Shakespeare creates a very powerful and dramatic for the audience in this passage. By using repetition, tri-colons and rhetorical question Shakespeare is able to make this passage both striking and intense for the audience. Shakespeare is able to convey Shylock’s emotions about what he is feeling when he is abused by Salarino and Solanio but also is able to show the first showings of his feelings about his daughter’s elopement and the destruction of Antonio’s fleet.
The opening to the passage immediately begins with a deadly and angry serious point made by Shylock which immediately draws the attention of the audience and creates the beginnings of a build-up to Shylock’s dramatic speech by using repetition to reinforce Shylocks anger.
“I say my daughter is my flesh and my blood” and Salarino in response to this says, “There is more difference between thy flesh and hers than between jet and ivory; more between your bloods that there is between red wine and Rhenish.”
Shylock here argues that “flesh and blood” are the true measure of kinship. Shakespeare emphasises the word “my” and repeats it three times in this short section again to try to reinforce the ownership Shylock has over her but also perhaps the feelings of love and dependence Shylock has for her as well.
However Salarino and Solanio next reply with an insult, that says Shylock is completely unlike Jessica by comparing them by using the metaphor “red wine and Rhenish (white). It indicates that the two Christians believe that one’s manners, or ones willingness to be Christian, define relatedness instead of “flesh and blood”. It shows the audience again the attitude Salarino and Solanio have towards Jews and gives the audience a further insight into the relationship between Jews and Christians. Shakespeare here uses Solanio and Salarino as a way of provoking and further enraging Shylock; the audience is able to see Shylocks fury through the use of repetition, creating a dramatic and powerful start for the audience.
Salarino and Solanio completely disregarding Shylock’s problems and sorrow at the loss of his daughter, begin talking about the obviously more important Antonio. It aggravates Shylock into another angry response in how he will take revenge on Antonio; Shakespeare use of repetition again which creates a somewhat dark atmosphere for the audience.
“There I have another bad match.”
It is interesting how Shylock makes an association between Jessica and Antonio on an emotional level as they have both taken money from him, even though in Solanio and Salarino eyes the two issues are completely different. However, the audience will make that connection between Christians and Jews.
“Let him look to his bond. He was wont to call me a usurer, let him look to his bond”
Shylock mentions the word “bond” thrice, when he says, “Let him look to his bond”. The tri colon that Shakespeare uses creates a powerful and threatening image of Shylock. The repetition of the phrase “Let him look to his bond” gives an impression of an almost manic Shylock who is pleased at the chance for revenge but angry at how Antonio has humiliated him in past. In turn creates a more villainous Shylock who creates a more dramatic and striking image for the audience.
Next, again Salarino expresses his complete ignorance to Shylocks feelings or his want for revenge. “I am sure if he forfeit thou wilt not take his flesh. What’s that good for?” It shows the complete lack of genuine understanding the two men possess about how Shylock is feeling. Moreover, they are in-able to see that if a Christian wrongs a Jew several times then a Jew will in turn want revenge. The comment he makes is dramatic in the sense it is quite a shocking thing to say and leaves the audience quite stunned. In the days of Shakespeare when this play was showing I’m sure this comment would not of have had a bearing on the audience however now-a-days certainly the comment made by Salarino is quite disconcerting. This fact that he asks the question leaves the audience wandering what Shylock response will be, creating tension and further dramatizing this part of the scene.
Shylock begins his speech by reminding the audience of the pain Antonio has caused him. Shakespeare starts by listing how and what pain Antonio has inflicted up him.
“He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million; laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and what’s his reason? I am a Jew”.
Shakespeare allows the audience to sympathise, with how Shylock is feeling, they also able hear the anger and fury in Shylock’s voice. Shakespeare uses powerful words like “mocked”, “scorned” and “thwarted” which all have dark connotations to convey Shylock anger, creating powerful and dramatic atmosphere around Shylock. In his effort to justify his planned revenge on Antonio, Shylock reminds his fellow Venetians that a Jew has the same capacities as a Christian, and is therefore allowed to succumb to the same emotions as a Christian.
“Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases.”
Probably the most famous line in the “Merchant of Venice, Shylock begins to elaborate on the point that everyone is human. Shakespeare uses an extended metaphor to show how Jews are the same as Christians. Furthermore, the use of lists by Shakespeare suggest an emotional out pour from Shylock, as though he wishes to spit it out. In this section, Shakespeare uses ten rhetorical questions to emphasise and create an even more dramatic and powerful argument. However as the speech moves on, Shylock’s pledge to carry out his revenge, more or less changes the audiences view of Shylock as to being villainous; this stereotypical view of a Jew, moreover causes the audience to feel less sympathetic than before.
Shakespeare use of the word “you” seven times in this section of the scene directs the attention even further upon Salarino and Solanio who until this point are speechless as they yet have not interrupted Shylock. But similarly the use of the words “my” and “mine” several times emphasises to the audience and Salarino and Solanio that it is Shylock who is feeling this pain but also at the same time assists Shylock’s justification for his revenge. The speech ends with somewhat awkward silence, Shakespeare’s use of this silence allows the speech to ring around the audience and sink into the stunned Solanio and Salarino. It creates a dramatic and tense atmosphere which if finally broken by the entrance of a serving man.
Solanio and Salarino never give a direct response to Shylocks’ dramatic speech, although when Tubal another Jew enters Solanio says, “Here come another of the tribe; a third cannot be matched, unless the devil himself turn Jew.” This is another reference and association made between Jews and the devil but the response may suggest Shylock’s speech didn’t change their view. However, before Shylock can reply they quickly leave perhaps implying they are afraid of being accused and being put in the spot light again.
Shylock is somewhat consoled by Tubal, they both share a camaraderie that is also seen in Venetian Christians. Shylock is able to speak more openly about his feeling without being ridiculed.
“A diamond gone cost me 2000 ducats in Frankfurt! The curse never fell upon our nation till now, I never felt it now”
Shakespeare makes it Shylock seems more anxious and emotional as this section of the scene is less ordered unlike before. Shylock seems to care more suggesting he now hates his daughter and does not now wish to have her back. Shakespeare next poses a rather grotesque image when Shylock says, “I would my daughter were dead at my food, and the jewels in her ear.” This is a very powerful and shocking comment, at this point the audience would be quite taken aback. The comment emphasises the anger Shylock is feeling but also gives the audience the sense that he is in fact quite villainous. Having said that, Shylock says he feels cursed (bad luck) and thinks bad things happens to him which casts him into a different light and makes the audience feel somewhat more sympathetic.
Shylock again insist he will carry out and have his planned revenge. Shakespeare uses only repetition in Shylock’s last two lines of the scene.
“What, what, what? Ill luck, ill luck.” And “I thank God, I thank God. Is it true, is it true?”
Shakespeare uses repetition to show Shylock’s excitement at hearing the news of Antonio’s disaster; here the audience see him somewhat pleased at a chance to carry out his revenge. It again plays on the idea that Shylock is a villain. The insistence that he will get his revenge ends the scene powerfully but also dramatically with a sense of darkness.
Overall, Shakespeare is able to create a dramatic and powerful scene for the audience; through the use of imagery, metaphors, repletion, rhetorical questions and tri-colons he successfully is able convey Shylock’s emotions effectively and give us a further insight in how he is really feeling as well as show us how some Christians interact with Jews creating further a compelling and dramatic scene.