Portia; Heroin of Venice

Topics: The Merchant of Venice, Shylock, Love Pages: 4 (1437 words) Published: April 13, 2013
Portia is a strong heroine in a play filled with, confused, selfish, niave men. It may seem that she is a controlling female who uses her power to get her way in the world, but she is given a bad rap. Sure she's a bit controlling but how can we blame her, that's how she was brought up, it's part of her upbringing. It's easy to accuse her of prying into her newly husbands life or taking control over something that wasn't any of her concern, but it's possible that like many other heroes and heroines it was done out of love and not an insane need for control. Portia often gets criticized for being strong, independent and assertive but she is being judged on the main fact that she is a woman. Portia isn't abiding by the assumed gender roles of that time and because of this she is turned into a feminist.

Portia clearly grew up wealthy and her beauty needs no convincing, "In Belmont is a lady richly left; and she is fair, and fairer than that word, of wondrous virtues" (1.161-163). It make sense that Portia would be filled with confidence and the need to oversee those around her. It is part of her upbringing and she has been doing this since she was a child. It's also clear that she grew up with a father who was also equally if not more controlling. Her father, understanding that she would be judged for her wealth and beauty instead of her character, decided that he would take the reponsibility of choosing her worthy suitor into his own hands. He didn't allow Portia to choose based upon her own emotions or intelligenge and took control of her future. Somehow, Amazingly, he is able to keep control even after his death. So if Portia does have a slight control tendency, is there any wonder where those habits may have come from? Like father, like daughter. Portia goes along with her fathers wishes, but doesn't ignore her own. She is respectable to those around her and we know this because of the way she speaks to her suitors and to Shylock, "Yourself, renowned prince,...
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