• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

ACt 4 scene 1 of The Merchant Of Venice

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

3/11/09 The Merchant of Venice - Act IV, Scene 1. Act IV, scene 1 of The Merchant of Venice not only is the pivotal point of the play but also summarises all of its major themes. In this scene, the subjects of racism and justice combine to create the play's final results and to emphasize the points made through previous scenes. Shakespeare has purposely filled this scene with dramatic impact and has brilliantly used technique and language in using the characters present: Bassanio, the dear friend of Antonio (the successful and honourable man), the love of Portia (the wealthy heiress) and lastly, one of the most well known characters for his drama and the issues he arises is the angered money lending Jew Shylock. This scene is the most important part in context compared to the whole play, with the clashing emotions and beliefs used. The matter of the "bond" reaches its engrossing crisis and its enervating resolution: Shylock is defeated, Antonio is saved, and the lovers are free to return to Belmont; therefore, Shakespeare gives us the happy ending which a romantic comedy needs. To begin with, in the introductory speeches by the duke and Antonio, we are reminded of the conflicting positions of the two. The Duke of Venice himself calls Shylock "an inhuman wretch, Uncapable of pity," and Antonio characterizes himself as lost - "no lawful means" can save him. ...read more.

Middle

However, in my opinion the character who is most vocal in his racism against Shylock is Gratiano. This is because of his anger and bitterness at Shylock's lack of mercy, Gratiano insults Shylock several times, from "harsh Jew" to "inexecrable dog." He also extends Antonio's comparison between Shylock and a wolf: "Thy currish spirit, Govern'd a wolf...for thy desires, Are wolvish, bloody, starv'd, and ravenous" which causes dramatic thoughts and images of the audience, images of a bloodthirsty monster that will stop at nothing short of murder because of his anger and racism, Gratiano is the only person in the courtroom who urges both the duke and Antonio to have Shylock put to death immediately once the scene is resolved. Likewise to what I mentioned earlier in that the issues brought up in earlier scenes emphasize the points made through previous scenes is completely true because in Act I, scene 3, Shylock has racist opinions as well. We know that from his first entrance into the play, Shylock hates Antonio because he is a Christian, a point which helps to encourage Shylock to revenge. However, mentioning this in court would not be beneficial to Shylock in his suit, which is the reason that he never expresses his racist opinions. Even so, these opinions matter very much in the scene. ...read more.

Conclusion

For half thy wealth, it is Antonio's; The other half comes to the general state, Which humbleness may drive unto a fine The duke pardons Shylock even though Shylock has not asked for his mercy because he has learned Portia's lesson about the importance of mercy. Antonio, however, does not show mercy to Shylock, but instead to his daughter Jessica and her husband Lorenzo. Instead of keeping his half of Shylock's property, he gives it to Lorenzo. He also asks the court to make Shylock convert to Christianity. Antonio, then, does punish Shylock for his disbelief and hateful actions, but does so in a way that assists Jessica and Lorenzo and furthers the Christian theme of the play. The merchant Of Venice is one of Shakespeare's best. Yet the dramatic high point of Act IV scene 1 makes it what it is, one of the most memorable of Shakespeare's work that will never leave you. This is all due to Shakespeare's brilliant writing skills some of which involving the techniques of imagery and dramatic devises but of course most importantly it is all due to the powerful plot which focuses on the feelings of discrimination, righteousness and conflict that not only run a major role in this scene, but in the whole play. Not only run a major role in the Shakespearian time, but in this modern day. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE The Merchant of Venice section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE The Merchant of Venice essays

  1. What is your assessment of the presentation of the character and role of Shylock ...

    To them this would have been seen as a great thing for her to do, saving her from a damned race, and so no-one would have been thinking or caring about Shylock, in fact they mock him, surely mocking his voice and tone of his words as well.

  2. How does Shakespeare create tension in the trial scene of The Merchant of Venice?

    to how he wants his pound of flesh from Antonio and it is apparent that he feels it is only fair that he is to be given it as he tries to make his claim seem less irrational. This would make the audience question whether the treatment of slaves is

  1. The Merchant of Venice is a racist play - Discuss

    bad just because he is a Christian, Shylock says, "How like a fawning publican he looks! I hate him because he is Christian" Shylock is stereotyping Antonio just because he is Christian and even though Shylock thinks he is the one who is on the receiving end of racism he is also giving it out.

  2. Act 4 Scene 1 is the dramatic climax to the play. Analyse how Shakespeare ...

    Antonio is brought before the Duke to stand trial for failing to pay off his debt to Shylock so he now must give a pound of his flesh to Shylock like said in the bond. The Duke is biassed towards Antonio even though he's meant to be impartial, but can't

  1. How Does Shakespeare Influence Audience Opinion Of Shylock in 'The Merchant Of Venice'.

    Then Shylock decides that he would like to just take the money but Portia says that he has already turned them down so he should have nothing but a penalty. Compared to his behaviour and attitude at the beginning of the scene Shylock now becomes more apologetic and begging.

  2. The Merchant of Venice- Act IV Scene I - Summary

    She allows Shylock to approach Antonio with his knife with surprising lack of emotion to the audience who at this point still are unaware of the flaw in the bond that will save Antonio's life. This adds to the tension in the scene.

  1. Merchant of Venice- Scene by Scene summary & analysis

    request for a pound of his flesh as collateral strikes him as a joke, and therefore is not taken at all seriously. Shylock's willingness to waive the interest payment brings to light an entirely new set of conflicts within the play.

  2. Explore the conflicting responses, which the character of Shylock provokes in the audience. How ...

    She also suggests that her father is ruthless and stubborn. She tells the other characters that Shylock: 'would rather have Antonio's flesh than twenty times the value of the sum that he did owe him'. This shows Shylock to be particularly unreasonable.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work