Who is Portia in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Portia is the intelligent, beautiful heroine of the play The Merchant of Venice. She is a wealthy heiress who lives in Belmont and is forced to obey her father's will by marrying the suitor who wins the lottery. At the beginning of the play, Portia complains to Nerissa about her situation and the awful suitors who have attempted to marry her. However, Portia is respectful to the suitors from Morrocco and Arragon; still, though, she is pleased that they did not choose the correct casket. Portia instantly falls in love with Bassanio and selflessly gives him her fortune after he chooses the correct casket. She also allows Bassanio to return to Venice to visit Antonio and saves Bassanio's close friend by dressing up as a man and intervening in Antonio's trial. Portia is magnanimous, sympathetic, and witty throughout the play. She not only marries the man that she loves but also intelligently conducts a plan to save his friend Antonio.

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The Merchant of Venice

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