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"Is 'The Merchant of Venice 'a tragedy for Shylock and a comedy for all the other characters? Discuss this statement using detailed reference to the text".

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Introduction

"Is 'The Merchant of Venice 'a tragedy for Shylock and a comedy for all the other characters? Discuss this statement using detailed reference to the text" 'The Merchant of Venice' is a play written by William Shakespeare during medieval time. It is a romantic comedy because there is a successful conclusion. Whilst living in modern time it is easy to relate to them. This gives us a better understanding into life and we can make our own conclusions. Its focus is on the wrongs and rights of usury. Most people, who have reached a level of adulthood, consider themselves worthy of making their own choices. Whether they are right or wrong the saying goes as, 'You learn from your mistakes.' Shakespeare shows us how Shylock is deprived the chance to choose what his destiny should be. Portia uses her intelligence to influence the Duke into stopping Shylock from getting the pound of flesh. She says, 'And lawfully by this the Jew may claim a pound of flesh' (IVi lines224-5) She says this because she wants to make ensure that Shylock gains his confidence. She intentionally wants Shylock to think he is doing the right thing, by asking for his pound of flesh. She continues to beg him for mercy and mislead him. ...read more.

Middle

These descriptions might be correct but they cause Shylock a lot of embarrassment. Salerio and Solanio also mock him behind his back 'As the dog Jew did utter in the streets, My Ducats, O my Ducats, O my Christian ducats.'(II i) During this scene, Jessica and Lancelot have stolen his money. These two men are not shown any sympathy towards Shylock's loss instead, they are laughing at him. He is treated in this manner simply because he is a Jew. This is clearly shown when Antonio's ships sink. They feel sympathy for him. Shylock shows his grief and pain when he says I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions?(IIIi lines46-8) Shylock is showing the audience that he is proud to be Jewish, and the questions that he is addressing to the audience cause them to ponder over what he is saying. This speech shows the human side of him. He proceeds to say: If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian what is his humility. Revenge! (IIIi lines53-4) This justifies his thirst for revenge because his comparison between Christian and Jews has showed that both races are not different. ...read more.

Conclusion

Quote Something about Jessica Shakespeare causes the audience to assume that the main problem between the two men is the usury. When in actual fact there were other socio-economic problems that people in medieval times were facing. A play mainly emphasising wrongs of usury, and encouraging people to continue living in medieval times. To some extent, it shows the world is evolving and turning into a place where everyone believes in doing what is to his or her advantage, instead of following the usual norm. We are under the impression that Shylock is a sympathetic character, when he actually presents a lot of comedy During Shakespeare's time a tragedy was usually classified as a death and a comedy as a happy ending. The play is not a tragedy but a comedy because at the end everyone is happy. Although Shylock looses everything he owns and his right to be a Jew, it is no a tragedy. Although Antonio faces near tragedy, he is not killed and he continues living his life. So the Merchant of Venice is not a tragedy for Shylock because he does not face death. It is a tragedy for him considering that he is left secluded whilst all the other Characters are enjoying themselves. It is a comedy for the other characters because there are two marriages and a father finds his son. These two follow the usual trend in ...read more.

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