Merchant Venice Essays] 363 words
(1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Merchant of Venice: Portia and the Art of Justice Essays - Portia and the Art of Justice In Shakespeare controversial play, The Merchant of Venice, the character, Antonio calls this world "a stage where every man must play a part". He really cannot imagine that it will be a woman that will play the leading role on his "sad" stage. If not for a woman, Antonio would have found himself as a hunk of flesh in Shylock's trophy room. Portia, whose "little body is a-weary of this great world," uses her intelligence, quick thinking and fortitude to save the love of her own love....   [tags: Merchant Venice Essays] 614 words
(1.8 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Merchant of Venice - Portia was No Feminist Essay - Merchant of Venice: Portia was No Feminist The question has been proposed whether Portia was her own woman, and if after she married Bassanio would she still be the protector of her fortune. I researched for evidence to the theory that Portia was not her own, her fortune was not her own, and she was bound financially to her husband after marriage. There is nothing out of the ordinary about this particular arrangement, and I don't feel that the relationship should continue to be hailed as a progressive, feminist relationship....   [tags: Merchant Venice Essays] 367 words
(1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Manipulative Portia in Merchant of Venice Essay examples - I would love to write a critical essay about the role of Portia in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, hailing her as one of Shakespeare's greatest contributions to the society of the sane; however, I find this impossible after studying the text. At first, I hung on her every word and was amazed at her wit, but later I found her to be just another Shakespearean psycho. Basically, I understood Portia to be nothing less than an obedient daughter obeying the whims of her dead, over-protective father....   [tags: Merchant of Venice Essays] 615 words
(1.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Portia of William Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice Essay - Portia of William Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice The merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare in which is a drama, it shows us mercy, love and forgiveness. In this essay I’m going to write about Portia in comparison to the other male characters in the play. Shakespeare has created some very interesting characters in Bassanio, Antonio and Shylock. Bassanio and Antonio are good friends and they like most characters in the play, dislike Shylock the Jew. They have a good reason for disliking Shylock as he paints a very negative image of the Elizabethans Jews....   [tags: Merchant of Venice Essays] 605 words
(1.7 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Essay on Shakespeare’s Representation of Women in The Merchant Of Venice - Shakespeare’s Representation of Women in The Merchant Of Venice In ‘The Merchant Of Venice’ Shakespeare portrays the character of Portia as a subservient woman but as the play progresses he develops the character and Portia becomes the most dominant character in the play, overcoming the stereotype that restrains women in the society at that time. Throughout the play Shakespeare develops Portia’s character from what seems like a subservient woman, who is forced into a marriage, to an independent woman who is considered an equal by her husband....   [tags: Merchant of Venice Essays] 1029 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Portia and Bassanio in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Essay - Portia and Bassanio in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice “The Merchant of Venice” is a Shakespearean play based on the themes of friendship, racial prejudice, deceptive appearances and love, of which the most romantic is the love between Portia and Bassanio. In contrast, the other two couples - Lorenzo and Jessica, Gratiano and Nerissa – exhibit playful or down-to-earth love. Portia is as faultless as one could imagine. She is blessed with beauty, heavenly qualities surpassing all other women on Earth and moreover “richly left”....   [tags: Merchant of Venice Essays] 787 words
(2.2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Portrayal of Portia in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Essay - The Portrayal of Portia in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice In the merchant of Venice, Shakespeare portrays Portia to be a person of mixed characters, her attitude and mood seems to change with every scene. However, she is always seen by us as being pleasant and polite. Shakespeare portrays Portia’s character through other characters as well as directly, Nerissa is used almost as a comparison to which we can judge Portia, and by observing other character’s references to her, we can also build up a more detailed mage of her personality....   [tags: Merchant of Venice Essays] 631 words
(1.8 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Essay on Portia's Three Suitors in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice - Portia's Three Suitors in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice What do the words of the three suitors in the casket scenes reveal of their characters, their attitudes and their values. Refer closely to the differences in their speeches when making their choice of casket. Do you think that Bassanio deserved to win Portia's hand in marriage. The three suitors are distinct in their own way. You find that as you are reading the play that the choice of casket is also judging the person who is choosing....   [tags: Free Merchant of Venice Essays] 1321 words
(3.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on The Character of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice - The Character of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice Victim or villain. These two words are the total opposites of each other. A victim is someone that 'we' in general should, or may, feel sorry for and attempt to sympathise or empathise with. But a villain is the one person that people love to hate. The best example of this I feel is pantomime. The victims or heroes are clear-cut and the audience willingly cheers them. But as soon as the villain walks on stage he is hissed and booed, unfortunately it is not as simple as this in 'The Merchant of Venice' and how the audience react to the characters is all important in making the distinction between victim or vill...   [tags: Merchant of Venice Essays] 3195 words
(9.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]