Merchant of Venice Essay: A Comedy?

818 Words4 Pages
To the reader, The Merchant of Venice, may seem horrible and it be impossible to find the “comedy” at all. Perhaps, Shakespeare may have been simply trying to make people laugh at the appalling injustice we cause one another because of the small differences among us. Or, perhaps, he may have at first wanted the viewers of The Merchant of Venice to feel that they, the Christians, had nothing in common with the Jew, Shylock. What on earth could the Christians have in common with a Jew? Shakespeare demonstrates that the Christians were just as hungry for money and fortune as the Jew. Perhaps this is a comedy after all. That Shakespeare sees people, Jew or Christian, as simply people, and if he could not make people see that they were all people with common ground, then he would have to start with something he knew everyone could relate with. The best item to come to mind was money. No matter if the amount is in ducats, dollars or pesos, everyone understands this concept. Although it does not seem perfectly clear in what way Shakespeare was trying to deliver the comedy in this play, one thing is evident, Shakespeare was a man before his time. So, besides trying to find where the comedy is, maybe one should try to find where the most superficial person lies. Who is more superficial in this play? The Jew whose only business is money, or the Christians? It seems apparent that both are superficial, and one no more than the other. In the play Bassanio does not try to hide the fact that he needs to marry a woman of wealth to restore his fortune. Shylock's daughter Jessica, promises to steal jewels and fortune from her father, proving that she too is money hungry. Even Salerio and Solanio seem to talk of nothing more than riches and wealth throughout the play. So yes, they all are superficial, and one can not peg one any more than another.So again, we are back to the comedy of the whole thing! Now that I think about it, it seems strange that the majority of our class found no humor in this play. When one thinks of why this may be, it is simple. We do not laugh when we read this play because we have not changed. Since the time of this play, we have inched very little away from prejudice and belittling people because they are what we feel is different, therefore making them strange.
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