Essay On Portia From The Merchant Of Venice

Bassanio’s love for Portia brought certain maturity that allowed him to realise, “Look on beauty,/And you shall see ‘tis purchased by the weight/…/thou meagre lead,/Which rather threaten’st than dost promise aught,/Thy paleness moved me more than eloquence…” (III. Trial, both literal and figurative, are amazing theatrical devices; this creates drama and gives, both the audience and the reader, the ability to empathise with, understand or even grow to despise a character.

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Finally, of course, what we most remember about Portia, after the play is over, is her wit and her playfulness.

Even when Portia is complaining to Nerissa about the terms of her father's will, she does so wittily: "Is it not hard, Nerissa, that I cannot choose one nor refuse none?

Bassanio's correct choice of the casket overwhelms Portia.

She wishes she had more of everything to give Bassanio: "This house, these servants and this same myself / Are yours, my lord: I give them with this ring." She willingly shares all she owns with Bassanio.

Already she has given him cause to think that it is possible that he can woo and win her, for on an earlier visit to Belmont, Bassanio did "receive fair speechless messages" from her eyes.

And when Nerissa mentions the fact that Bassanio might possibly be a suitor, Portia tries to disguise her anxiety, but she fails. Portia is usually very self-controlled, but she reveals her anxiety concerning Bassanio a little later when he has arrived at her mansion and is about to choose one of the caskets.

She bets Nerissa that she can out-man any man when it comes to swaggering and playing the macho bit: "I have within my mind / A thousand raw tricks of these bragging Jacks, / Which I will practise." Men are as transparent as stale beer to her; she revels in turning the tables and having a bit of fun even while she is on a daring mission to try and save Antonio's life.

And even in the courtroom, when Bassanio extravagantly offers his life for Antonio's, Portia quips in an aside that "Your wife would give you little thanks for that, / If she were by, to hear you make the offer." The entire ring plot is Portia's idea, and she and Nerissa relish the prospect of the jest at their husbands' expense.

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