The Merchant Of Venice


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The Merchant of Venice

     The playgoers of Shakespeare's times, a successful drama was one that combined a variety of action, along with a mixture of verse and prose in the language used. This variety was achieved, and character and atmosphere was summarized. Modern playwrights tend to describe their characters in detail in the stage directions, leaving very little for the reader to discover. However, Shakespeare's describing of a character is scarce. Usually, when reading Shakespeare's work, the audience has to detect the personality of the character by the character's action in the play, relationship towards other characters in the play , and most of all the character's manner of speech. Most of the times, the passages are of great poetic beauty discussing love, dramatic speeches filled with bombast, humorous speeches, and mischievous wordplays.

     Passages of great poetic beauty discussing love are very common in all of Shakespeare's texts. For example in The Merchant of Venice, before Bassanio is about to select the correct casket, he is urged by Portia to delay his selection in case he fails. However Bassanio wishes to continue.

Portia:
     I pray you tarry, pause a day or two
     Before you hazard, for in choosing wrong
     I lose your company. Therefore forbear awhile.
     There's something tells me (but it is not love)
I would not lose you, and you know yourself
     Hate consels not in such a quality.
     But lest you should not understand my well-
     And yet a maiden hath no tongue but thought-
     I would detatin you here some month or two
     Before you venture for me. I could teach you
     How to choose right, but then I am forsworn.
     So will I never be; so may you miss me;
     But if you do, you'll make me wish a sin-
     That I had been forsworn. Beshrew your eyes!
     They have o'erlooked me and divided me;
     One half of me is yours, the other half yours-
     Mine own, I would say, but if mine, then yours,
     And so all yours! O, these naughty times
     Put bars between the owners and their rights!
     And so, though yours, not yours. Prove it so,
     Let Fortune go to hell for it, not I.
     I speak too long, but 'tis to piece the time,
     To eke it, and to draw it out in length,
     To stay you from election.

Bassanio:

     Let me choose,
     For as I am , I live upon the rack.
     
This love dialogue between Bassanio and Portia before he chooses is filled with elegant connotation. They are both respective and responsive to one anothe, and they understand each other instantly.

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This dialogue displays their wit and gentility.

The passage of Bassanio and Portia, after the choosing of the correct leaden casket, also expressed the great poetic beauty of loce. This is the passage of when both Bassanio, and Portia promise themselves to each other.

Portia:

     You see me, Lord Bassanio, where I stand,
     Such as I am. Though for myself alone
     I would not be ambitious in my wish
     To wish myself much better, yet for you
     I would be trebled twenty times myself,
     A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times more rich,
     That, only to stand high in your account,
     I might in virtues, beauties, livings, friends,
     Exceed account. But the full sum of me
     Is sum of nothing, which to term in gross,
     Is an unlessoned girl, unschooled, unpracticed;
     Happy in this, she is not yet so old
     But she may learn; happier than this,
     She is not bred so dull but she can learn;
     Happiest of all is that her gentle spirit
     Commits itself to yours to be directed,
     As from her lord, her governor, her king.
     Myself and what is mine to you and yours
     Is now converted. But now I was the lord
     Of this fair mansion, master of my servants,
     Queen o'er myself; and even now, but now,
     This house, these servants, and this same myself
     Are yours, my lord. I give them with this ring,
     Which when you part from, lose, or give away,
     Let it presage the ruin of your love
     And be my vantage to exclaim on you.


Bassanio:

     Madam, you have bereft me of all words,
     Only my blood speaks to you in my veins,
     And there is such confusion in my powers
     As, after some oration fairly spoke
     By a beloved prince, there doth appear
     Among the buzzing pleased multitude,
There every something, being blent together,
Turns to a wild of nothing, save of joy,
Expressed and not expressed. But when this ring
Parts from this finger, then parts life from hence!
O, then be bold to say Bassanio's dead!

This dialogue is performed after Bassanio chooses the correct leaden casket. Portia is very excited and she expressed her happiness towards Bassanio.

     The dialogue between the lovers, Bassanio, and Portia, when they promise themselves to each other, is again the summary of grace and generosity. They are a perfect couple, gifted with a noble heart, and good spirit.

     Another passageway of Shakespeare expressing great poetic beauty expressing love is the passage stated by Lorenzo to Jessica. It was said in the pleasant setting of Belmont where Jessica, and Lorenzo exchange sweet love.

Lorenzo:

     How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
     Here will we sit and let the sounds of music
     Creep in our ears. Soft stillness and the night
     Become the touches of sweet harmony.
     Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven
     Is thick inlaid with patens of bright gold.
     There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st
     But in his motion like an angel sings,
     Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins;
     Such harmony is in immortal souls;
     But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
     Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.
     Come, ho, and wake Diana with a hymn!
     With sweetest touches pierce your mistress' ear
     And draw her home with music.

Emotional by nature, Lorenzo has probably been attracted to Jessica by the difficulties of meeting her and the possibility of converting her to Christian life. This passage goes further into his romantic and artistic nature. This passage signifies that Lorenzo is good with whom he loves.


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