“The Merchant of Venice” as a Tragicomedy Essay

** See the drama as a tragicomedy

Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’ is a comedy with a difference. It was written about surely between 1596 & A ; 1598. The drama is classed as one of the 16 comedy dramas but it is besides a ‘problem’ drama due to the tragic elements woven throughout the intricate secret plan. The drama concludes with a harmonious stoping but all through the secret plan. reoccurring subjects of unhappiness and calamity are included.

In footings of dramatic construction. “The Merchant of Venice” is doubtless a comedy. It follows the typical upward flight of comedy ( get downing complication to stoping declaration } . Act 1 introduces the dramas chief complication. but it besides sets the tone for amusing outlook by set uping upward beat of comedy in each of its three scenes. Antonio and Portia’s melancholy are shortly alleviated by appropriate distractions & A ; hope. Bassanio hopes to boom. Antonio tries to assist his friend. Portia will non hold to worry about being chosen by the suers she has mocked. Bassanio and Antonio get what they erroneously but merrily think is a friendly loan and Shylock erroneously and merrily. he has hit upon a winning scenario.

After the gap act has set the beat and outlook of comedy. there is increasing fluctuation of the rise and dashing of hopes because of the assorted characters picks. Raised hopes and satisfaction nevertheless outweigh dashed hopes and dissatisfaction. Launcelot. Jessica. Lorenzo. Portia. Nerrisa. Gratiano & A ; Antonio all escape the danger they most fear and recognize their aspirations. Morocco. Arragon. Shylock and Antonio all suffer losingss. However. Morocco and Arragon receive the rigorous justness of their punishment that they swore curses to accept but both Shylock & A ; Antonio are spared decease & A ; half of their fiscal losingss are recovered.

The secret plan devices used in “The Merchant of Venice” are rather typical of romantic comedies. For illustration. external forces maintain the lovers apart. non by defects in their ain characters or mutual exclusiveness. These forces include arbitrary Torahs & A ; limitations ( the conditions of Portia’s male parents will ) & A ; instances of misguided individuality. frequently affecting the erosion of camouflages.

“The Merchant of Venice” is a drama about friendly relationship & A ; love. In the first scene itself Antonio displays the nature of love & A ; friendship he feels for Bassanio. “My bag. my individual. my extremest means lie all unbarred to your occasions” . There is besides a predomination of immature people and many braces of lovers and multiple matrimonies are present in the drama.

Another common characteristic of comedies is that the original job is frequently less of import and complex than the original solution. This is surely true in “The Merchant of Venice” . At the beginning of the drama. Bassanios ‘problem’ is purportedly that he wants to refund the debt he owes Antonio Even though Antonio does non care Very much about acquiring his money back. Bassanio’s solution to this job courtship and get marrieding a beautiful inheritress promises to be pleasant adequate for him but requires turning Antonio into a debitor himself & A ; even jeopardizing his really life. Merely in the universe of comedy would this sequence of events be accepted without inquiry.

However. “The Merchant of Venice” is excessively dark to be considered simply as a romantic comedy. It has come more & A ; more to be seen as a drama. which introduces into Shakespearian comedy a scope of upseting tones. Even if we allow construction to rule. reasoning that love wins over hatred & amp ; Shylock is chiefly a map of the overall design. there are excessively many perturbing elements to let any complacence.

Shylock far from being a mere secret plan device. is a character of considerable dramatic power & A ; he is presented as incarnating an intractable mixture of racial exposure & A ; cussed insisting upon the inviolability of commercial & amp ; legal facts. He was hindered and insulted by Antonio for which he wants to kill the merchandiser. His push for retaliation suggests an choler that a junior-grade spirit could non experience. At the terminal of the drama. he is left without the props of his life and although he is considered the scoundrel. one can non assist feeling sorry for him.

The rubric character Antonio belongs in a different sort of drama. His cryptic unhappiness & A ; his evident willingness to decease to turn out his love for Bassanio suggest the universe of calamity. His sick intervention of Shylock makes him a instead dark hero. The bond he marks with Shylock is unromantically expressed about the three-month term and the effects of forfeiture. His disdain for Shylock finds no amusing look & A ; at the terminal of the drama. he is the uneven adult male out among the braces of happy lovers.

Love is non the lone dominant involvement of the drama unlike Shakespeare’s other romantic comedies. The drama could easy be one that is covering with issues of Jewry and vigorish that were really modern-day. Bassanio as a romantic hero is non a lovesick languishing figure but his motivations are instead doubtful. The flood tide of the drama is non the love narrative. as it should be in a romantic comedy but in the test scene that comes instead late.

‘The Merchant of Venice is besides unconventional because it mingles the people of the nobility with lower category characters ( such as. Shylock & A ; the buffoon Launcelot Gobo ) . even though. harmonizing to the reigning critical theory of that clip. merely upper category characters were appropriate to tragedy while member of the center and lower categories were the proper capable entirely of comedy. The drama besides presents a menace of decease to its chief supporter Antonio that is all of a sudden at the terminal by Portia’s clever casuistry in the test scene.

‘The Merchant of Venice’ contains both tragic & A ; amusing elements. It besides mingles the upper & A ; lower category characters & A ; there is a reversal of luck. All these elements are typical of tragicomedy. Therefore. we can reason that ‘The Merchant of Venice’ is a tragicomedy.

**Is Shylock justified in seeking retaliation?

In Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’ . the adversary Shylock seems to be the polar character finding the twentieth century reading of the drama. Shylock is an illustration of a character so dynamic that it takes over from the author & A ; assumes dimensions of an independent entity. He evokes an involvement that is beyond the range of the drama.

Shylock is a affluent Judaic usurer in Venice. He lends Antonio three thousand ducats on the promise that if it is non repaid. the forfeiture shall be a lb of Antonio’s flesh. By puting a lb of flesh as collateral. Shylock is able to visualize his retaliation all excessively clearly. By extinguishing Antonio. Shylock will non merely fuel his thirst for retribution but would besides extinguish his taking competition. Antonio by imparting money at no involvement had thwarted Shylock in his command to get even more gold. which he valued more than anything else. So when Antonio defaults on his loan. Shylock unrelentingly demands absolute conformity with the footings of the understanding.

However. it is merely excessively easy to label Shylock as a hatred driven moneygrubber set on killing Antonio. In fact. when one looks at the footings of the understanding. and the intervention Shylock has received over the old ages. one could reason he is wholly justified. In the text. we read of Antonio hurting on Shylock in the past. naming him Canis familiaris & A ; dissing him in forepart of other merchandisers. He calls Shylock a ‘cur’ and minimize him for his spiritual belief. Shakespeare is successful in making an environment rich with people but sole to merely Christians. For a lone Jew in a sea of Christians it appears life can be really lonely. Even at the point of the dealing. his disdain for the ‘Jew’ was evidently apparent-

“I am as like to name thee so once more.

To ptyalize on thee once more. to spur thee too”

By exposing his arrant neglect for Shylock. Antonio creates an enemy who merely salivates at the chance of some payback when Antonio comes to inquire for a loan. Treated as less than a second-class citizen for far excessively long. Shylock found it more than a spot hypocritical that the same Christians who cursed and spit upon him for being a usurer now came volitionally to him in their clip of demand. This is a important minute in the play. and outlines a clear moral quandary. At this point. we beg for Shylock to pattern a genuinely humanist rule. therefore learning his tormenters so true significance of faith. But alas. Shylock is excessively blinded by hatred to forgive & amp ; for better or worse as readers. we can understand this.

Jessica’s treachery makes Shylock more determined to seek his retaliation. With one blow. Shylock loses his girl and immense part of his hard-earned luck due to Jessica’s disloyalty. The fact that the Christians knew about it and later twits him about it shows the extent of bias that existed in that society. Shylock’s speech-

“If a Jew wrongs a Christian what is his humbleness? Revenge. If a Christian wrongs a Jew. what should his sufferance be by Christian illustration? Why. retaliation. The villainousness you teach me. I will put to death. & A ; it shall travel difficult but I will break the direction. ”

The above mentioned quotation mark. briefly. explains Shylocks motivations and thrust in his chase of a lb of flesh. For one so haunted with money. the fact that he would be willing to abandon a nice amount in the chase of retribution speaks volumes of hatred and animus between Shylock & A ; Antonio. Justifiably acrimonious over his intervention by a hypocritical Christian society. Shylock focuses his retaliation so aggressively. that he is unsighted to anything else. Our apprehension of this fact does non decrease the horror we feel at his inhuman treatment towards Antonio but. we are able to retrieve that the passion for retaliation is a common human weakness.

In my sentiment. Shylock was justified in seeking retaliation. but he takes it excessively far. He was victimized but one is besides repulsed by his intervention of his girl and his materialistic attitude. Although I think that his seeking retaliation against Antonio was sensible. his manner of put to deathing it was non.

** The contrast between Belmont and Venice

In ‘The Merchant of Venice’ Shakespeare creates an interesting contrast between the mercantile. disruptive metropolis of Venice and the peaceful. gracious universe of Belmont. The dramatic difference between these two scenes helps to capture and keep our attending. There are differences in the value of systems of the people belonging to the two different metropoliss.

To understand the drama we must first expression at the scene. The drama is non set in the twelvemonth it was written. Alternatively. Shakespeare looks back in clip to the beginning of the Renaissance. Venice. a city state in Italy. was a hamlets for reformers. a money-lending Centre of Europe. Venice fascinated the Elizabethans. as it was commercially hospitable to people from all parts of the universe e. g. Greeks. Jews and Protestants. The metropolis was besides a trading Centre of great importance. Venice itself was Catholic metropolis and politically independent. A topographic point of great beauty. luxury and highly artistic.

A 2nd scene of the drama transports us to Belmont. which contrasts. with Venice in its fairy narrative mentalities and musical interludes. It is in Belmont that love blooms. honestness and peace prevails everyplace. The ambiance of Venice is about like a romantic faery narrative and Portia is like the beautiful princess who can non get married until the right adult male arrives to take the right coffin. Equally long as she is imprisoned by her male parents will. Portia must stay in Belmont and delay for her prince to come and deliver her.

The differentiation between Venice and Belmont is that one topographic point is where money is made and the other is where it is spent. One is characterized by visible radiation. sunlight. and the other by moonshine and music. Wealth is described in about sensuous footings like when Salerio says

“…touching but my soft vessels side …Enrobe the howling Waterss with my silks” .

Furthermore. in an dry manner. subsequently love is talked about in commercial footings. Another unsimilarity is presented when the scenes displacement from Venice to Belmont. When we hear of Shylock’s hatred and his footings of the bond. our anxiousness physiques. Then the drama moves on to Belmont and the temper displacements from a kind of abrasiveness and tenseness to a universe of love affair and courteousness. The most dramatic disparity is between the courtroom scene in Act 4 and the opening scene of act 5. which takes topographic point on a starlit. romantic dark in Belmont.

Belmont in contrast to Shylocks Venice is full of music. Get downing with the music to attach to Bassanios pick. Portia tells us that “music is/Even as the flourish when true topics bow/To a new crowned sovereign. ” “A Flourish of Cornets” announces Morocco’s entryway. his debut to the coffins. and his issue. Arragon is introduced to the coffins by another flourish. A song accompanies Bassanios pick. In Act 5. Bassanio’s ‘tucket’ trumpeters his winning return to Belmont.

These trumpeting are marks that the people of Belmont observe rites or ceremonial. In Venice. ceremonial runs into troubles. Gratiano regrets that “we have non made good preparation’ for the mask at Bassanio’s house. Solanio agrees “‘Tis vile unless it may be quaintly ordered/And better in my head non undertook” . The ailment fated mask is finally cancelled when the inconstant air current unceremoniously alterations for Belmont.

At the terminal of the drama we see that Belmont clearly extend its influence over Venice. The subject of clemency comes with Portia from Belmont and finally spreads over Venice.

Shakespeare is a astute dramatic applied scientist and in words of Joan Holmer he “fashions an artistic integrity out of the richly varied and frequently contradictory elements that constitute The Merchant of Venice” . By making. a difference between Venice and Belmont Shakespeare makes the drama even more appealing and as readers. we sure can appreciate this.