The Merchant of Venice: Womens Rights

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The Merchant of Venice, supposedly written between 1596 and 1598 is classified as an early Shakespearean comedy and also one of the problem plays. Though It is classified as a comedy, it has certain aspects of a romance. The play itself is about what could be called a rival between Christianity and Judaism with parts including women’s rights. The Jewish money lending merchant, Shylock seeks a pound of flesh from his fellow Christian, Antonio from failing to pay back three thousand ducats. Not only does the play consist of the two men battling for their way, it also shows the respect and the way women are treated. Yet another Christian, Portia is to be married to her future husband Bassanio but firstly he must follow her father’s wishes to pick one of three boxes, one holding the chance for his and Portia’s marriage to commence. This novel and a very famous Shakespearean play consists of many women’s rights issues which will further be discussed, including Portia being controlled by her father’s will and men thinking women could not be as smart as themselves; resulting in the women dressing as men to take part in the court case with the pound of flesh, giving the women a chance to take some control.

In The Merchant of Venice, Portia one of the leading characters was held against her father’s will, giving her no women’s rights. In The Merchant of Venice, Portia along with two other female characters, Jessica and Nerissa had no power or right. Portia was being controlled by her father’s will, who even did not give her the right to choose her own husband. Portia, like any other woman disagreed with his wishes, “I may neither choose who I would/nor refuse who I dislike; so is the will of a living daughter curbed by the will of a dead father.” (y, ii, 22-24). During this time; when The Merchant of Venice was written and performed, the father of the women would have the most say in whom she shall marry and if he disliked the man she would not marry him. When it...
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