The Merchant Of Venice By William Shakespeare

1153 Words5 Pages
Wo(man) Up! Since the beginning of recorded history, women’s roles in society have been seen as inferior to those of men. Women’s rights have progressed as time has passed, but even today, women are treated unfairly. However, in The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare challenges the concept of women being unequal to men. He conveys this message through the actions of Jessica, Portia, and Nerissa. The female characters empower themselves, accomplishing various tasks in order to gain control over the men in their lives. The Merchant of Venice is a highly effective feminist play, which is demonstrated through the assertive and clever personalities of the women portrayed. Jessica’s rebellious attitude towards Shylock is established by her desertion of him in order to live her life without his influence. She is tired of his constant frugality, and she desires to be free from her father’s tight grip on her. When saying goodbye to Launcelot, Jessica confesses, Alack, what heinous sin is it in me, To be ashamed to be my father’s child? But though I am a daughter to his blood, I am not to his manners. (II.iii.16-19)
Jessica expresses some reluctance to betray Shylock, as she considers rejecting him to be a sin. However, she ultimately confidently decides to leave him, reasoning that being related by blood is not enough for her to endure her father’s controlling personality. Shakespeare uses Jessica’s determination to find happiness on her own to demonstrate the
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