William Shakespeare • TMV referred to as an ‘excellent Historie’ • It deals with real or invented events in such a way that its moral lessons are effectively delivered.
Setting • New social class is emerging • Merchant adventurers—entrepreneurs • Mutual contempt exists between Antonio and Shylock (hypocrites) • Minor suitors demonstrate the tendency to despise foreigners
Contrast the two settings Gold Sunlight Business and commerce Reality Law/Courthouse Silver Moonlight Romance Promises
Shakespearian Soap Opera • The Bond to Shylock (securing money for Bassanio to Woe Portia) • The Caskets (inability to choose) • The elopement of Jessica and Lorenzo • The trial (concludes the bond plot) • The rings (a humorous test of faith)
The Caskets Deserve Desire Hazard
Choose • The will binding Portia • Why is she melancholy • Characterize Portia
Portia • Famous Shakespearian Heroine • Intelligent, witty • Independent • Submits herself to Bassanio with the assurance that she has his equal love and respect
Dramatic Irony and Suspense • Keys to Jessica • Rings • Lawyers • Caskets • Moroccan • Arragon • The trial
Elopement of JessicaStealing a Wife How would the audience view Jessica taking her father’s money?
Alack, what heinous sin is it in meTo be asham'd to be my father's child! How would the audience view Jessica taking her father’s money? How does Shylock react?
Portia’s Legal Argument • Appeal to mercy • Appeal to his interest in money • Sides with Shylock because it is the law • Venice Laws must be honored
“…teach us all to render the deeds of mercy.” The quality of mercy is not strained.It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven…It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings;It is an attribute to God himself,And earthly power doth then show likest God’sWhen mercy seasons justice. (IV.i.179–197)
Springs trap as he… • Only can take one pound of flesh • No blood (symbolic) • Questions if he has a scale and a surgeon on hand…
What law has Shylock broken? • Can not plot to kill a citizen of Venice • If so penalty is death • Antonio shows mercy… • Audience of Shakespeare would believe that they saved him from damnation • Modern audiences see this as a force conversion, persecution, breach of individual rights.
The Merchant of Venice is one of Shakespeare’s most difficult works to perform. What were your reasons for doing it? • Al Pacino: …I was able to see the elements of the character, the human elements, and I started understanding the motivation and that was the point for me.
Is Shylock a sympathetic figure? He demands a pound of flesh from Antonio, but is he only reacting to the anti-Semitism he faced. Al Pacino: Yeah, I think so. But his tragedy is also how he dealt with his conditions.
Romantic Comedy Fifth Act reestablishes the comedy of the play with the witty, clever ring plot
Friendship and Marriage • How is the ring scene ironic? • What language does he use to make it humorous? • Is this a fair test? • How would the audience react?
Theme: Those who show mercy receive mercy Shylock loses $ and Antonio gave loans gratis received mercy Friendship and love is stronger than anything Bassanio risked all Bassanio returned to Antonio to help Jessica loved Lorenzo enough to leave Gratiano’s friendship stronger than love for Nerissa
Modern Interpretation and Allusions • Humor • Movies • Noted monologues