The following sample essay on “Shakespeare Play Merchant Of Venice” highlights the up-to-date issues and questions of Shakespeare Play Merchant Of Venice. The question is raised what impact this work has on the audience.
The plot of the story is that the merchant of Venice (Antonio) borrows money from a Jewish moneylender (Shylock) and Antonio has to pay the money back to shylock within three months otherwise Shylock can take a pound of flesh from Antonio’s body.
There is a daughter (Portia) with a rich father and when the father died he left all the money to the person that marries his daughter, but you can’t marry his daughter just like that, you have to choose a chest out of the choice of three but you have to choose the right one.
I am doing my coursework on Bassanio; He is a Best friend of Antonio and he goes to Belmont on the search for love and wealth and tries to choose the correct chest and marry Portia e.
g. Portia says ‘ You must take your chance and attempt to choose at all, or swear before you choose, if you choose wrong, never to speak to lady afterward in a way of marriage: This means that she cant choose who she marries, she has to wait and see who chooses the right box, then she has to marry them.
Act 4 Scene 1
This scene is the court scene where Shylock has taken Antonio to court because Antonio could not pay back the three thousand ducats that Shylock had lent him.
Antonio oldest and best friend has chosen the right chest and married Portia, then he heard that his best friend was about to die, so he told Portia to stay in a nunnery until he gets back and he rushes off to Venice to see if he can convince Shylock to forget about his bond and not take a pound of his flesh.
Portia wants to go with him so she secretly goes to Venice with her maid and they pretended to be the lawyer and the doctor. They both dress as men and they try and save Antonio as much as they can even with Bassanio trying to give Shylock thrice the amount of money for his bond e.g. Nerissa says ‘ Why shall we turn to men?’
They turn to men so that their husbands will not recognize them. Portia looks through the bond and realises that it has nothing about blood so then she says that shylock must take a pound of his flesh but not spill a drop of his blood e.g. Portia says ‘ Therefore prepare thee cut off the flesh. Shed no blood, nor cut thou less, nor more, but just a pound of flesh.’
When this is said Portia has come across a solution to stop Antonio from dying because you can’t cut flesh without dripping blood. So shylock tries to take a pound of flesh but realises that he will not be able to do this so he decides to take the money afteral.
Portia tells them that he has to take the pound of flesh because that is the bond, but shylock decides that he can’t do it and has to leave and lose his money and not have his bond.
Then Portia says that he must not leave because he has tried to kill someone so he has to give Antonio a third of his money for trying to kill him. After Shylock has left, Antonio and Bassanio praises Portia for saving Antonio and asks if there is anything that they can do.
Then Portia judges Bassanio and asks him if he would give her his wedding ring and he says ‘ This ring, good sir? Alas! It is a trifle, I will not shame myself to give you this.’
Bassanio doesn’t give Portia the ring because he loves her. Then Portia leaves pleased because she did not leave with the ring and she can trust him now, but then Antonio says to Bassanio ‘ My lord Bassanio, let him have the ring: Let his deserving and my love withal be valu’d gainst your wife’s commandments.’
Then Bassanio takes off his ring and tells Gratiano to take the ring to Portia and he does. When Gratiano catches up with Portia he gives her the ring and then she has been let down because her husband gave away the wedding ring she gave to him Portia says to Nerissa ‘ We should have old swearing that they did give the rings to men but we’ll outface them, and outswear them too.’ This basically means that you’re not supposed to give your wife/husbands rings away but he did just to please a friend.
Shakespeare’s use of language in this play is very good because the rich and wealthy people speak in iambic pentameter, which means that there are ten words or syllables to a sentence, where as the not so rich people just talk normally, Shakespeare as used rhyming couplets at the end of each scene. This shows that it is actually the end of the scene, in act 1 scene 3 Antonio is creating the bond so he can borrow three thousand ducats but Bassanio doesn’t think he should create this bond so Bassanio is speaking in rhyming couplets to try and end the deal or scene he says ‘You shall not seal such a bond for me: I’ll rather dwell on my necessity’
I think this is a really interesting play and an audience that like Shakespeare would like this play very much, but they may have many views to different characters such as Bassanio. I think that the producer would have made Bassanio act as if the audience thought he was a hero but the audience would know that he’s really not.
Where this play was written along time ago it probably does not have the impact to the audience now compared to how it did back then for example: the audience back then would know exactly how it is so they would like it better but in modern times the audience would first have to understand how life was back then before they could enjoy it like the people in the olden days.