Both Shakespeare in ‘The Merchant of Venice’ and Marlowe in ‘Dr Faustus’ use the numerous outcomes from the events of trade in their plays to metaphorically depict a variety of different circumstances. The very concept of trade is used in all its forms to stretch the controversial and political themes and morals of each play as far out as possible. From this, we learn that trade isn't just a physical form of business, but a symbolic form of both human and spiritual communication, too.
The plays are set and executed around the time and traditions of the 16th – 17th century; a period of global and national reform and change. It saw the birth of the renaissance in the arts, science and philosophy and the flourish of mercantilist capitalism over feudalism. England broke away from Roman Catholicism and turned Protestant under the Elizabethan Settlement. The protagonists in both plays are examples of the significance of trade in this time period socially, in the age of western classicism, racially, in the discovery, butchery and slavery of the indigenous Americas and the Jewish domination of usury in Christendom Europe and culturally, in the commerce along Silk Road between the dynasties and empires across the plains of Europe, Anatolia, Persia and Asia. Nationally, trade was largely exerted by means of the theatre; messages and morals thought up by two of the world’s greatest Renaissance men- key words in these contextual masterpieces: “venture”, “baiting” and “promising” to contrast that of “credit”, “paying” and “breaking.” The lighter meanings of these words reflect the attitudes of Shakespeare’s play; the darker meanings, Marlowe’s.
‘The Merchant of Venice’ focuses on trade itself and its effects on society and religion. Antoni...
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...elf-interest or gluttony. The direct sources of love are actually left out of both plays for the audience to discover for themselves, with a redivivus view on the livelihood of those in their community and their devotion to their Lord.
• Cambridge School Shakespeare; Jonathan Morris/Robert Smith/Rex Gibson
• New Mermaids Doctor Faustus Based on the A text; Roma Gill/Ros King
• Redeeming Shylock, 2005 Archives: Boston Review, Alan A. Stone
• Shapiro J, 2005, 1500 – A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare, Faber
Cambridge School Shakespeare; Jonathan Morris/Robert Smith/Rex Gibson
New Mermaids Doctor Faustus Based on the A text; Roma Gill/Ros King
Redeeming Shylock, 2005 Archives: Boston Review, Alan A. Stone
Shapiro J, 2005, 1500 – A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare, Faber
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