Essay On Portia In The Merchant Of Venice

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Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” is a story revolved around the trading hub, Venice and the rich and royal love-center, Belmont. This Shakespearean story shows the inequality of different cultures and genders, as well as the impact of power throughout the Elizabethan era. Portia is the beautiful and wealthy heiress of Belmont. She is the big female role of the play. Shakespeare has written the play in a way which Portia appears to be one thing, which quickly changes as time goes on. The audience sees Portia as a strong, lovable but comical character through her intelligence and trickery. Shakespeare uses various dramatic features and lines throughout the play to display Portia’s development. Shakespeare starts the play off showing Portia as a beautiful and loyal yet vulnerable woman. Her strength and loyalty is shown through the abiding of her father’s rule despite him having passed away. During the Elizabethan era, women were said to be dependant on men. Even though Portia is portrayed as a strong, self standing character, she still follows her father’s wish despite not wanting to. This could represent how females were during the Shakespearean time (often following what men tell them). When Nerissa and Portia are discussing the possible suitors eligible to choose a casket, Portia fails to hide her excitement and anxiety once she hears Bassanio would stand the chance to be her husband. Portia’s speech in Act 3 Scene 2 immediately shows how her strength was almost taken over by her love for Bassanio. She says “I pray you tarry, Pause a day or two Before you hazard, for in choosing me wrong I lose your company.” Portia shows her vulnarability upon falling in love with Bassanio. She was no longer confident in making sure the... ... middle of paper ... ... to manipulate the men to reveal what has been hidden from them. Shakespeare includes Portia as to add a touch of comedy to the love story. He uses her to twist and turn situations in ways which the audience will find humourous. The cross dressing was confusing on stage during the Shakespearean time as only men were allowed to perform. So in Portia’s case, she would be played as a man and to cross dress, Portia would dress as a guy, meaning the man playing Portia dresses as himself. When the couples were rejoined in Belmont after the court scene, Portia claims she will “have the doctor for my bedfellow.” This worries Bassanio but is humorous to the audience through the dramatic irony as Portia was the doctor so of course she would sleep with herself. Portia appears to be sincere but vulnerable in the beginning but ends up revealing her intelligence and dark side.
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