Ashley: Gender and Portia Essay

Submitted By papissociety
Words: 358
Pages: 2

The question has been proposed whether Portia was her own woman, and if after she married Bassanio would she still be the protector of her fortune. I researched for evidence to the theory that Portia was not her own, her fortune was not her own, and she was bound financially to her husband after marriage. There is nothing out of the ordinary about this particular arrangement, and I don't feel that the relationship should continue to be hailed as a progressive, feminist relationship.

The best evidence I could find were the words which were spoken out of Portia's own mouth,

One half of me is yours, the other half yours--

Mine own, I would say; but if mine, then yours,

And so all yours. III.ii.16-18.

There you have it. Portia is Bassanio's. This may be idle lover's talk; however, it does signify the beginning of a possessive relationship in which Bassanio is the possessor!

Directly after Portia is "won" by Bassanio's correct choice in caskets she states,

Happiest of all, is that her gentle spirit

Commits itself to yours to be directed,

As from her lord, her governor, her king.

Myself, and what is mine, to you and yours

Is now converted. . . . I was the lord of

this fair mansion, master of my servants,

Queen o'er myself; and even now, but now