The Merchant Of Venice By William Shakespeare Essay

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The Merchant of Venice
In Shakespeare’s era, the reign of rampant anti-Semitism and Christian supremacy was mostly unquestioned, leaving anyone who openly opposed this view to be condemned and defamed. Regarding this, Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is actually a sympathetic tragedy of Shylock’s story, disguised as a light-hearted comedy for his audience of the time. He manipulates the genre of the play to appease his audience, meanwhile also criticising their hypocrisy without them noticing.
In this play, the generic comedic elements are used as a distracting veil that, once removed, change the play’s meaning. Scenes that may outwardly appear to be comedic actually suggests cruelty on the part of the characters and even the audience. For instance the scene in which Salarino and Solanio make fun of Shylock, who didn’t know whether to mourn the loss of his daughter or his money (II.viii.12-26). At the time the joke would have been that Shylock as a Jew, played into the stereotype of being too attached to his money, and making him seem shallow for not obviously missing his daughter more. However, between Shylock losing a daughter who was the last of his lineage as well as her betraying him when she stole his hard-earned livelihood, it seems callous of the characters for making fun of him. Another example is of the trial in which Portia plays with Shylock, giving him false hope (IV.i). The audience is well aware that Shylock will not win, and the more hopeful and excited…

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