Compare and contrast the characters of Rosalind in As You Like It and Portia in The Merchant of Venice. How are the two alike and different? 

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Portia and Rosalind are both heroines of Shakespearean comedies. They are both high born, clever, witty, and resourceful. They also both have male authority figures dictating their lives: the instructions in Portia's father's will mean that he is determining who she will marry even from beyond the grave, while Rosalind's uncle forces her to leave home by exiling her from his court.

Another significant similarity is that they both disguise themselves as men. Rosalind takes on the persona of Ganymede when she flees into the forest as a means of protecting herself. As a woman, she would be too vulnerable to attack. While in the forest, she incites the love of a shepherdess who believes her to be a man, and tutors Orlando, who also does not know it's her, in how to love her as a woman.

Portia's reasons for donning her disguise are quite different, and she spends far less time masquerading as a man than Rosalind does. She has already secured the love of Bassanio when she takes on the persona of...

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