Portia In Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice

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In contrast to Viola, Portia shows a remarkable level of decisiveness, even in situations where she would be expected to give up any form of control. This is not clear from the beginning; in fact, it initially appears that she is even more passive than Viola. When she is introduced, she does not dream of defying her father’s orders to have her suitors win her over by picking the correct casket. She does complain about it, however. She laments the fact that she is bound by her father’s game and cannot pick her own husband: “O me, the word ‘choose!’ 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” (1.2.19-22). Her reasoning for going along with it is understandable, …show more content…
She comes up with a plan to save Antonio all on her own and tricks the entire household into thinking that she and Nerissa will be away at a monastery. Her actions reveal just how clever she is, as she alone was able to find the loophole that would make Shylock’s bond impossible to collect. While the other characters were weeping and lamenting the hopelessness of Antonio’s fate, Portia remains cools and collected. She points out that spilling a single drop of blood would immediately break the law and result in Shylock’s execution. She was able to think her way out of a difficult situation and successfully execute her plan. She does not just leave Antonio’s fate up to chance; she takes the steps necessary to save him herself.
As can be seen, Viola and Portia have incredibly different attitudes. Viola is often content to wait and see how things will turn out or to go along with the will of others. Portia, on the other hand, is much more proactive and finds ways to improve her situation all by herself. She manipulates both the casket game and her marriage with Bassanio, as well as find a method of saving Antonio. Her assertiveness makes her the stronger of the two

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