The Merchant of Venice | Critical Essay by Michael Shapiro

This literature criticism consists of approximately 30 pages of analysis & critique of The Merchant of Venice.
This section contains 8,994 words
(approx. 30 pages at 300 words per page)
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Critical Essay by Michael Shapiro

SOURCE: "Doubling Cross-Gender Disguise: The Merchant of Venice" in Gender in Play on the Shakespearean Stage, The University of Michigan Press, 1996, pp. 93-118.

In the following essay, Shapiro explores the varying purposes and effects of the three instances of cross gender disguise (Portia, Nerissa, and Jessica) in The Merchant of Venice.

Although Shakespeare gave three different types of male identity to the three heroines in his second play to use the motif of a boy heroine in male disguise, none of them became the Lylian page of Two Gentlemen. Multiplying the cross-dressed heroine in a single work called attention to its artificiality as a literary convention and a theatrical construction and probably made spectators more aware of something they "always knew": the female characters they accepted as mimetic illusions in the world of the play were constructed by male performers...

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This section contains 8,994 words
(approx. 30 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Michael Shapiro