Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice: All That Glisters Is Not Gold

In William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice it is important to notice that the title is not The Tragedy of the Merchant of Venice, but rather, just The Merchant of Venice. Although many people find it a rich tapestry of controversial topics, one must wonder how many of these weighty issues were intentional and how many are being projected upon the play by a modern audience. Shakespeare, above all else, was a hack. He was the Stephen King of his day, churning out plays at a breakneck pace. One must be skeptical, then, when one gets too deep into analysis of what is truly there and what is being conjured up by a contemporary reader. Certainly, many people have been moved to tears by Shylock's "Hath not a Jew eyes?" speech. Nonetheless, the play attempts to be whimsical and lighthearted, the main conflict being a romantic comedy, at best. The entire last act is capricious tedium about lost rings and Portia and Nerissa playing a stupid trick on their husbands, wildly juxtaposed out of place if one attempts to view the preceding court room scene as deadly serious proceedings rather than farcical comedy. Shylock need be neither a comic villain nor a tragic outcast; he is a means to an end. The audience's...

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