William Shakespeare has become a very critical landmark in English literature. He provides our society with a range of moral and valuable lessons that put him ahead of his time through his work. His play, The Merchant of Venice, provides the readers with a very significant lesson. Through the casket plot, the different portrayals of certain groups, and the portrayals of people, he is able to prove that appearance is not always reality.
During the novel, Shakespeare uses the casket plot to prove that appearance is not always reality. This plot shows the audience that everything shouldn’t be judged for what it looks like. Shakespeare first shows how appearances can be deceptive by the use of the golden casket. For instance, the Prince of Morocco is put to the casket test and he chooses the casket made of gold because it is the most valuable and the most appealing: “Is`t like that lead contains her? Twere damnation to think so base a thought; it were too gross to rib her cerecloth in the obscure grave. Or shall I think in silver she immur’d, being ten times undervalued to tried gold? O sinful thought! Never so rich a gem was set in worse than gold” (38).
This perspective of the Prince of Morocco shows that he is shallow and judges everything upon appearance instead of reality. Since Portia is very beautiful, he feels that she is a representation of gold. From this unjustified judgement, the Prince, then has to spend the rest of his life being a lonely man. In fact, Shakespeare uses the Prince of Arragon’s judgement in the casket plot to show that appearance is not the first thing to be looked at. This time, the Prince of Arragon rejects the lead casket for its dull look and unworthy value: “’Who chooseth me, must give and hazard all he hath.’ You shall look fairer ere I give or hazard” (42).
William Shakespeare authorship: The text of Hamlet contains indications that Shakespeare portrayed himself a san allegedly dead university graduate. HAMLET: A TRAGEDY OF ERRORS, OR THE TRAGICAL FATE OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE? by Alfred Barkov To the contents When the text of William Shakespeare: a mask for Hamlet - Christopher Marlowe? William Shakespeare Hamlet is read attentively, and no details ...
This judgement from the Prince of Arragon also shows that he first looks for the appearance. As he comes to judge the lead casket, he immediately rejects the casket for how unattractive it looks. In fact, Shakespeare uses the lead casket to show how people should be judged. In this part of the plot, Lord Bassanio is put to the test and he shows how powerful his love is for Portia by using his wise judgement. Bassanio rejects the gold casket saying that, “The world is still deceived with ornament” (51), and the silver casket he deems a “pale and common drudge ‘tween man and man” (52).
Due to his wise judgement, it was evident that glamour and appearance are not the only two pieces of criteria to look for while judging someone. Thus, despite the unessential judgements that certain suitors made, Shakespeare is able to demonstrate that appearance does not account for everything.
Throughout the novel, Shakespeare shows that appearance is not always reality through the portrayal of certain groups in this play. Groups that appear to be good turn out to being unfair and evil. For instance, in The Merchant of Venice, Christians are seen as “good people” through the entire play until the trial plot. Christians, in this plot did not show a sign of mercy: “Soft. The Jew shall have all justice; soft, no haste; he shall have nothing but the penalty” (80).
Through this plot, Christians seem as if they were villains since they strip away most of Shylock’s properties and money for no good reason. In fact, Shakespeare shows that certain groups, who appear to be evil, turn out to being human. For instance, the Jews in this play were deemed as unmerciful and inhuman to other characters within the play. However, the Jews are able to forgive the Christians: “I take this offer then. Pay the bond thrice and let the Christian go” (79).
Othello is manipulated to trust Iago rather than his wife. Iago uses fake evidence against Desdemona in an attempt to prove she is cheating on her husband. Iago uses racism and past experiences to persuade Othello into believing he is not good enough for his wife as well as her not being good enough for him. Othello choses to believe Iago over his wife for the reason that she has only her word to ...
Shakespeare attempts to show a more human side to a mean and abrupt set of characters through the perspective of the audience. Another instance is the rich group who appears to be stuck up but often are not. A rich heiress falls in love with Bassonio, a man who is facing financial stress throughout the entire play. Portia loves him even when Bassanio is not up to her status, and lends him money to help out his friend, Antonio: “Pay him six thousand, and deface the bond. Double six thousand and then treble that, before a friend of this description shall lose a hair through Bassanio’s fault. First go with me to church, and call me wife, and then away to Venice to your friend“(58).
This part of the plot shows that not all rich people are stuck up and gives a different perspective upon them within the Elizabethan society. Thus, certain groups may appear to be a certain way but they turn out to be a complete opposite.
Shakespeare shows appearance is not always reality through the portrayal of certain people. A lot of people could be deceived by the way a person looks. For instance, Portia is a very rich heiress who fulfills the rights and duties of a regular Elizabethan woman. Shakespeare also shows another side of her which is unlike a woman in that society. In the trial plot, Portia is intelligent enough to fool everyone that she is a famous doctor, and fights for Antonio`s case: “Your grace shall understand, that at the receipt of your letter l am very sick; but in the instant that your messenger came, in loving visitation was with me a young doctor of Rome: his name is Balthazar” (72).
This trial plot shows that Portia is unlike any other woman from that society. The reason being is because she is very confident and very vocal during the entire trial plot. She is also intelligent enough to fool everyone that she is a male doctor. Shakespeare is challenging the roles of women and gives a glimpse of how a change should come about. Another way appearance is not always reality is how people may seem abrupt but really are sympathetic. For example, Shylock seems to be the villain through the eyes of every other character in the play. However, as his daughter elopes, Shylock shows that he is a person who has feelings as well: “Thou torturest me, Tubal: it was me turquoise, I had it of Leah when I was a bachelor. I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys” (48).
Portia, The Ideal Woman. When one thinks of something ideal one may think of things in their ideal form rather than as they really are. In Shakespeare's play, The Merchant Of Venice, one of the major themes is appearance verses reality. In the play Portia is portrayed as the ideal woman. In the opening scene, Bassanio describes her as the Golden Fleece. Portia is truly the Golden Fleece: she is ...
Through this plot, Shakespeare attempts to show a very sympathetic side to Shylock. Through the character of Shylock, Shakespeare is trying to show the society that Jews are humans as well and they should be given more equality. All in all, Shakespeare proves that people can appear to be someone who they are not.
It is evident that Shakespeare did a splendid job of displaying that appearance is not a true factor to judge character of a person. This is shown through the influential character displayed by Portia, as she was a woman, which in the Elizabethan era was a challenge but her personality as a person made everyone around her a believer. Secondly, Jews were perceived as people that brought in evil, but in the end this ideology should not be applied to every Jew that is present in the society. Lastly, this message is shown when it came to the marriage of Portia, when prince of Morroco and Arragon selected gold and silver respectively because they were of much more value and had better appearances. Ultimately, Shakespeare message was successful as appearances are deceiving to judge a character of a person.