.. a male lawyer and a male clerk to take part in the trial. The reason why they will “speak between the change of man and boy with a reed voice, and turn two mincing steps, into a manly stride” (Pg. 62, lines 68-70) so they could have their voices heard in order to convince the Duke to release their friend Antonio from his forfeit. Women knew that men would only respect other men. Jessica cross-dresses to elope with her love, Lorenzo.
The reason why she dresses as a torchbearer is to be able to walk out in public without being suspected of any wrongdoing. Unlike Portia and Nerissa, who seemed comfortable in their disguise, Jessica felt that “cupid himself would blush to see [her] thus transformed to a boy” and to “be [Lorenzos] torchbearer” and “hold a candle [to] her shames” (Pg. 32, lines 39-42). Portia and Nerissa dressed as men for power while Jessica simply dressed for escape. Blindness is present here for the fact that the women were able to get away as men shows how the society cannot recognize females.
Even though Shakespeare worked the cross-dressing scenes with his characters, women roles were played by men, which that also shows how women were limited to privileges. Shakespeare exaggerated men being oblivious to womens actions and characteristics when concealed as men. Cross-dressing was not the only blindness between the men and women. For the women who were brave enough to dress as men and risk their lives walking around in public, they were able to feel the brief moment of power and dominance. Afterwards when the women returned back to reality, they were considered as “property” to men. Men did not see women anything more than property. For Portia, she felt that “[she] may neither choose who [she] would nor refuse who [she] dislike” of a suitor because she was “curbed by the will of [her] dead father” (Pg.
8, lines 20-23). Her father left “three chests of gold, silver, and lead, whereof [the suitors] chooses his meaning chooses [Portia], will no doubt never be chosen by any rightly but one who [she] rightly love” (Pg. 8, lines 27-30). In her fathers point of view, he felt that the right chest chosen by the right suitor would be the husband for Portia. It also seems that he felt that Portia did not know how to choose a right husband because she was a woman. Portia, on the other hand, felt that she was being forced into marriage because her father was blind about her emotional feelings.
She wanted to marry out of love and not by force. Luckily Bassanio chose the right casket, which was the lead casket, because Portia loved him. People were so blind that they could not see women in mens attire. It is ridiculous because Shakespeare seems to exaggerate mens stupidity. Another example of men treating women as property would be Shylock and Jessica.
Shylock also does not see Jessica as another person. He calls his daughter “[his] flesh and [his] blood” (Pg. 44, line 33). Shylocks life revolved around money, not his daughter. He was neglecting the love that he should be giving to his daughter.
Now that Jessica had ran away, and him not having any friends, he does not feel any loss except for his “two thousand ducats in [the chest], and other precious, precious jewels” (Pg. 46, lines 78-79) that Jessica stole when she eloped. Shylock was blind to not notice any unhappiness with Jessica. If he did, the elopement most likely would not have occurred secretly. Shylock was blind to not notice his daughters unhappiness with the relationship between him and her as well as the unfulfilling religion that Jessica was forced to believe in. We have come a long way from the Renaissance Age. We now have laws that protect each citizen from religious prejudice and gender discrimination.
The reason why there was religious prejudice and gender discrimination was because people did not see other peoples point of view. They felt that what the majority of people believed was considered correct and whoever broke through their barrier of beliefs were shunned out of their society. What was the cause of blindness then is now the thing of the past. People of all religions now enjoy the freedom of religious tolerance because people do not see other religions as wrong. They just accept the other religions and go on believing what they feel is the religion for them.
Women have the equal opportunity to accomplish and participate in activities that men once forbade them to take part in. Men now see that women are able to accomplish the same things that they could do. There are times when in our society, we have problems concerning these laws. Most of the times, when situations like those are taken to the fullest extent of the law, things will be solved with justice and equality. There is no longer any issues concerning the blindness in religion and gender.
The way blindness of cross-dressing once was is rarely seen in our society now because women do not cross-dress for power anymore. Most of the time we hear women, and even men, cross-dressing to make a bold statement of their inner feelings, it could possibly relate to power, but not the power that Portia and Nerissa wanted to experience. Women now do not have to dress as men to have equal power because they know that what was in the past have evolved for the better. Gender discrimination is no longer a flaw of blindness. I am please to know that I do not have to go through what the women went through during that time. Being unable to do what I please without being suspected of foul doing just because of my gender.
Portia plays a character that breaks out of the barrier of a cookie-cutter expectations of women. What I mean is that Portia did not hide behind the usual women roles but instead she had the guts to attend the trial as a man risking public humiliation if she was caught. People were so blind, it seems unreal to believe it because how could some of the characters be so blind mentally and physically? I do not see any of the same blindness in this time. However, I do feel that it is still present, but it does not have as much as the effect it had back in the Renaissance Age. How people were in the past has changed to what we are today.
Blindness is not the cause of discrimination as much anymore. We can think that the people acted foolish throughout the whole play because they did not notice the obvious. For example of how the two princes made a fool of themselves and were punished for their idiotic choices of choosing the correct casket. Physical and mental blindness were the cause of unhappiness. Sometimes people purposely acted blind because they were brainwashed to believe that if the majority of people believed it, then it was right.
We do not see that blindness much in our world today. Shakespeare showed us in his plays that blindness was normal and that blindness was the cause of his characters situations. Blindness made Shakespeares time harsh and unfair. Now we see what goes on and problems similar to the characters in the play will not repeat itself. We now see what they cannot see.