The Merchant of Venice is a play that involves romance intertwined in a tragedy. The tragedy incorporates most of the plays. The tragedy is seen in Shylock’s strong desire for revenge that he will use an opportunity he gets to fulfill. In fact, it is a play of the hunter becoming the hunted. The play talks about all human weaknesses and strengths.
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It is also based on love and true friendship. The Merchant of Venice was written between the fiscal 1596 and 1598 and was set in Venice and Belmont in Italy. It is a play worth watching as it portrays that good always wins (Sokolova, 2009). The play was written and approved as the work of William Shakespeare.
In the play, Antonio is a Venetian merchant. Antonio wants to lend a colleague named Bassanio some cash to enable go and persuade Portia of Belmont. Portia appears as a gorgeous, brainy, and an opulent woman. However, Antonio does not have money at the moment since his money is on the business and will only have it when his ships return safely (Sokolova, 2009). Therefore, he decides to borrow money from Shylock, the Jew.
Shylock is a financier, but Antonio is always rude to him for the increased tariffs he charges on his loans. Shylock gives Antonio the loan with an agreement that he will pay for the money using a piece of his flesh if the agreed date of return passes. Portia has many wealthy suitors who have to marry her only after choosing the right casket made of lead, gold, or silver.
The correct casket has a picture, which was her father’s wish. All the suitors fall apart from Bassanio, who chooses the lead. Antonio gets reports that his boats are missing and cannot pay the financier the money he owes him. Shylock takes him to court to request for some amounts of his meat. Portia dresses as a man and goes to the law court to defend Antonio. Portia claims that no blood is to be spilled as Shylock claims his price and demands that the Jew should be remanded for wanting to harm a Venetian.
Shylock is forgiven but forced to give out his wealth to be shared between Antonio and the state. He is further forced to convert to Christianity. Antonio decides though to let Jessica, Shylock’s daughter, to have his wealth (Sokolova, 2009). Jessica has been disowned by her father for eloping with her Christian boyfriend named Lorenzo. In the end, a report is received that the vessels, which belonged to Antonio, were safe, and there were celebrations everywhere.
The play talks about how the Jews were treated in the Merchant. Shylock represents the Jews, and he believes that they are not treated as humans by Christians. At the beginning of the play, one will sympathize with this Jew, seeing him as a victim of injustice. The court portrays him as a man of no mercy as he is not willing to forgive. He is so full of revenge that he refuses to take the money Bassanio offers him even though it was more than what Antonio owed him. It is a fairy story with a happy ending.
The costumes in the play are very interesting and attractive. They have an original Italian style of the 17th Century. They were made just as they are described in the script (Sokolova, 2009). Portia’s costumes are very elegant and classy, just as a wealthy lady’s gown ought to be in any shop. The Prince of Morocco, one of Portia’s suitors, was a design on its own. It was very African and quite exotic. Thus, he proves to be truly from Africa.
The audience loved the play. Shylock gained sympathy from the audience. He knew how to act his part well and almost shed tears when he lost the case. He is the victim of all wrongdoings the Jews go through. He describes how badly Antonio has treated him founded on the fact that he is a Jew. The agony he felt when his daughter eloped with Lorenzo was quite evident.
However, according to the play, he is masterful. He was a quiet man who measures and ponders over everything. The audience did not like Portia gave her level of cunningness though she plays her part as a lawyer quite well.
The actors had a dramatic skill in them. The trial scene is evidence of this as the case moves from being against Antonio to being against Shylock. There is a mixture of emotions, from fear to hope.
Wisdom is also applied to show Portia’s part as she dressed as a man and finds a way of convincing the court that Shylock is guilty. Gratiano proves to have wisdom through his speech on love. All the actors took their time to give their speeches. Lancelot brings comedy into the play (Sokolova, 2009). He is constantly making people laugh, as he knows how to bring joy even in a difficult situation.
In conclusion, the production of the play makes one glued to their seats. One will watch over two hours play to the end without even realizing that time has passed. It leaves you craving for more plays like it. The tragedy ends when Antonio wins the case, and the two women, namely Portia and Nerissa, get their rings from their husbands.
Sokolova, B. (2009). William Shakespeare: The merchant of Venice. New York, NY: Humanities-E-books.