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AS and A Level: The Merchant of Venice

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  1. Shylock is solely responsible for the tragedy that unfolds To what extent, do you agree or disagree with this.

    No individual character is to solely blame for the occurrence of tragic events in Shakespeare's tragedy genre plays, such as Merchant of Venice, where numerous characters and conventions of society contribute to the occurrence of a chain of events that leads to tragedy While Bassano is responsible for a portion of the tragedy, Shylock is the key antagonist primarily responsible for the tragedy that unfolds throughout the play and generates an occurrence of chain of tragic events due to his stubbornly wish for retribution, on the basis of the actions of Antonio's friend.

    • Word count: 844
  2. Who contributes more to The Merchant of Venice Shylock or Portia?

    I am a Jew" This listing technique emphasises Shylock's fury and distress. Antonio has clearly gone out of his way to cause Shylock trouble in the past, therefore providing Shylock with many reasons to despise him and seek revenge. The techniques used in this speech allow the audience to feel sympathy towards Shylock, due to the harsh tormenting he has suffered unfairly for reasons in the past. Shylock's vengefulness suddenly becomes apparent when he suggests an obscure bond. "If you repay me not on such a day, in such a place, such sum or sums as are expressed in the condition, let the forfeit be nominated for an equal pound of your fair flesh".

    • Word count: 1512
  3. Antonio and Portia comparison - Scene 1 and 2

    As Portia is rich, Bassanio feels that he cannot arrive at Belmont without money and asks Antonio to lend him some. Bassanio argues that if Antonio were prepared to lend him more money he could use it to repay all of his debt; Bassanio illustrates this with the idea he had as a schoolboy, he would shoot an arrow in the same direction as the one that he had lost to find both. Antonio then explains that although all his "fortunes are at sea" and he had no money or commodities, Bassanio can still go to Venice to try and get "credit" in his name.

    • Word count: 714
  4. My Perception of Portias Portrayal in the Merchant of Venice

    true for the rest of her courtroom performance in which she uses legal language 'Do you confess the bond?', 'And lawfully by this the Jew may claim / A pound of flesh' - she seems to know all about how trials are supposed to run at a time when women had no role in trade, politics or law, and appears much more quick-witted, intelligent and literate in this scene in comparison to her modest description of herself earlier when Bassanio chooses the right casket 'an unlessoned girl, unschooled, un practised...

    • Word count: 1490
  5. The Merchant of Venice

    Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses... If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?" Shylock begins by eloquently reminding the Venetians that all people, even those who are not part of the majority culture, are human. A Jew, he reasons, is equipped with the same faculties as a Christian, and is therefore subject to feeling the same pains, comforts and emotions. Shakespeare's simple use of prose shows the force and real emotions of Shylock's statements. The speech is significant in that it summons a range of emotional reactions to Shylock.

    • Word count: 2084
  6. Analysing Shylock's Dual-Role as Villain and Victim

    villages at once. One of Shakespeare's contemporaries, the playwright Christopher Marlowe, portrayed one of his Jewish characters, Barabbas, as a villainous, well-poisoning murderer. Shakespeare however, presents Shylock as 'a villain of circumstance', he presents Shylock's motivations as well as his transgressions. Typically, Shylock is an traditional Jew-character, a Jew attacking a Christian. Untypically, the Christian attacked first with his spitting and kicking.A modern audience would most likely blanche at the blatant racism in 'The Merchant Of Venice', but in Elizabethan England, 'Jew' was a word associated with 'criminal' and 'murderer' and so they would be treated as a criminal or murderer was treated.

    • Word count: 1535
  7. Discuss the presentation of the Christians in 'The Merchant of Venice'

    However, as we see more of them throughout the play their true beliefs become very apparent. Even if they do not state bluntly their opinions towards Jews they express their hatred and prejudice in the language they use. For example, when talking about Shylock, they call him names such as "villain Jew" and "dog". This is especially insulting to people of the Jewish religion and although he is not present at the time they still describe him as this, showing how it is buried within their mind how much they dislike the Jews and it is as though they naturally insult them even when it is not required or will cause them direct insult.

    • Word count: 1593
  8. An Exploration of the character Shylock in The Merchant of Venice

    Through the research of Professor C J Sisson and Dr Roth it can now be "definitely stated that Jews did live in London at this time...and retained certain elements of their ancient worship and way of life." Historically it must also be noted that during the years Shakespeare was writing "The Merchant of Venice" England was in a period of great anti-Semitism. Events such as the attempted assassination of Queen Elizabeth by the Jewish Physician Rodrigo Lopez in 1594 fuelled the extremely anti Jewish feeling that existed during these years.

    • Word count: 2596
  9. Compare and Contrast life as we know it in Belmont, with life in Venice.

    It is very fitting that Portia lives in Belmont, rather than Venice, because she seems to be the type who would prefer the quietness of the countryside, this also reflects her mind also, the calm collected way she acts, compared with the hot - headedness of some of Venice`s merchants. The similarities between Belmont and Venice are quite startling in some instances, because people have differring views on the word beautiful -

    • Word count: 550
  10. Show how Shakespeare employs tensions and oppositions to present conflicting principals and prejudices of the time.

    However, bitterness and hatred are evident: Gratiano's reviling of Shylock; Shylock's coldness towards his daughter and hatred of Antonio. Shylock sees himself as a victim of prejudice and maintains himself with his own aggression. The play is renowned for the bitter conflict between Jews and Christians. It appears that the main difference between the Christian characters and Shylock is that the Christian characters value human relationships over business ones, whereas Shylock is only interested in money (. Merchants like Antonio lend money free of interest, and put themselves at risk for those they love, whereas Shylock agonizes over the loss of his money and once ran through the streets crying, "O, my ducats!

    • Word count: 1689
  11. Merchant of Venice - Do you sympathise with Shylock? Consider the presentation of his character and the way he is treated by Venetian Society.

    He never attended a college and later became an actor in London at the age of 22. Shakespeare's most major accomplishes were Romeo and Juliet (1594-95), Julius Caesar (1599), Hamlet (1600), Macbeth (1605-06) and of course the 36 plays, 154 sonnets and 2 narrative poems that he wrote. Shakespeare owned the Globe Theatre in London; he was the most popular writer of his own age. Many people consider him to be the most gifted writer of all time and many of his phrases have been entered into the English Language. In this essay we are going to look at one of Shakespeare's most popular plays; The Merchant of Venice which was written between 1594 and 1596 in the Elizabethan Period.

    • Word count: 634
  12. Compare and contrast the different worlds and different values of Venice and Belmont as presented in Act 1 of 'The Merchant of Venice'

    Even when attempting to cheer Antonio up, Salarino uses this as a chance to show off his wit and intelligence. This compares to the simpler but still humorous language used by the women in Belmont and suggest that perhaps it is not possible to be as open in Venice as in Belmont. 'I will do anything, Nerissa, ere I will be married to a sponge' The merchants are more concerned with appearing successful then discussing their real feelings. A different interpretation of this is that as the first scene contains only men they are attempting to show off, as opposed to the women in Belmont who are happier to talk openly together.

    • Word count: 1260

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