The Merchant Of Venice By William Shakespeare

1206 WordsMay 12, 20155 Pages
Yiqiao Wang Cultural Foundation Literary Paper 5th May 2015 Question: In Shakespeare 's England, women were not recognized as autonomous under the Law. They were understood as existing only in relation to their fathers or husbands, not as autonomous in their own individuality. How does The Merchant of Venice interrogate this ideological (and historically factual) denial of female selfhood through the words and actions of Portia and Jessica? Throughout the Renaissance period, men dominated both in the home and within society. Women were recognized only as dependents of male citizens, rather as autonomous figures in society. In The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare broke this stereotype by portraying both Jessica and Portia as independent figures through their actions and words. Although back in his day women were always recognized as inferior and subject to men 's domination, Shakespeare portrayed them as capable, intelligent, and autonomous. Jessica, for instance, demonstrated that autonomy when she eloped with her lover, Lorenzo. Portia showed her capabilities and intelligence when she saved Antonio 's life in court. Shakespeare 's view of women was different and radical for his time. He believed they were the equals of men, often demonstrating it through his works. He held the rather unpopular opinion that women had the right to choose their own husbands or have the chance of pursuing a career. The Merchant of Venice’s Jessica and Portia are some of his best portraying
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