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Merchant Of Venice'

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Coursework Assignment-'Merchant Of Venice' In this piece of work, I am to discuss whether Portia is a modern woman of the sixteenth century. I am aiming to discuss many of her elements, relating and comparing them with the time in which the play is set. I will be looking at what aspects mark her out as a 'modern' woman and those that mark her out to be a 'renaissance' woman. When William Shakespeare wrote, 'The Merchant of Venice', he included a female character that leads the play dramatically. In most of Shakespeare's plays, the women have little power and intelligence. In The Merchant of Venice, however, Portia is a woman that saves the life of a man with her wit and intelligence. Portia is one of Shakespeare's great heroes, whose beauty, lively intelligence, and quick wit are very well known in the society in which she lives. She is known throughout the world for her beauty and good qualities, and she is able to handle any situation with her great wit. Portia is thought of a perfect woman. This is brought forward to us before she appears, as Bassanio describes her to Antonio and says, 'In Belmont is a lady richly left, / And she is fair and, fairer than that word.' ...read more.


At the same time, she is a woman who takes Antonio's fate in her hands and rescues him. Not one other character suspected she was a fake, which makes us feel as if she is somebody to be proud of, or to look up to. She is a clever woman, she had to pretend to be a man in front of a whole courtroom, and she managed to do it, and do it well. What is even more amazing is that Portia does win the case. Her tactics in the trial lead Shylock to believe he can win his case and building his hopes, 'Why this bond is forfeit, /And lawfully by this the Jew may claim/A pound of flesh.' Act 4 Scene 1, lines 223-225 She stirs Shylock up, from going along with him as he praises her, taking it in that she is with him. She uses her advantage over Shylock with her womanly quality by giving mercy to him who needs and has earned it. Portia kicks Shylock to the curb without him knowing her plan. Then throws him straight down to the bottom, with a great thump It is a success for her to dress as a man to do this, which not many could do without needing some sort of education about the situation. ...read more.


Even without him asking which shows a true 'renaissance' woman. A typical thing that a woman of that time would have done. Portia went into court dressed as a man. If she were a 'modern' woman, she'd want to prove to the world how she wants the reality of women to be. Then why did she dress as a man? Here she doesn't have enough courage to prove her point, like many other women. In conclusion, we can say that Portia is a woman who has seemingly good intentions and tries to play by the rules. However, she looks for ways to bend the rules and make them go in her favor so that she benefits from the situation's result. Three main examples of this are when she is picking a suitor, when she disguises herself as the lawyer, and when she takes back Bassanio's ring. She is a woman of charming wit and superb intelligence. On the other hand, she can also be sitting back with the rest of the women of that era, watching life go by and not bothering to do anything about it. Therefore, I believe that Portia is a 'modern' woman in many aspects and up to the limits of the restrictions of her society and can be a product of her society at the same time. ?? ?? ?? ?? English Literature Coursework Mehmoona Nadeem 1 ...read more.

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