Merchant of Venice - Plot Structure

1714 Words Oct 22nd, 1999 7 Pages
<center><b>Show how the plot of ‘The Merchant of Venice' is apparently fanciful but in reality exactingly structured.</b></center>
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<br>"The Merchant of Venice is a fairy tale. There is no more reality in Shylock's bond and the Lord of Belmont's will than in Jack and the Beanstalk."
<br>H. Granville-Barker, in Prefaces to Shakespeare.
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<br>This is one way of looking at the play, reading it or enjoying the performance. But it can be a contradiction to our actual feelings about this complex play. ‘The Merchant of Venice' might appear to be a romantic tale without much logic but that would be a superficial interpretation. Portia's father may have raised our concerns in taking away her freedom to choose her beloved; Shylock's bond and
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But this scene can also be seen as a Christian parable that attempts to reconcile two conflicting principles: justice and mercy. And the climax is about the difference between a judgement that would be made in terms of the letter of the law and one that would be made in terms of the spirit of the law.
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<br>The Casket theme is also about judgement. But is it by appearance or by reasoning? It is suggested that the spontaneous feeling of love that will lead the way.
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<br>Chance also plays an important part in the play. Shylock had no way of knowing that Antonio would suffer a complete loss and default his bond and even Antonio would never have thought that he would not get even one of his ships back and not be able to pay the money. Also the way that Portia disguises herself as the doctor is also very improbable but one accepts it. The Ring story is also fanciful and today we might find it an unnecessary addition but it was needed to tie up the loose ends of the play and for the story to have a happy ending in Belmont.
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<br>Irving Wardel in The Times wrote, "it is the case with this play that while its form is that of a fairy tale its characters are open to realistic analysis." Shylock is one of the main characters of the play but this also depends on the way that his character is played. He has mostly been portrayed as a comic character but when he is the tragic protagonist he ‘usurps the center of the stage.' Shylock "represents the killjoy against whom