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exploring the various forms of love displayed in Shakespeares Merchant of Venice

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Introduction

AN ESSAY EXPLORING THE VARIOUS FORMS OF LOVE DISPLAYED IN SHAKESPEARE'S 'MERCHANT OF VENICE' In this essay I will attempt to explore the many different forms of love that exist in Shakespeare's 'The Merchant Of Venice'. Within this play there are many complex relationships between the characters, and they all, in my opinion, are based and formed on love. I believe the finest example of love within the play is the love between Bassanio and Portia. Both parties explicitly love each other spiritually and physically. Bassanio's first reference to Portia uses highly poetic language, indicating that he thinks very highly of her. ' In Belmont is a lady richly left, And she is fair, and, fairer than that word, Of wondrous virtues.' This poetic language is in contrast to the language used between Solerio, Salanio and Gratiano previously in the scene. E.g.when confronting Antonio about his sadness Gratiano says; 'If they should speak, would almost damn those ears Which, hearing them, would call their brothers fools." The language Gratiano uses is humorous and typically 'ladish' of the language used in Venice. In contrast the language used in Belmont is poetic and loving. This change in language is used by Shakespeare to help the audience to distinguish between the two settings of the play. It also shows the audience how highly Bassanio thinks of Portia. However there is some doubt at this stage in the play as to Bassanios motives. These are caused by the very first line he says when describing Portia; 'In Belmont is a lady richly left'. ...read more.

Middle

The theme of deception plays an important part in the relationship between Jessica and Lorenzo. Jessica deceives her father, Shylock, when he leaves her in charge of the house while he goes to feast with Bassanio. Lancelot the servant informs Jessica that Lorenzo will meet her after Shylock has left, behind Shylock's back. But when Shylock asks her what Lancelot said, she replies; 'His words were, 'farewell, mistress'; nothing else.' Her willingness to lie and deceive her father shows how much she hates him, and also how glad she is to elope with Lorenzo. There is yet more deceit involved when Jessica dresses as a boy so that she can leave with Lorenzo without being noticed. This also incorporates the theme of appearance verses reality. Again this shows how much she wants to escape from her father, and how devoted she is to Lorenzo. The love between Jessica and Lorenzo involves intrigue and adventure. The audience are quite surprised when the two elope together as it happens in a relatively short period of time, their relationship is exciting and captivates the audience, as their is uncertainty as to if they will get away with stealing Shylock's wealth, and whether they will be happy together. Fortunately for them, Jessica and Lorenzo's relationship results in them both finding true happiness with each other. This is demonstrated in act 5 scene 1; (Jessica) ' On such a night did young Lorenzo swear he love'd her well, Stealing her soul with many vows of faith, And ne'er a true one.' ...read more.

Conclusion

They don't seem to dislike each other but Lancelot uses his father's disability to amuse himself, which makes us feel sorry for Gobbo. However, this is not a serious scene and we see Lancelot as one of the fun and humorous characters of the play. Lancelot and Gobbo do seem to have a bond with each other and this is obvious when Gobbo finds out about his son tricking him. The bond between Portia and her father is also quite strong. Her father seemed to only want the best for her, even though this meant that she could not choose her own husband. However, fortunately for her the suitor she wishes to wed (Bassanio) chooses the correct casket. This shows that perhaps Portia and her father where very similar in the way they thought, and judged people. Throughout 'The Merchant Of Venice' there are many relationships that grow and develop around the theme of love. In the final scene of the play, all three couples are together (Bassanio and Portia, Lorenzo and Jessica, Grattiano and Nerrisa) standing in the moonlight in Belmont, creating an extremely romantic mood. The only character present who does not have a partner is Antonio. I think this is ironic because Antonio, in my opinion, held the strongest love (for Bassanio) throughout the play. It may seem unfair that he is alone, but I don't think he is without love. After all it was because of Bassanios love for him that Portia came to save his life. From this I have come to the conclusion that within the play love conquers all. ...read more.

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