Does anyone have any topic or thesis ideas for a literary analysis about The Merchant of Venice?My personal goal for the paper's length is at least four pages, so I need a topic that I could...

Does anyone have any topic or thesis ideas for a literary analysis about The Merchant of Venice?

My personal goal for the paper's length is at least four pages, so I need a topic that I could support well. In case anyone wanted to know, this is for a AP English reading project. Thanks in advance!

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

While there certainly is irony in a man's playing the role of Portia, who then plays the role of a man, thus producing a man playing the role of a man, you may wish to make the topic of your essay the independent and assertive nature of Portia, a characterization that is most avant garde for Shakespeare's time.  For, even though she is constrained by the traditional role of dutiful daughter, Portia cleverly devises hints for Bassanio so that he will select the casket that will lead him to a marriage with her.  Later, in the subplot about the wedding ring, Portia cleverly manipulates Bassino again.  And, certainly as Balthazar, the young doctor at the Venetian court, she is brillant and the equal of any male. In a sense, then, the characterization of Portia is feminist as she aims to subvert patriarchy and assert her own independence and intelligence.

Therefore, a thorough character analysis of Portia as an example of the feminine declaration of individualism could easily lend itself to four pages.  Or, you could include Jessica in this examination, too, as she asserts her independence from her Jewish faith and her father, Shylock.  

Sources:
nkputtagunta's profile pic

nkputtagunta | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Hi, this is nkputtagunta. Hopefully, any answerers see this. I didn't know how or if I could edit my question, but I have an addition to it.

I was considering a topic about Portia and Nerissa. How Portia was bound by her father's last wish, and couldn't even choose her husband, yet she was the one that saved Antonio in the end. Maybe the irony of the situation? However, I don't know how to develop this idea. I don't know if I can support this very well, but I would like to hear other ideas for theses as well as help for this one. Again, thanks for the help!

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