Free Role of Women: Richard III and Merchant of Venice Essay Sample

Q.1In which play do women show more initiative? In which play are they more passive?

Answer: After going through both the plays i.e. Merchant of Venice and Richard III; it is opined that women were portrayed in a more positive role with initiative in Merchant of Venice as compared to Richard III. Although the baseline of both the plays is stretch over an era of time marked with male domination, yet if we analyze the three women of Shakespeare’s play i.e. Portia, Jessica and Nerissa, they are presented as being powerful and intelligent thus equivalent to their opposing gender.  (Women "Merchant of Venice").The play lays down inovative and intriging ideas with respect to gender rights and equality that are controversal w.r.t the norms of the society of the Elizabethan era.

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In Richard the III the two main women characters i.e. Elizabeth Woodville who is Edward IV’s wife and Lady Anne Warwick, Richards queen and the widow of Lnacastrian Prince of Wales Edward both are narated as inferior to to the main gender character Richard. Although there role is by no means undermined. Yet they serve with lack of strength and integrity w.r.t  the main Character Richard.  (The Women in Richard III).

Q2. How do the male characters in these plays regard women? What qualities in a woman are they looking for when they plan to marry?     

Answer: In Richard III the male character leading of King Richard is actually taking advantage of the women. He marries Ann after the death of her husband and thus focuses on degrading and using her as a tool for his political or social gains. Thus! undermining her value and stature as an independent and hourable soul. However in contract; in the play Merchant of Venice the relationships are more bonded towards love and affection based on individual characteristics of the characters like beauty, wealth or even religious beliefs. Therefore on the broad perspective even with respect to the inter gender relationships the portrait of Merchant of Venice is more positive in comparison to Richard III.


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