Posted at 12.17.2018
''The Merchant of Venice'' is one of Shakespeare's renowned comedies and was written in the later 1590's. The play is set mainly in Venice, which at that time was metropolis of trade, which Shakespeare's audience could have found exotic. At this time, Jews were cared for very terribly and were frequently excluded by their community. The designs of the play are revenge, mercy, and justice. Shylock, with Antonio is the major personality in the play, at times he is referred to as a villain and sometimes a victim. The dictionary identifies a villain as '' a cruelly harmful person'' and a sufferer as '' someone who is deceived or cheated''. Nevertheless the question still remains: Shylock victim or villain?
Shylock will not seem to seem in the beginning of the play for just one key reason I really believe, which is Shakespeare needed the audience to acquire Shylock enter on stage by himself for dramatic result. Shylock's first appearance is Act 1 Arena 3, which is set in Venice, which at the time was the place of commerce at that time. Shylock is quite teasing as he makes Bassanio sweat for a straightforward one-word answer.
''Three thousand ducats for three months, and Antonio bound''
''Three thousand ducats: I believe I may take this bond''
Evidently, Shylock is recurring and he is managing the dialogue. The audience would not enjoy Shylock attaining power especially over Bassanio, who's a Christian. The term ''bond'' is a key word used constantly through the play especially by Shylock. The word bond is powerful words of the law and portrays Shylock as a dignified individual. Shakespeare's intention here's showing how Shylock constantly would like to maintain control, but as we see later in the play this isn't always the case.
Shylock admittedly says he hates Christians, which is racist.
''I hate him for he is Christian''
Clearly, this words shows that Shylock is prejudiced and this quotation would impact the modern audience, as they would be predominantly Religious. The way this saying is put together is very interesting and typical of Shakespeare. Shakespeare has cleverly written this sentence so that every word, bar Religious has one syllable whereas the term Christian has two. This stresses the Christian part of the sentence so it will remain in the audience's thoughts and they will be not pleased at Shylock.
Furthermore, whenever Shylock talks to either Bassanio or Antonio, he seldom uses gracious terminology. ''Curs'd'', has distressing connotations which show the audience that Shylock doesn't have any esteem. Shylock's bond comes with an extreme condition to it:
''for an equal pound of your reasonable flesh''
This shows Shylock desires justice if his money is not repaid. The terms is simple, but effective. Shakespeare uses alliteration to make the point ''reasonable flesh'' stand. This expression would cause high dramatic tension.
Shylock has been called a dog, an insult for a Jew:
''. . . . cut throat dog''
At this time people assumed in the string of being which was a hierarchy of beings. Pups as animals were in the bottom of this chain which means this insult is a whole lot worse. Unfortunately, at the time of the play it was common for Jewish people to be insulted in this way. The imagery is revolting. A ''lower throat dog'' suggests loss of life and execution which would make the audience shiver.
Amazingly, in Act 2 Landscape 2 we see an perception into Shylock's local life from his servant Lancelot.
''the Jew is the devil incarnation''
Shakespeare has cleverly included Lancelot in this world therefore the audience can get a perspective of what Shylock the person is absolutely like. Therefore, when he telephone calls Shylock a devil the audience understands that Lancelot does not have any value for him. The word devil adds to the working motif in the play as Shylock is often known as devil- like. In framework Lancelot should respect his expert not deceive him. Commitment is a big theme of the play and there is none between these two people.
Lancelot wants to run away from Shylock, his get better at.
''I will run so far as God has any ground''
Which shows deep hatred for Shylock, and leaves believing that Lancelot is operating away because Shylock is treating him badly
In Take action 2 Scene 3, we see Shylock's girl Jessica. Jessica does not like her own house:
''Our house is hell''
Hell is a solid word in the play which image of Shylock recurs throughout it. This dialect is monosyllabic which ultimately shows Jessica's lack of delight. The audience would feel sympathetic for Jessica as she actually is by themselves with Shylock who in the eye of the audience is portrayed as a monster. Shylock's goal here is to show the audience what Shylock's own blood vessels and flesh think of him, evidently, we see that his little girl has deep loathing for him. What makes this more convincing s the fact that Jessica is saying this because she's known Shylock her whole life and she still hates him.
In addition in the nest picture Lorenzo compares Shylock to his child an evidently shows more lovingness towards Jessica and disrespect to Shylock.
''If e'r the Jew her daddy come to heaven, it will be for his gentle daughter's sake''
We can see here how there is a contrast in the vocabulary used when referring to Jessica and Shylock. First of all Lorenzo addresses Shylock as ''Jew' which is prejudiced, whereas he uses words such as ''heaven'' and ''light'' to portray Jessica. Shakespeare has cleverly completed this compare for effect because he wished to inform you to the audience who the villain was.
Shylock is malevolent to his servant Lancelot and extremely commanding:
'' I do not bet thee call''
''Do as I bid''
The way that Shylock said this is in a mean manner which is tough towards Lancelot. In both conditions the vocabulary is monosyllabic which ultimately shows the audience that Shylock feels he has ability over everyone. This is because Shylock is aware that he only must say merely a few words and everyone will value him.
At the end of Action 2 World 5 we see Jessica privately too herself mutter the controversial truth:
''Farewell, if my fortune be not cross'd I've a daddy, you a girl lost''
This is a very contentious phrase in the play. At this time we feel extremely sympathetic for Shylock as he does not know that he is going to lose his daughter. That is extremely drastically ironic. Shakespeare's terms here is purposeful as he has used rhyming couplets for remarkable effect and also to stress the value of these words.
In Act 2 Picture 6 we see a different area of Jessica. Jessica when jogging away is very deceitful and can take all her dad's wealth.
'' Here, catch this casket, it will probably be worth three pains''
This is immensely mental for the audience because hear they are seeing a daughter running abroad and they know that regardless of what has occurred that Shylock will be upset which is upsetting great deal of thought. Furthermore, Jessica is taking all Shylock's riches and money is a large theme of the play, which Shakespeare exploits here.
When Solanio discovers outs that Shylock has lost his child and his profit Act 2 Arena 8 he teases Shylock but not before his face:
''My ducats and my daughter''
The structure of this phrase is very cleverly constructed. Firstly Shakespeare has used alliteration therefore the audience can clearly hear what especially ''daughter'' and ''ducats'' because they are important here. I also noticed when depicting this is the layout of the words and I noticed that the word ''ducats'' is before ''child''. Which means this could infer how he likes his money more than his little princess. The modern-day audience would sympathise with Shylock as he's being mocked behind his backside.
Act 3 Landscape 1 was occur Venice, that was the area of business. Shylock is in the pub by himself, whereas Solanio and Solario are jointly. This increases Shylock's vulnerability as he is alone without friends and companionship is a vital theme of the play.
Salarino says to Shylock how different he is in comparison to his princess:
''Jet and Ivory''
Shakespeare uses an oxymoron to portray the compare between them, which creates images in the audience's heads which some may find funny an others ironic. This might build up pressure between the two personas.
Shylock repeats himself for revenge again an again and has many horrific ideas such as the ''pound of flesh''. Shylock also does not like how there is a major difference between Jews and Christains.
'If you prick us do we not bleed''
Shylock has a great deal of anger in him and has portrayed himself very psychologically. Shylock's speech is within prose which makes it clear and from the heart and soul. He's arguing for common mankind as he feels alienated and susceptible. Here at the end of the conversation I really believe the audience could have been silenced as Shylock details on some hypersensitive topics.
After his speech Shylock becomes intrigued when he hears news that Antonio's ships are sinking, ''I'll torture him''. Torture is a strong word and incredibly horrific, which shows deep need to get revenge on Antonio.
In Work 3 Arena 3, Antonio has been imprisoned. Shylock calls for the image of your dog and transforms it around to the Christians. '' I am dog beware my fangs'', here's proof how bitter Shylock is becoming and they way he would say it would be sarcastic.
Act 4 Landscape 1 is the central and most dramatic area of the play where both Shylock and Antonio settle their variations in a courtroom.
The Duke shows profound emotion for Antonio, he refers to Antonio as ''thee''. The fact that the Duke addresses him as ''thee'', is quite significant as ''thee'' can be used intimately. When Shylock first gets into the room he's being questioned. ''Shylock the planet considers'', this shows the way they want to isolate Shylock.
In the courtroom when Shylock replies he uses quite vengeful and powerful vocabulary and he uses a lot of dialect associated with pets. ''forfeit'', ''sworn'', ''kitten'' and ''rat''. These words are significant because they show his love for revenge. The pet imagery is crude and quite vermin and makes Shylock seem strange in front of the audience.
Antonio becomes emotional, when he has learned the end is near:
''you may as well do anything most hard''
This is a bit of rhetoric stressing the continuing future of his cause. The atmosphere at a hush Shakespeare uses hyperbolic language to express psychological sadness. The actual fact that Antonio is nearing fatality makes the audience feel for him as his life is on the line.
Portia pleads powerfully in her speech and uses two types of images to persuade him spiritual and monarchy. 'God'', ''mercy'' and ''sceptred''. This talk is the turning point and the audience may assess Shylock as a victim or villain based on this speech. This is a powerful monologue for the audience who want salvation. The talk is noble densely filled with images. However a few of the conversation is not reasonable as it is about Christianity, but Shylock is a Jew. Nevertheless, the complete audience would have been taken away by this talk. Shylock's response to the was extremely important. This is why Shakespeare uses unrhymed iambic pentameter to stress the significance of this.
Further on in the Action Shylock is actually excited, that he has bought his own scales to measure the pound of flesh, the audience would see this as quite peculiar and sickening.
When Antonio is free to go, he makes the obtain Shylock to give up his trust as a Jew. The modern audience, who are mainly Religious, would be happy but telling Shylock to improve his trust would appear unfair for some. The last words of Shylock are actually quite heartbreaking
''I pray you give me''
These words suggest that Shylock is a beaten man, he has lost everything and the audience would consider what he did throughout the play and make their own judgements to whether he's a sufferer or villain.