Shakespeare uses contradictory emotions and beliefs though out the play. He raises many questions about racism and morality. Theses attitudes are relevant to the period the play was written. The play confronts the subject of Christians and Jews.
There was great conflict between Christians and Jews, and Shakespeare portrayed this incredibly well thought out his play. Anti- Semitism had been present in England ever since Jews had inhabited the country. Tales were contrived of Jews stealing babies, drinking sacrificial blood, and thieving money. Although at first look at the play it might look Anti-Semitic, as the play develops and the plot unfolds Shakespeare portrays a feeling of remorse towards the Jew Shylock. Shakespeare interpreted theses current beliefs and conflicts into his characters.
This ethic ised the effect of the play and enabled the audience to understand and become involved in the plot. The Jew is exposed as the evil character in the plot, and the Christians as the heroines. The characters emotions are clear through out the script and peak during the trial scene. This causes some of the characters to become venerable. Portia uses her knowledge of Jurisprudence to exploit these emotions, to her advantage in the trial. She uses cunning tactics to effectively confuse the characters present in the court.
The other characters in the court are obviously siding with the Christian against the Jew. Portia foresees this and tries to become acquainted with Shylock, so she can persuade him to act merciful towards Antonio. “Is you name Shylock” Portia confronts Shylock the Jew first; she also uses his name showing a degree of respect. “Then the Jew must be merciful” She is trying to persuade the Jew to accept the money offered and to Antonio life. Portia talks privately to Shylock and negotiates the advantages of being lenient and merciful towards Antonio.
... certainly be seen to translate into Shakespeare's portrayal of Shylock the Jew. Indeed, Shylock seems to epitomize the miserly, ... noble undertones with which most of the characters of Othello mark their speech, can be ... "an attribute to God himself," and as Portia describes it in the court scene, mercy is ... to most of the Venetians in the play; Shylock the Jew, on the other hand, is imbued with ...
“It bless eth him tha gives and that him that takes:” Here Portia is still portraying a kind and patient attitude towards Shylock. This confuses the other characters present in the court, as they are becoming anxious about the risk their friend is presented with. She cleverly causes them to have fluctuations of hope and fear through out the scene to maximise her chances of success. Portia is unable to persuade Shylock to be merciful towards the Jew. “My deeds upon my head. I crave the law, the penalty and forfeit of my bond.” Shylock inflexible desire for revenge increases tension and dramatic effect in the court scene.
Portia having now realised that Shylock is extremely stubborn she changes tactics to defeat him. She cunningly makes Shylock put his trust in her and encourages him to be less couscous. “It must not be. There is no power in Venice can alter Antonio decree establishment.” Once Portia has gained this trust and respect from Shylock she exploits his naivety.
“O wise young judge, how I do honour thee!” Shylock admits and clearly portrays his happiness, to have the chance to take Antonio life. Exposing his unnecessary vengeful and malicious attitude. Portia again tries to quietly persuade Shylock to accept the dockets offered. Shylock declines and seems to be encouraged by the aspect of hope he has of wining the trial that Portia illustrated to him. “Bid me tear the bond” Here it becomes apparent that Portia begins to portray a worried and inshore attitude, as she is no longer convinced that she could win the case. She begins to beg which she had not resorted to so far in the trial.
Shylock repeats his compliments of Portia and she scheming ly develops confidence. ” Have by some surgeon” Portia begins to unfold her plan, but Shylock is excite ted and intent on receiving the merchants life. He does not foresee that she is plotting against him.
INEQUALITY During Shakespearean times, inequality was a major aspect in life. Several inequalities and social problems were present in England during this time. In the Shakespearean play, The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare identifies many problems that existed during his time. A major problem that Shakespeare focused on was discrimination through religion. Also racism was a big issue. ...