In the play The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare, there is a concept of otherness throughout the play. Many characters had roles in which they were examples of the outsiders, that occurred during the time the play was written. If not all but in most plays by William Shakespeare, there is always a character who is categorized as the outsider. However, The Merchant of Venice took the concept into a deeper level, instead of depicting differences in social class as otherness, the play included race and religion, instead of social class. These beliefs shaped not only the way the play was written, but how the characters treated certain individuals in the play and how the personality of each character was symbolized. Across the play, the characters who are considered others either surrender to the titles and believes assigned to them or disregard the discrimination while trying to prove themselves honorable.
Without the concept of otherness the play wouldn’t have a background or a plot.
Portia 's Suitors
Portia, the leading female character in the play is in the market for a husband who will soon become her king. And although all of the suitors basically have the same wealth and status, Portia hopes and drastically prefers someone who is closer in culture and skin tone to win her hand. Portia is an important character because she emphasizes how the otherness shapes the play while she awaits for a new husband.
In spite of the fact that the Prince of Arragon, is rich and probably looks the part of a suitor for Portia, the Italian heiress, was still grateful that the Spanish prince did not pick the right casket. Portia speaks about the prince 's language like together they couldn’t ha...
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...g a Jewish person. Jessica wants nothing more to become a Christian and leave her Jewish heritage and life behind. Jessica as a character who specifically hates who she is because of her Jewish background is often overlooked. However, Shakespeare uses her character to emphasize the other because of how she wishes to become part of the majority. In the article 'Her Father’s Blood: Race, Conversion, and Nation in The Merchant of Venice", the author theoretically predicts Jessica that although after marrying a Christian and converting her new husband will inevitably become her father by ridicule her for not being of Christian ancestry. Jessica is inevitably an example of submitting to the oppression whether the reason being. Like previously stated when being the other you either go against the views of the majority or become the majority by shaming your true side.
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