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    During this thrilling scene Antonio’s life is under threat Essay

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    During this thrilling scene Antonio’s life is under threat. Shylock has made a bond with Antonio – he has lent him 3,000 ducats and will take a pound if flesh if he fails to pay him back. Antonio did this for friends love, Bassanio wanted to woo the rich Portia of Belmont. Antonio initially thought the bond was in jest however, Shylock vowed revenge and stock to his bond. To identify with a character means to empathise with their situation.

    On the other hand, if an audience is alienated by a character, this means that their behaviour is controversial or abnormal. This next paragraph is all about anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism means being racially prejudiced towards Jews, the majority of anti-Semitists are Christians. Christians are like this because they believe that Jews are responsibility for the death of Christ, the story goes that some Jews and Romans were discussing what to do with Jesus and a Jew said to hang him. And from then on Christians have been treating Jews like there second.

    Antonio has an extra reason to hate Jews, that is that Jews lend money with interest and Antonio does not think that this is right and they don’t treat there customers honestly. Jew were treated as lower class citizens in Venice because they are forces to where bright red hats when they go out in pubic, also Christians could spit, kick do anything they wanted to the Jews but they can’t do anything back, also Jews can’t join the army or work in any part of the court; “O, be thou damn’d, inexorable dog! ” here Gratiano is calling Shylock a dog.

    A modern audience would find racism like this unbelievable and totally unacceptable, this is because there has been many protests regarding racial discrimination, their have been many famous protests but probably the most famous is the speech of Martin Luther King, this famous speech was delivered in 1963 to more than 200,000 civil-rights marchers at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C. the speech was called I have a dream, this is how it goes; “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by their content of their character. Nowadays if you were anywhere near as raciest as people are in the Merchant of Venice you could be put in prison or just get beat up and stabbed. In the Merchant of Venice Jews are spoke to as if they are lower than Christians, and they are oven called names, for example when Gratiano says to Shylock; “O, be thou damn’d, inexorable dog! ” Gratiano is calling Shylock a dog, this shows that Gratiano thinks that all Jews are below him and he truly hates all Jews.

    Portia also speaks poorly to Jews. E. g. when she is dressed up as a male lawyer she says; “Art thou contented, Jew? The fact that she does not call him his real name Shylock but she calls him Jew, she is kind of putting him into a different group to her, a lower group than her. The Duke also is very rude to all Jews, like when he says; “we all expect a gentle answer Jew. ” He is also calling shylock a Jew instead of his real name. Most Christians call Jews not by their real name but they call them Jew. Most of the Christians in Venice would like it if all of the Jews converted into Christians. They want to convert them because they think that if they don’t they will be dammed for live in hell when they die.

    A modern day audience would not tolerate someone trying to change there religion, even though religion is not such a big thing now. People still belong to religion but they are not so rigid on all the rules. When this play was set nearly everyone was religions and tried their bet to obey all the rules. At the time that this play is set the low-courts were very different to nowadays. In act four, shylock is arguing with the Duke to recognise his bond, but in the Dukes mind he knows that he must give justice to Shylock’s bond.

    He knows this because if he doesn’t allow this bond to be fulfilled than he will be breaking his bond, and if he breaks one bond than everyone will want him to break their bond. Shylock knows this and he says; “if you deny, let the danger light/ upon your charter and the city’s freedom. ” This shows that he know that if he denies his bond than the hole community will fall to pieces. Scene four is very dramatic, there are lots of things that make it more dramatic. The main thing is that all the judges are wearing really nice cloths, and the fact that Shylock is in front of them and is surrounded by Christians all shouting at him.

    Also when he pulls a big knife out of his coat, and then he sharpens it in front of everyone. And then he gets a set of scales out as well, this is dramatic because it is very visual and you can kind of imagine a lump of human flesh on the scale. When he does this it truly makes you think that he is going through with his bond, followed by Antonio being tied to a chair and fainting. All of these points add to making the scene dramatic. An audience might get annoyed in the trial scene; this is because the court takes so long to make judgment. The court scene may be not that different to nowadays in some ways.

    All the court goes silent when someone is talking most of the time, and they have a jury and a lawyer. But on the other hand some scenes may totally outrage and surprise an audience, like when Portia says to Shylock; “you must cut this flesh from off his breast; the law allows it, and the court awards it. ” When she says this it will certainly shock an audience this is because nowadays the law will never allow someone to harm someone else, no matter what bond or promise they have made, but when the Merchant of Venice was set if you made a bond there is no going back on it.

    A modern day audience might not find the fact that Portia dressing up as a man and pretending to be a lawyer in the trial scene so shocking. But back when this play was set it was totally outrageous. This is because women were not allowed to work in a court, but not only that there is the fact that no one knew who Portia was not even her husband. But most shocking of all is the horrible test that Portia puts Bassanio thought, I think this is totally unbelievable, she actually asks him for his ring; “I’ll take this ring from you. ” She is asking her husband for his wedding ring which she made him promise never to give away.

    In some ways the way in which the court was run is very different to nowadays. For one the defendant or defendants are a lot less formal, they can just give evidence or speech when ever they want too. Also the fact that the audience in the court shout a lot, nowadays it has to be completely silent. And there is really only one lawyer for the whole court, he or she has to both defend and accuse the defendant. Portia delays pouncing the sentence in the trial scene, I think she does this because she is testing Bassanio to see what he would do if he though that he is going to die.

    I think another reason for Portia delaying the sentence is so that she could get Shylocks hopes up, and make him think that he has won and he can get his pound of flesh, then totally crush all of his hopes. In the trial scene shylock sharpens his knife in front of the whole court, not only does this make the court think that he is willing to go though with the bond. But its makes the audience think that he is really looking forward to cutting the flesh off of Bassanio. The audience will not like this because they will think that Shylock is sick and really likes cutting someone’s skin.

    In a way Antonio passes the final judgment on Shylock, I think that he had right intensions by forcing Shylock to become a Christian, I think this because Antonio thinks that all Jews go to hell, so by changing him into a Christian he is saving Shylock. Also he allows Shylock to keep half of his weave until he dies. I think that this is a very kind sentence considering that Shylock would have killed him if he had a chance. This next paragraph will be based on feminism and what effect it has on a modern day audience.

    First I would like to talk about the reasons that Portia dressed up as a man in the trail scene, the main reason that she did this is women where not allowed to work in the court when this play was set. This is because women were thought to be the weaker sex and not as smart or strong as men. Nowadays women are treated the same as men, this is because their have been many protests and strikes where women refuse to work for the amount of money that they are getting paid, they also made a stand agents the government and their employers.

    Portia proves that she is a fully qualified lawyer in many ways; one of these is the fact that she comes from a man call Bellario, and he is a very important man in the law courts, this gives the impression and it makes Portia look like a very good lawyer. Also Portia uses a lot of “law talk” when she is speaking to the court, for example when she says “There is no power in Venice / can alter a decree established. ” This makes the rest of the court think that she is very experienced and knows what she is talking about.

    I don’t think that a modern day audience would take Portia’s disguise seriously. I think this because it is very easy to that the lawyer is Portia, and no one notices who she is not even her husband. I think this is done on purpose to make the scene slightly funny. Portia tries to make shylock to relent by making a speech on page 70 act 4 scene 1; it starts on about line 181 and ends on about line 203. The main meaning of the speech is to say how can Shylock expect mercy to Jews if he doesn’t show mercy to Christians. At the start of the speech Portia says “The quality of mercy is not strain’d. This means that revenge just leads to more revenge. This speech has a big effect on the court, it makes them think that she is sorry for what ever might have happened to Shylock and that he should just put it behind him. Portia is very aggravated with Bassanio’s expressed love for Antonio, for example when she says: “Your wife would give little thanks for that,” while she is dressed as a male lawyer. She would like to make a more dramatic response but she holds back, because she knows that if she says something more she will reveal her true identity.

    When Portia tests her husband, I think she had a good reason to do so. The main reason is the fact that her husband lied about being rich. He pretended to be rich so that he could enter the competition to try and win so that Portia will have to marry him. At the end of the play Bassanio is even more indebted to his wife because he gave his wedding ring away. I would suggest that a modern audience would be sympathetic with Jessica when she runs away with Lorenzo because she has been told exactly what to do by her farther: “Do as I bid you; shut that doors after you”.

    Also the fact that she loved her father but she hated the fact that he is so vengeful and the fact that he thinks that it is a war going on between Christians and Jews, and she is very peaceful. However some people might not be so sympathetic with her because she stole a large amount of Shylock’s fortune including her mothers ring; parents who are overprotective of their own children would relate to Shylock. Portia is less traditional than Jessica for a number of reasons. I first is the fact that she is much more independent then a average woman in Shakespeare day. For example she is in control of her own fortune.

    Also when she asks Bassanio for the ring she says: “I’ll die for’t, but some woman had the ring. ” She is accusing him of having an affair, even though she tricked him to give her the ring. I suggest that Jessica gets more of the audience’s sympathy because of this. Friendship is very important in the play. There are a lot of reasons why Antonio lends Bassanio money. The first impression that an audience gets is that they are just very good friends. But by act 4 scene 1 Antonio is putting his life on the line and Antonio might think of him as more that just a friend.

    I think that Antonio is slightly in love with Bassanio. He says: “Let his deservings and my love withal / Be valu’d ‘gainst my wife’s commandement. ” He is persuading Antonio to part with his ring. This shows that Antonio wants to valued as highly as Portia by Bassanio. I think that Antonio’s behaviour is threatening their marriage whether he means to or not. Portia is right to expect additional loyalty from Bassanio than Antonio. I assume this because Portia and Bassanio are wedded and that is a much stronger connection than friends, despite the fact that Bassanio and Antonio have been good friends for a very long time.

    I don’t think that this play is anti-Semitic; I think this because at the end of the trial scene Bassanio lets Shylock keep half of his money even though Shylock was just about to kill him. The play does have anti-Semitic moments and people in it, the main issue in the play is anti-Semitic people. I think that the play does teach tolerance, almost all people can relate to a situation like these e. g. black and white, rich and poor, old and young or different religions.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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