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

Shakespeare's "The merchant of Venice". How can an audience's sympathies towards the characters in act 4, scene 1 be radically different according to the interpretation of a director?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Shakespeare's "The merchant of Venice" How can an audience's sympathies towards the characters in act 4, scene 1 be radically different according to the interpretation of a director? Racism, feminism, power, religion, justice and mercy; Shakespeare's complex moralistic notions fill an eventful and crucial scene in the play-"The Merchant of Venice". The first scene of the fourth act completes the separate storylines and brings them all to an end, producing a scene with immense impact and a frenzy of morals. However the audience's perception of the characters can only be determined by the director's analysis of the flexible personas and judgments the characters possess. I think that the play, scene one act four especially, has a wide range of possibilities for different styles of acting and the director's opinion will have changed a lot since Shakespeare's time. As we have evolved, we have become more aware of feminism, justice and racial issues, the modern view on social equality has matured a great deal, which means that the director of today would probably play the characters' actions to be less racist then would be accepted for Shakespeare's audience, but did Shakespeare intend for the play to be interpreted as a moralistic piece which was trying ...read more.

Middle

Antonio tells the court room to let Shylock win and to take his pound of flesh because he is worthless and useless to anyone. I think that Antonio at this point seems very depressive and weak; he is willing to die for a friend as he was willing to give his money. "You cannot better employed Bassanio, Than to live still and right mine epitaph." Shakespeare's interpretation of Antonio at this point seems to be as though he wrote Antonio as the victim of the play and is trying to influence feelings of sympathy from the audience, But as we see later on in the play, Shakespeare's complex morals round off the play with an interesting twist of roles. I see Shylock and Antonio in this scene as two children playing on a see-saw: At the beginning of the scene Shylock puts Antonio on the see-saw and sits on it himself. When Shylock rises on the see-saw, Antonio falls, and when Antonio rises, Shylock falls. When Shylock is feeling extremely powerful and full of glory, he is pushed off the see-saw by Portia and Antonio now rises higher than Shylock and kicks him while he's down. ...read more.

Conclusion

I think the lack of importance of the law in this scene shows that Venice is a very prejudiced town, the minority are frowned upon immorally, and I think that Shakespeare was trying to establish this to his audience; he was, in a way mocking the system in which Venice lived by in his times. In my opinion Shakespeare sympathises with everyone in this scene: Shylock "the Jew" by giving him some sympathy from the audience, Antonio for giving such a weak character a moment of power and control, and Portia for giving her the chance to shine as a women and outdo her husband. Shakespeare shows us evidence of the Christian's lack of mercy towards Shylock, even when he is on his knees and begging for his life, but we also see Shylock's merciless and eagerness for blood and revenge against Antonio. I think Shakespeare is trying to show his audience how vicious people can be no matter what religion, and that we are all equal no matter what religion or sex we are. Racism, feminism, power, religion, justice and mercy. Shakespeare teaches his audience a lesson in all of these years ago, and we can still learn from them today, as the characters direction is left open for development as the years go on. BY AMALIE SILVANI-JONES ...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. Merchant Of Venice - How is Act 4 Scene 1 dramatically effective?

    The relationship between Bassanio and Antonio is purely based on friendship. Bassanio offers huge amounts of money because he feels partly responsible; he is even willing to sacrifice himself and is prepared to sacrifice his wife and the entire world.

  2. Act 4 Scene 1 - Merchant of Venice - Mercy and Justice

    In the video I felt more sympathy for Shylock especially in Act 3 Scene 1 when Shylock makes a powerful and emotive speech- "Hath a Jew not eyes... if you prick us do we not bleed." This stresses the humanity that lies beneath the exterior of Shylock's evil and malice character.

  1. ACt 4 scene 1 of The Merchant Of Venice

    his side but when Portia sees that her warning to Shylock is being ignored, she continues to explain justice to everyone in the courtroom, whether or not they agree with it. Portia awards the consequences of the deed to Shylock, despite Bassanio's plea to "do a little wrong" in overturning Venetian law.

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

    This tells us that Shylock is at about the same level as animals in the order of being, giving the audience little respect for him. However, a modern audience may not see this link as they do not have the same ideas as the Elizabethans on the order of being.

  1. 'How does Shakespeare present Shylock to the audience as both a stereotype and a ...

    I don't think this is portrayed in the play, but I think this could be a hidden meaning. When Shylock eventually hears about the turquoise ring he is enraged, because Leah, his wife gave him that ring when he was single.

  2. To what extent does Shakespeare intend the audience to sympathize with Shylock in the ...

    When Shylock first takes sight of Antonio, Antonio does not acknowledge Shylock, who speaks openly to the audience but not to his enemy. At each point of Shylock's rapidly changing character, a Christian audience may not sympathize with him, as his plot to "catch" a Christian comes out.

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

    politically correct nations of the world, particularly the more developed countries of the Western world. However, similarities are apparent between the treatment of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice and the treatment of certain present day communities and individuals worldwide.

  2. 'Is, 'The Merchant of Venice' a racist play? Discuss'.

    The reason the case turned around was because in the bond it was never stated that Shylock was allowed to spill a single drop of blood in cutting the pound of flesh from his nemesis, Antonio. In finding this there was no way Shylock could continue with the bond and

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