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

Discuss Shakespeare's portrayal of the Trial scene in "The Merchant of Venice".

Extracts from this document...


Discuss Shakespeare's portrayal of the Trial scene in "The Merchant of Venice" "The Merchant of Venice" is a play based around the conflicts of religion and of justice and morality. It relates fundamentally to specifically Jews in a Christian society. Jews have been segregated from society and massacred throughout the centuries, but in Shakespeare's day as long as they outwardly conformed to Christianity no particular hostility was shown to them. Many were in fact forced to convert to Christianity as the Christians saw this as merciful. The Merchant of Venice shows how hard it was for a Jew to make a good life for himself and be respected. Even the title shows how much prejudice there was at the time. The play is based around Shylock (a Jew) and yet it is named after Antonio (a Christian), who doesn't play as big a part as Shylock. This is most likely because people wouldn't want to see a play about a Jew; they weren't seen as important enough. However, plays about Jews were becoming popular, as Marlowe had written a play called "The Jew of Malta" which dealt with stereotypical views of Jews - hooked nose etc. It shows a Jew (Barabas) as being thoroughly evil, but Shakespeare doesn't really treat on that idea. He shows us how Shylock is a human being who had himself been wronged. In Shakespeare's time what Shylock was doing (lending money) ...read more.


(I,3.105) You still believe that he is bitter and wants revenge, "The villany you teach me I will execute and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction" (III,1.58). I do believe that the audience increasingly feel sorry for Shylock as he has been badly treated by Christians and he reminds us that we care all the same, "Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same mean, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is?" (III,1.49). Therefore the audience can also contrive that Shylock is highly intelligent and they may even come to understand why his jewels are more important than his daughter as it obviously has been an unimaginable struggle to get to the successful business man he has become. His religion is also shown to be a major part of his life as he refers to the Torah often when speaking, "when Jacob graced his uncle, Labari's sheep - This Jacob from our tidy Abraham was, As his wise mother wrought in his behalf,...(I,3.65). In a way Shakespeare shows him as a stereotypical Jew - greedy, manipulative, and two-faced, but he also introduces (a new way of thinking) of Jews by showing the victimised side, whereas other plays at the time always included the selfish side of the Jews. ...read more.


He has distinguished lower rank characters by making them speak in prose. So that the audience do not get bored of the repetitive speech he has added suspensory pauses to vary expression. Shakespeare communicates the portrayal of the characters and situations through the language. Shylock is revealed by soliloquy and in dialogue; Portia and Antonio are revealed by the descriptions of others as well as in dialogue. Bassanio reveals himself almost entirely in dialogue. It had long been established that character and motives were announced directly. The audience is not left to guess what is going on in a character's mind. This device links actors and the audience intimately. The spectators shared in the play, they had a god-like knowledge of the hearts of the characters, and the two things increase their feelings of tension and suspense and the moments of dramatic irony. The impact of dialogue was enhanced by its traditional verse form; it gives the major characters an impressive grandeur, a larger than life status. In Shakespeare's plays its range power and flexibility are truly astounding, and he contrasts it from time to time with passages of prose almost as varied in style and form. Couplets can import a sense of finality, of steps taken from which there can be no turning back. Couplets of shorter lines however are often mocking jingles, "Ciration - thanks i'faith, for silence is only commendable In a newt's tongue dried, and a maid not verdible," (I,1.111) ...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. The Merchant of Venice - how does the use of language style and structure ...

    In a Venetian court of justice, the accused is standing with the accuser seated, not the reverse. This gives the impression that Shylock is the one on trial when in fact it is Antonio. The section of this scene is the point that tells the audience what this trial scene is about.

  2. How just is the outcome of the trial scene for Shylock in the Merchant ...

    By being merciless, not only does he suffer once again at the hands of his enemy but also at the hands of the law that he always referred to in this scene. The law that was once Shylock's only way in giving him justice, revenge and also long term profit was also the law that proved to be him downfall.

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

    This is ironic as Portia his wife is in the same room and has come all this way to help Bassanio's friend without knowing much about him. But has done it as an act of love to Bassanio and he's saying he would give it all up for Antonio which is amusing and adds humour.

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

    By calling him 'Jew' it conveys the little respect the Christians in the court have for him and emphasises that he is completely alone. He is structured into a sympathetic character as he is completely isolated and he has no one to support him in the trial and therefore it

  1. Is the Merchant of Venice more than just a play about money lending? Discuss. ...

    However 'The Merchant of Venice' is a different comedy that challenges the audience in ways that no other Shakespearean comedy does. This is why it can be seen as a dark comedy or a problem play.

  2. How Just is the outcome of the Trial Scene in Shakespeare's "The Merchant of ...

    force a massive amount of pain and suffering upon another human being which could even lead to death. Shylock's pure hatred and desperation for revenge after years of torment and anti-Semitism from Antonio has fired up this desire to exact as much suffering and humiliation as possible back to him - his seething bitterness is very de-humanising.

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

    Now Antonio repeats the same mistake made by Bassanio, thinking that Shylock is being "kind" when he agrees to loan the money without interest. Antonio states "The Hebrew will turn Christian; he grows kind" (1.3.174). Antonio is so convinced that he will be able to repay his debts that Shylock's

  2. How does Shakespeare make the trial scene dramatic?

    Bassanio is Antonio?s good friend and this shown: ?Bassanio produces money, here is six.? Bassanio has borrowed money from Antonio in the past and Antonio owes Shylock three thousand ducats. In the film, Bassanio opens his treasure chest of six thousand ducats.

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