Merchant Of Venice Music Analysis

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Upon an initial examination of William Shakespeare’s play, The Merchant of Venice, a reader is provided with superficial details regarding the moral dilemmas embedded in the text. Further analysis allows a reader to recognize the multi-faceted issues each character faces as an individual in response to his or her surroundings and/or situations. Nevertheless, the subtle yet vital motif of music is ingrained in the play in order to offer a unique approach to understanding the plot and its relationship with the characters. Whether the appearance of music be an actual song or an allusion to music in a mythological or social context, the world of Venice and Belmont that Shakespeare was writing about was teeming with music. The acceptance or denunciation…show more content…
Bassanio’s contemplation is underlined by a song that utilizes rhyme and meter in order to subconsciously provide Bassanio with the correct material for the casket: lead. The first two lines of the song immediately contextualize the concept of love and introduce two words that rhyme with the word lead. The following lines elaborate upon that theme by reassuring the listener that love will confirm itself yet fall prey to the inevitability of a love that dies; that afterthought can be heard echoing through a round of choruses. Bassanio essentially becomes a victim of determinism, both in his character and in terms of his role in the plot. The final two instances demonstrate the extreme emotional power that music holds over the lives of individuals. In defense of his bond with Antonio, Shylock invokes animal imagery as a strong emotional defense against the forfeiture of his bond. Perpetually invoking these images, Shylock also includes a line which states, “when the bagpipe sings i’th’ nose; Cannot contain their urine; for affection; Mistress of passion, sways it to the mood” (4.1.49-51). Shylock recognizes the immense power that music has over emotions. Music is able to bypass all cognitive faculties and permeate the deepest fathoms of our emotional capabilities, thus exploiting them. To find music included in a passage riddled with animal imagery permits a reader to understand the intensity of music, being a conduit that can access an individual’s deepest fears. Fear is the inherent system that drives animals to survive, much like the way it drives Shylock to maintain his way of
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