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Merchant of Venice by Maurycy Gottlieb
No, it's The Merchant of Venice. A play that will make you writhe in discomfort even while you laugh, snicker even while you get weepy, contemplate the evilness of men even while feeling kinda warm and fuzzy inside when they do the right thing, root on one of the fiercest heroines in all of drama... and, because this is Shakespeare, gawp in amazement at the language acrobatics, wit, and poetry of this dang masterful play.
Earle Hyman, (1926- 2011), Shakespearean actor, played the role of the Prince of Morocco in the Merchant of Venice early on in his career. Now best known as Grandpa Russell “Slide” Huxtable on “what was known as The Cosby Show.” Before becoming a member of the Cosby cast he was a member of a Norwegian sitcom and appeared on stage in Shakespearean roles in Norway. Like his predecessors he experienced discrimination and rejection for Shakespearean roles here in the United States. Mr. Hyman joins a long and distinguished roster of African American actors who, going back as far as the 1820’s, met the challenge of a society that had consistently denied actors to play leading roles and found greater opportunities in other countries.
SparkNotes: The Merchant of Venice: Themes, Motifs & Symbols
Officially, The Merchant of Venice is a comedy. A comedy about a bitter and detested Jewish moneylender (Shylock) who seeks revenge against a Christian merchant who has defaulted on a loan.
The Merchant of Venice was probably written as early as 1596 or as late as 1598. It is classified as an early Shakespearean comedy and as one of the Bard's “problem” plays. The play addresses issues of prejudice against “the other.” Great symbolism is included in which good triumphs over evil, however other serious themes are examined and some remain unresolved. The Merchant of Venice is filled with ambiguity; between what one says and who one is. Some feel that Shakespeare wove together two ancient folk tales; one involving a vengeful, greedy creditor trying to literally exact a pound of flesh, and the other a trial for marriage suitors.
The Merchant of Venice - Wikipedia
Shakespeare, with his pulse on the popular interest, presented The Merchant of Venice around 1597, hot on the heels of the Lopez trial. What's interesting about Shakespeare's Jewish merchant, Shylock, is that—depending on how you read the story—he is not a caricature of all things evil.
There are three suiters involved in three interrelated plots. They emphasize the racial prejudice of Venice. The suitors are Prince of Morocco, Prince of Arragon and Bassiano. They each must interpret the riddle “who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.” The dominant theme is complex in The Merchant of Venice. It is much more universal than specific religious or racial hatred; it centers on the polarity between the surface attractiveness of gold and the intrinsic and religious values such as mercy and compassion that should stir the soul of man. The play is also filled with many beautiful quotes. "The quality of mercy is not strained;" is one such quote stated by Portia as she alerts the audience to what is at issue.
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SparkNotes: The Merchant of Venice: Quiz
Or are you feeling like it might be a tragedy? And, given the amount of (insanely bigoted and shameful) history that needs to be covered in order for you to get the gist of The Merchant of Venice, maybe we should refer to this bad boy as a history?
Topics and Prompts for Your Merchant of Venice Essay
Portia is an orphaned Venetian woman of high birth. She is bound by the results of the trial set forth in her father's will, which gives potential suitors the chance to choose between three caskets composed of gold, silver and lead. If they choose the right casket – the casket containing what her father’s has stipulated all suitors will undergo a test of character. The contents are not disclosed except for a riddle. We come to find out that gold meaning pride, silver signifying vanity, and lead indicating humility. Portia is partial to Bassiano, a young Venetian noble but cannot provide clues to indicate her choice. Portia obeys her father’s instructions and she develops a strategy to let him know of her choice that does not break the guidelines established by her father. Portia delivers one of the most famous speeches of the play.
Major Themes for Merchant of Venice Essays.
Closely related to the theme of prejudice and intolerance is the theme of humanity—and the inhumanity of which various characters accuse one another. In insulting and abusing , the Venetians frequently denigrate him as an animal or devil. Shylock, in turn, seeks to reduce his debtor to the status of an animal whose body can be bought or sold. In the courtroom scene, he justifies his purchasing of a pound of Antonio's flesh…
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