Shakespeare conformed the social concerns of the 16 the century Elizabethan era in his
play merchant of Venice as it explored the depiction of the relationship between Jews and
Christians, which has always been an ambivalent one, adds a very diﬃcult dimension to
this play. Ultimately, through dramatic plot and characters such as Shylock and Antonio.
Shakespeare scrutinises what it means to be Jewish and what it means to be Christian. A
closer analysis of these opposing groups surface contradictory between what the
characters preach versus what they practice, as well as their complex notions of paternal
and maternal love which paves a perception of a woman’s role in society.
Shake-spears the merchant of Venice representative of a fundamental principle that is as
unfortunately true in our times as it was in his.An individual who has money also has love
and power.We are introduced to Portia who exploits the codependace of wealth,
masculinity and public power in her society, she becomes the only woman in the play
who consistently controls her own destiny.This is evident when Portia laments her
incompetence to act according to her own volition, saying,’’O menthe word choose!i may
neither/choose who I would I would nor refuse who I dislike ,so is/the will of a living
daughter curbed by the will of/A dead father’’.The extent of male dominance in a Venetian
society is manifested by the high degree of authority that Portias father continues to hold
over her life even after his dead.This customary is mandatory as it is perceived that men
had more financial and social power along with rationality.This convenient way of living is
displayed when portia is given no say in the matter to chose her partner as this is
portrayed through the use of repetition through the choice of the word ‘’choose’’ three
times in the passage .instead must entrust her destiny to a system of boxes and riddles,
and for the most parts is a willing societal minion, but only dressed as a woman.
But now I was the lord,Of this fair mansion, master of my servants,Queen o’er myself; . . .
(3.2.167-9).Portia was not the ‘lady’ of the house but its ‘lord,’ not the servants’ ‘mistress’
but their ‘master.’ Though Portia breaks the pattern by calling herself ‘queen’ as opposed
to ‘king,’ the image she paints has connotations of masculine control and dominance. The
archetype of the feminine caregiver is entirely absent. Portia’s manner of speech, unlike
that of the other female characters, shares a common quality with the men’s,
Once Portia slips into male garb, her behaviour is shockingly diﬀerent. The audience sees
not a restricted, powerless Portia, agonising over the possible misfortunes of being wed
to ill-complexioned braggarts, but a confident, even cunning Portia. Disguised as a male
lawyer, Portia becomes an entirely new...