The Merchant Of Venice By William Shakespeare Essay

1758 Words Mar 10th, 2016 8 Pages
Characters with Issues

The Merchant of Venice, dated 1596, was written by William Shakespeare. The story is set in Venice. The critical issue is that the main characters, Shylock and Antonio, make a bond upon a pound of flesh. When Antonio fails to fulfill his end of the bond, Portia comes in and saves Antonio 's life. Many scholars have analyzed the play and it has become known as “the play of problems”. In The Merchant of Venice the main characters all show the characteristics of prejudice, mercy, and deception.

In the novel The Merchant of Venice, Portia shows prejudice in her own way. Portia is considered an outsider during this time period because she is a woman. In the article, written by Novy, “Women and Jews could be seen as symbolic of absolute otherness- alien, mysterious, uncivilized, unredeemed” (Novy, np). Portia defies the stereotypes of women in that time period. Women in 1596 were considered to be inferior, yet in the book, Portia is the money holder in her family. She also plays the role of not only a man, but also a doctor. Portia changes the result of the trial. She is a feminist. She did this by defying all the “rules” women were suppose to follow. Portia does show some prejudice towards Shylock. In the novel, it states“ The Jew shall have justice. Soft, no haste he shall have nothing, but the penalty” (Shakespeare 4.1. 313-315). Portia wants Antonio to be pardoned first of all because it is her money at stake as well as her husband’s best friend’s…

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