Portia and Shylock lead such vastly different lives that their stories can easily be divided into two completely separate plays altogether. The two stories do intertwine and the characters do eventually come face to face, but only in an obviously disadvantageous circumstance for Shylock. Certainly, the antagonized character is never seen under a positive light. He is commonly – if not always – referred to as “The Jew” and evidently in a significantly lower social tier than Portia or any of her counterparts. Even so, the fact that Shylock is a self-governing Jewish male provides him with greater agency than Portia, whose choice has been taken away by none other than her dead, Christian father. I guess you could say that Portia’s father is the ultimate “Dead White Guy,” but I digress. Continue reading
Shakespeare’s Portia is not a feminist; rather she is a ‘radical’ feminist—understanding gender as the cause of her oppression.