William Shakespeare 's ' Portia '

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A protagonist is also often the character around whom the action of the play revolves. By this test, Portia is also the protagonist, as without her, very little in the play would have remained the same. Had Bassanio not been in love with Portia, he never would have asked Antonio for the money to woo her and Antonio would not have entered into the bond with Shylock. Similarly, had the laws in the Court of Justice been interpreted by any other lawyer, it I likely that Antonio would have lost his life.
At 588 lines, Portia also has more lines than any other character; 233 more than Shylock 's 355 lines and 400 more than Antonio 's 188. Because of this, the scenes surrounding the caskets in Portia 's home should be viewed as trials for the protagonist, and not a sub-plot, as they are often described. By any definition, Portia is the protagonist of the play-- she exhibits the greatest change, the action of the play revolves around her, and she has the largest number of spoken lines. Given her importance to the play, how can the title, The Merchant of Venice, be reconciled? After all, Portia appears to be neither Venetian nor a merchant.
While the play treats Belmont as a distant locale from Venice, a close reading indicates that the two are in quite close proximity. When Portia is telling Nerissa of her plan to save Antonio, she tells Nerissa that they must "measure twenty miles to-day" (3.4.84). Because Portia must be back at Belmont before Bassanio arrives there on
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