Wednesday May 28, 2008
Appearance Vs Reality in Merchant Of Venice
This theme of Appearance Vs. Reality is used throughout the play to mislead and confuse so things may not always be what they seem. Shakespeare uses deception to enhance the unfolding drama and involve his audience more fully in the play – the audience are party to deceptions which the characters themselves are unaware of.
Prejudice was common and the word “Jew” applied to hardhearted unscrupulous moneylenders. An Elizabethan audience would have been happy to see a Jew, Spaniard or a Moor deceived and Shakespeare clearly tried to give his audience what it wanted. In contrast, many, particularly ladies, would have admired the strong and…show more content… This is a racist comment; she wants all people of his race to choose the wrong casket. In the original group of suitors mentioned at the start of the play was, amongst others, a German whom Portia stereotyped. “When he is worst he is little better than a beast”. In Shakespeare’s time the suitors would have been recognized as national stereotypes. Although not clearly specified in the play, we are under the impression that Portia again is pleasant to the suitors’ faces but mocks them behind their backs – a cruel and deliberate deception. Finally Portia deceives the Prince of Arragon too. In his presence she describes him as a “noble prince” but again this is only a deception as in his absence she comments on all the men who have visited as being “deliberate fools”.
Bassanio deceives Portia into thinking he is rich. This is quite an important deception as it is linked directly to the main deception of the loan from Shylock. Bassanio needs money so he can borrow a ship and sail to Portia to ask if she will marry him. He also needs money to buy expensive gifts, again to deceive Portia. Bassanio brings “Gifts of rich value” and, although he is in debt, arrives as Portia’s suitor as if a rich man.
After successfully saving Antonio from Shylock, Portia (still disguised) requests Bassanio’s ring that she has given him as a token of loyalty, “And for your love I’ll take this