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

The merchant of Venice

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The shifts of tension between Shylock and Antonio, are the most prominent dramatic devices in IV.1 in terms of reflecting issues. Shylock, is treated as an outsider in Venice along with all other Jews, he was an "alien". Physically Jews were separated from Christians in Venice, they were grouped in an outside part of Venice. For identification, and some would argue degradation, Jews were made to wear red hats. This oppression by Christians upon Jews creates tension between Shylock and Christians of Venice. When Bassanio requested 3000 ducats on behalf of Antonio, Shylock proclaimed "I hate him (Antonio) for he is a Christian".(I.3 34) he also explained his personal hate for Antonio was because "he lends out money gratis, and brings down the rate of usance here with us in Venice".(I.3 36) As the only occupation Jews could fulfil was usury, because of the Christian teachings against such acts, Antonio was putting Jews out of Business. The relationship between Shylock and Antonio in the play demonstrates the divide between Christianity and Judaism in the time of Ancient Venice. It is argued by some that the play is a reversal of the Crucifixion of Jesus, this time a Jew persecuting a Christian. It is clear that Jews were not well treated in these times and, through Shylocks long life up to an elderly man he has been made gradually bitter by Christians. ...read more.

Middle

Shakespeare offers an exploration of this friendship in act IV.1, when Shylock tries to take Antonio's life. He makes an enormous self-sacrifice for Bassanio and treat others with contempt. The loyalty of friendship is tested when Balthazar requests "and for your love I'll take this ring from you" (IV.1 423) Bassanio initially refuses as "this ring was given to me (Bassanio) by my (Bassanio's) wife" (IV.1 437) as Portia stated the loss of it "shall presage the ruin of your love". (V.2 173) However the ease in which he bestowed his ring to Balthazar at Antonio's request demonstrates the loyalty to his friend is more important than a vow to his wife. The different strengths of family bond are key to characters personality in the Merchant of Venice. Shylocks daughter Jessica leaves her father for a Christian, this demonstrates the build up of how Shylock feels he has been repeatedly insulted by Christians. This individual issue reaches a climax in the play when Shylock is ordered that "of all he dies possessed/ Unto his son Lorenzo and his daughter" (IV.1 356). Portia's compliance with her courting being "curbed by the will of a dead father" (I.1 21) shows her family loyalty. It demonstrates the importance she puts on a promise to a relative or loved one, or how she made Bassanio promise that when the ring leaves his finger "o then be bold to say Bassanio's dead!" ...read more.

Conclusion

is lost, his "lands and goods are by the laws of Venice confiscate (IV.1 307)". Furthermore if the weight of flesh removed is "less or more" than a pound, "in the estimation of a hair, Thou (Shylock) diest, and all thy goods are confiscate (IV.1 227-228)". Even though Portia's obvious intellect saves Antonio, she was only allowed into the courtroom disguised as a man, this demonstrates that men are still superior, whether it is right or wrong, in Venice. At the end of the trial when it is revealed Portia and Nerrisa were the lawyer and lawyers clerk, therefore revealing that Bassanio and Gratiano gave their rings to their wives, are not irate as Portia earlier stated that the loss of Bassanio's ring "shall presage the ruin of your love(V.2 173)". They are subservient to them, the only consequence is some good-humoured teasing ***. This, again demonstrates that ultimately men govern the women of Venice. Even in the performance of the MOV, the female parts would be played by pre-pubescent boys. The main issue in the merchant of Venice is equality, against common misconception Shakespeare gives the characters that would usually be portrayed as weak, strong lines ?? ?? ?? ?? How do Dramatic Devices Relating to Language and Stagecraft in Act IV scene 1 reflect issues and tensions throughout the play 8/3/06 Oliver Hiam - 1 - ...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. Background to the "Merchant of Venice."

    We can now see that it's not just a pound of flesh they are talking about- they were talking about Antonio's life! There isn't a way Shylock could remove a pound of flesh without killing Antonio. So this is a much more serious case than it first looks to be

  2. The Merchant Of Venice

    When Shylock says the lines "I would my daughter were dead at my foot, and the jewels in her ear." and "I'll plague him. I'll torture him." an Elizabethan audience would definitely be disgusted by what Shylock wants and plans to do to Antonio.

  1. How important are bonds and promises in ‘The Merchant of Venice’?

    Bassanio is reluctant to grant this want so Portia leaves; knowing that Bassanio has done right. Through when he has left the scene, Antonio gains success in persuading Bassanio to bestow the ring to the lawyer and Bassanio ruches off to do so.

  2. Feelings and opinions concerning different characters from the play 'The Merchant of Venice'.

    Her casual use of Shylock's money, as reported by Tubal, infuriates Shylock and could make us see Jessica as irresponsible and careless. Throughout these scenes, Shylock's prime concern seems to be for himself only. "I would my daughter were dead at my foot, and the jewels in her ear".

  1. Analysis of Act IV scene 1, in three different versions of The Merchant Of ...

    was not only pro-Jewish but more globally in support of oppressed minorities in general. The climax of Shylock's claim is spoken with great force and evokes some sympathy finally when he alludes to how the pound of flesh "is dearly bought".

  2. Merchant of Venice

    Portia is expressing that she would rather he hated her than loved her, because she couldn't cope with this man loving her. This way in which Portia ridicules her suitors shows that she is not timid and does not follow the traditional view of the time that woman should appear less important than men.

  1. Why does Bassanio choose correctly?

    How far do you support this view? What other ways are there to understand the structure of the play? Throughout the play, Shakespeare presents Shylock as an outsider, in terms of religious morals and beliefs. The only other Jews are Jessica and Tubal, and both are presented negatively by Shakespeare

  2. English - Merchant of Vencice

    left feeling compassion toward Antonio; they are aware that all of his money is placed at sea and that he is risking quite a lot to help his friend. They know that Antonio is a merchant and thus quite wealthy, for him to take out a loan would be quite rare.

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