Sean TsangBarbara FedorowiczENG2DR00/00/0000(Title)In the play Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare, stereotypes are false claims that the characters can be condemned by or can overcome. Throughout the play the characters that are affected by stereotypes are the suitors, Portia, and Shylock the Jew. To begin with, the suitors are trapped by stereotypes. Portia stereotypes the young baron of England as simple minded and lacks originality. Portia states ” He hath neither Latin, French, nor Italian; and you will come into the court and swear that I have a poor pennyworth in the English. He is a proper man’s picture, but alas, who can converse with a dumb show? How oddly he is suited! I think he bought his doublet in Italy, his round hose in France, his bonnet in Germany, and his behavior everywhere.”(1.2.69-76). The young baron is simple minded because he only knows English and does not know any other languages such as Latin, French and Italian. Furthermore, he lacks originality because he is boring, too proper and not unique. His manner of dressing is another example of how he is not original “he bought his doublet in Italy, his round hose in France, his bonnet in Germany…” (1.2.74-75). Next, Portia stereotypes the young German, the Duke Saxony’s nephew as rude and an alcoholic. Portia says “Very vilely in the morning, when he is sober, and most vilely in the afternoon, when he is drunk. When he is best he is a little worse than a man, and when he is worst he is little better than a beast.”(1.2.86-89). The young German is rude and lacks manners in the morning due to the fact that he is hungover from excessively drinking all afternoon and evening which implies that germans enjoying drinking. Thus he is stuck in the stereotype that most German men are alcoholics because it was common for German men to drink all day. Finally, Portia stereotypes the Prince of Morocco as superficial. Portia states “O, sinful thought! Never so rich a gem was set in worse than gold. They have in England a coin that bears the figure of an angel stamped in gold, but that’s insculped upon; but here an angel in a golden bed lies all within. Deliver me the key. Here do I choose, and thrive I as I may.”(2.7.60-66). The Prince of Morocco is superficial because he chooses the gold casket as it is gold. He compares Portia to gold such that both are desired ” Why, that’s the lady! All the world desires her.” (2.7.44). Each suitor conforms to the stereotype and therefore are condemned by it.In addition, Portia is presumed to be not intelligent because of the stereotype associated with women. She overcomes the stereotype by proving she is intelligent by stopping Shylock from taking one pound of Antonio’s flesh.Portia states during court “Therefore prepare thee to cut off the flesh. Shed thou no blood, nor cut thou less nor more but just a pound of flesh. If thou tak’st more or less than a just pound, be it but so much as makes it light or heavy in the substance or the division of the twentieth part of one poor scruple – nay, if the scale do turn but in the estimation of a hair, thou diest, and all thy goods are confiscate.”(4.1.338-346). Portia proves she is intelligent by successfully defending Antonio from getting one pound of his flesh cut off.She does this by being very specific with Shylock’s bond that ” This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood. The words expressly are ‘a pound of flesh.’ Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh, but in the cutting it, if thou dost shed One drop of christian blood, thy lands and goods Are by the laws of Venice confiscate Unto the state of Venice.”(4.1.319-325). Thus, if Antonio sheds blood or Shylock takes a little more or a little less than one pound of flesh Shylock in turn will be killed and have all his goods confiscated. Another way how Portia proves her intelligence is by hinting discreetly with words in a song,” Tell me where is fancy bred, Or in the heart, or in the head? How begot, how nourished?”(3.2.65-67) that guides Bassanio to choose the right casket.Portia hides clues in the song that helps Bassanio choose the lead casket by rhyming words with lead.Ironically, Portia is intelligence must still be hidden because of the expectations of women. Portia pretends to be a lawyer in court by disguising herself as a man. Portia says “When we are both accoutered like young men, I’ll prove the prettier fellow of the two, and wear my dagger with the braver grace, and speak between the change of man and boy with a reed voice, and turn two mincing steps into a manly stride, and speak of frays like a fine bragging youth”(3.4.66-72). Unfortunately, Portia needs to hide behind a disguise in order to demonstrate how intelligent she is therefore shows how stereotypes can trap a person. Portia overcomes the stereotype by proving she is intelligent but is still constrain by the expectations of society towards women.Finally, Shylock the Jew is stereotype as being materialistic, merciless and stubborn. Shylock is portrayed as being materialistic by wanting money over his daughter. Shylock states “…I would my daughter were dead at my foot and the jewels in her ear; would she were hearsed at my foot and the ducats in her coffin.” (3.1.87-90). Shylock would prefer to have the jewels and ducats than having his daughter alive. Shylock shows no mercy towards Antonio in court by accepting only Antonio’s flesh as stated in the bond. The court asks Shylock “Be merciful; Take thrice thy money; bid me tear the bond.” (4.1.242-243). Shylock responds “By my soul I swear there is no power in the tongue of man to alter me. I stay here on my bond.” (4.1.249-251). Shylock rejects the courts offer of “thrice thy money” in place of the one pound of flesh thus proves that Shylock is merciless. Shylock is also stubborn by saying regardless of how much someone offers him he would reject it and want his bond. Shylock states “If every ducat in six thousand ducats were in six parts, and every part a ducat, I would not draw them. I would have my bond.” (4.1.86-88). Shylock’s anticipatory response to any offer will be rejected due to his stubbornness of only wanting his bond.