Sunday, May 17, 2020

The Distance that Separates us from Shakespeares...

The Distance that Separates us from Shakespeares Merchant of Venice Without a doubt, Shylock of Shakespeares The Merchant of Venice has been a subject of much controversy and debate for scholars and critics worldwide. Specifically, an element of his character that has been thoroughly reviewed is the harshness with which he proposes his bond with Antonio. As contemporary readers of the pound of flesh story we are naturally mortified by the fact that Shylock would call for such barbarous terms. What many of us do not realize is that while we might feel horror about the idea of the bond, the same is not necessarily true for an Elizabethan audience. This story has been a major source of misunderstanding for many of its readers, as†¦show more content†¦The dialogue between Shylock and Antonio occurs as follows: Shylock. This kindness I will show. Go with me to a notary, seal me there Your single bond, and, in a merry sport, If you repay me not on such a day, In such a place, such sum or sums as are Expressed in the condition, let the forfeit Be nominated for an equal pound Of your fair flesh to be cut off and taken In what part of your body pleaseth me. Antonio. Content, in faith. I’ll seal to such a bond, And say there is much kindness in the Jew. (2.1.139-149) It is clear in Antonio’s response that he finds nothing extraordinary about these terms at all. Without hesitation he accepts the conditions of the contract and even goes on to deem Shylock’s proposal as ‘kind.’ In the Shakespearian sense of the word, â€Å"kindness† even means tenderness, affection, love, or humaneness (Grebanier, 98). This should suggest to us that the idea to stake a pound of Antonio’s flesh is by no means a representation of Shylock’s devilishness or cruelty. After all, according to Shylock himself, it is only â€Å"in a merry sport† that they shall enter such an agreement. In light of textual scrutiny, it is also worthwhile to re-examine the court scene in which Shylock is now demanding the fulfillment of the bond. Shylock’s relentless pursuit of ‘his’ pound of flesh again serves to discredit his character in

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