Sunday, April 20, 2008

Portia in The Merchant of Venice

It is often said that the Merchant of Venice of William Shakespeare does not have any hero but it has a heroine, Portia. Portia is perhaps the strong character in the Merchant of Venice. She is a good counterpart of Shylock who is the evil. If we look at the other leading male characters like Bassanio and Antonio we can find that they were not as strong as Portia who could fight the villain Shylock. So, Portia is a very impressive and exceptional of character in English drama. She is one of the strongest characters made by William Shakespeare.

The first impression we get of Portia is that she is a beautiful and wealthy women. She is the news of her beauty and wealth all over the world and people from different countries came to the hope of getting married with her. Thus, Portia was a very attractive woman to everyone. To get married to her, princes from Scotland and Morocco came. Bassanio even made Antonio take loan from his enemy Shylock just to go and test his fortune to get married with Portia. Thus, the beauty and wealth of Portia made her an exceptional figure. There was the rule that any man who could solve the mystery of the Cascade would be able to marry her and enjoy her wealth.

Although Portia was very rich, at the same time she was very romantic. When sweeter from different countries came to seek her for marriage she gave interesting opinions about them. It is clear that she liked Bassanio who was a good man. Bassanio was not a rich or powerful man. He was not a prince or even he was not a big trader. He was only the friend of Antonio. This was his main identity in the society of Venice. Even Portia did not care for this and she thought that Bassanio was the perfect man for her and she was eager that Bassanio can solve the mystery of the Cascade and get married with her. This clearly shows that Portia gives more value to love and romance than wealth and power.

Portia was a very smart and skilled person. She was educated and the same time she was clever person. She could out with Shylock in his own game. This is a lot of mental strength and also a lot of knowledge and wisdom. Portia had all the wisdom that a woman can dream of. She knows what to say in which condition and this smartness in the end saved Antonio.

Portia was a very brave woman. When she needed she could be soft, when she needed she could be brave. When she heard the news of Antonio then she decided that she must try to save Antonio because Antonio had fallen into danger only by helping Bassanio to come to Portia. So, she took the disguise of a man and went to Venice and then fought with Shylock head to head and toe to toe. Shylock was an evil character and he was a very powerful person. Antonio or Bassanio or even the duke could not convince him or could not even make him little bit softer towards Antonio. But Portia had the mental courage to fight against Shylock and in the end she successfully defeated Shylock.

One of the qualities that attract the readers towards Portia is that she was an obedient daughter and at the same time she was a very loyal and obedient wife. She agreed with the wish of her father about the matter of cascade. She waited patiently to get married. If she wanted she could easily told Bassanio or another person what was the secret of the secret of the secret of three cascades and could get married but she waited patiently and even allow other princes to try for it. She was loyal and obedient but at the same time she had firmness, she had firm characteristics, she was brave and she was ready to fight with anyone. She was also ready to fight with injustice. This quality of her really makes her exception.

Portia is one of the finest characters created by William Shakespeare. Normally, the characters of Shakespeare are strong. If we look at Lady Macbeth then we can see that she was a very strong character. On the other hand, the characters of the comedy are not that strong but I think that Portia is an exception to this matter. Portia was not only strong but Portia had many qualities that I have talked about. I have already said that she was beautiful, she was a romantic person, smart skill and educated and she was also brave. All these characteristics have made her into a very exceptional woman of Elizabethan time. I have no doubt that there were very few women in that time in England and Europe who possessed remarkable qualities like Portia.

In conclusion, I like to repeat that Portia is a very good character and characters like Portia are very rare in the drama.

Also read:

Trial Scene of The Merchant of Venice

Love, Marriage and Friendship in the Merchant of Venice


  1. If im in the situation of the owner of this blog. I dont know how to post this kind of topic. he has a nice idea.

  2. fkjda :)9:30 PM

    wow this really helped me alot. thanks. i totally agree with you buti couldnt take it out and put it intowords.

  3. Anonymous1:22 PM

    awh thnx a lot.. it helped me a lot :)

  4. Anonymous6:54 PM

    great!!! really helpful but i guess every character should have at least one bad quality, i mean no one can be perfect.

    1. Anonymous8:38 PM

      i agree dude but we are supposed to show portia's leading we wont speak about her negatives...

  5. Anonymous6:22 PM

    I think that was a load of crock!
    Portia is a deeply flawed, detestable hypocrite!!

    In her famous mercy speech she talks about how beautiful mercy is but after Shylock is convicted her and her friends destroy him and show no mercy! So hah :)

    1. Anonymous9:57 PM

      Completely agree.

  6. Anonymous12:45 PM

    how can u say Shylock wasn't shown mercy?read the text again...and even if that's true,why to be merciful with a man who knows not what mercy is? hah??

  7. Anonymous8:11 PM

    Actually, in my opinion, Portia is also quite prejudiced against her suitors. She makes comments about them after they appeared and she has already set her heart on Bassanio, leaving no room for other potential suitors that might win her heart.

  8. Anonymous12:17 AM

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  9. Anonymous12:28 AM

    Thanks for the help

  10. thans a lot for ur nice writing.

  11. Anonymous12:10 PM

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    thankxxxxx again

  12. Anonymous9:41 PM

    i guess i am gonna have a good impression coz of this!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Anonymous8:35 PM

    helped a lot.....fetched me A+ in the assignment.....awesome dude!!!!!!