The Merchant of Venice Essay | Student Essay

This student essay consists of approximately 7 pages of analysis of Discuss the Portrayal of Portia and Jessica in the Merchant of Venice.
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Discuss the Portrayal of Portia and Jessica in the Merchant of Venice

Summary: Shakespeare has contradicted the perceived roles of women in the 17th century society through his portrayal of Portia and Jessica. Portia has been clearly evident as an instrumental character to the play's development as a result of her greatness, high self-esteem, abilities, intelligence and manipulative power. Jessica however, has been portrayed in light of a reactive, submissive character that possessed low self-esteem and remained reactive through the play.
In "The Merchant of Venice" Shakespeare used Portia and Jessica as his stereotypical characters through which he successfully conveyed greatness and challenged the perception of 17th century society. Shakespeare, by doing so, has "accomplished them with what they lacked." Quotation serves to emphasise Shakespeare's drama since the word `accomplished' implies that it is Shakespeare who created the two characters to appear as men's equals and that otherwise this equality would not be attainable within the society of the contemporary time.

At the beginning of the play, Portia appears to have no real identity despite all her greatness and worth whereas Jessica, being a Jew appeared as a character with low self-esteem and emerges as having no commitment to her father's house. Shakespeare furthers this notion by enabling us to recognise Portia's wealth and status as he allows her...

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This section contains 1,802 words
(approx. 7 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Student Essay on Discuss the Portrayal of Portia and Jessica in the Merchant of Venice
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