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The Merchant of Venice Day One Slide Show ENGL 305 Dr. Fike.

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Presentation on theme: "The Merchant of Venice Day One Slide Show ENGL 305 Dr. Fike."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Merchant of Venice Day One Slide Show ENGL 305 Dr. Fike

2 Business Please underline your thesis statement (if you have one) and pass your paper proposal forward. Note: If you have not used Courier New 12-point, you must reprint your assignment asap.

3 Analysis Paper Stage two is a development of your proposal—5-page (minimum) nonresearched analysis paper. Of course, some topics cannot be done without a little bit of research, but try to limit yourself to reference works and primary sources (e.g., the OED, a dictionary of mythology, historical material, and other primary sources such as Freud or Jung). Leave the secondary research until later: do not let critics take over your project. You may want to think of this stage as a New Critical paper (i.e., a paper written straight from the primary text and your head). The main goal of the assignment is to continue to engage with the text and to refine your thesis. Nonetheless, it may be appropriate at this stage to read a copy of “The Correct Use of Borrowed Information” and review the MLA format. As with the paper proposal, you must have a list of works cited at the end of your analysis paper. Note: This is an ANALYSIS paper; therefore, you will need something to analyze (not summarize or narrate). In this respect, a single passage can often serve as your focused topic. If you do not have such a passage, be sure that you have some kind of aggregate of quotations so that you can analyze as a focused topic. Also keep in mind the difference between explication and analysis. Explication offers a detailed explanation of what something says. It is the foundation for analysis, which involves using what something says to support a controversial thesis statement.“The Correct Use of Borrowed Information”

4 Nosich 68 This is the page in your critical thinking manual that asks ten questions, one per element. A way to begin your analysis paper would be to put your topic through the elements, using these questions.

5 Review Bottom’s name and the word “dream” in the title may refer to various things. Especially if the queen was present for a performance of MSND, the play honored her status as the virgin queen, but it may also have gently reminded her that she had not produced an heir. (Re. power: Oberon:Titania::Shakespeare:Elizabeth.) In any case, the play apparently served the same function for its original audience as Pyramus and Thisbe serves for the court characters. Consider this homology: P&T:characters::characters:audience:: audience:_________? “Complementarity”: Theseus is positive and negative, and what we know about his son Hippolytus undermines Oberon’s blessing. Imagination: Lover > lunatic. But lunatic and lover are to intrapsychic as poet is to extrapsychic. Only the poet performs a useful social function. Theseus’s negative speech is actually Shakespeare’s positive praise of the poet’s role (i.e., an apology for poetry). P&T is a tragic version of what happens to the lovers in the woods. It reminds us that comedy has tragic potential. Tragedy is failed comedy.

6 Outline Day One: –Discussion of Antonio. –Discussion of Shylock. Day Two: –Mini-lecture on usury. See “Usury Handout.” –Group One: Discussion of 1.3.69-100 and Genesis 30:25 to 31:16. Bring your own Bible. What is the relationship between the two texts? How does Genesis help you read this passage from MV? –Group Two: Discussion of the casket scenes. Why does Portia’s father establish the casket test? Why don’t Morocco and Aragon choose correctly? What about Bassanio? The casket scenes appear in 2.7, 2.9, and 3.2. –Whole Class: Discussion of a key motif: venturing. Who ventures in MV? Day Three: –Shylock’s attitude toward the bond. –Group Activity: Portia’s speech at 4.1.182ff. “The quality of mercy….” Get the “MV Exercise” on our course calendar (the link is called “Portia’s Mercy Speech”). –The ending—Act 5.

7 Other Resources ENGL%20305/305%20MV%20Page.htm ENGL%20305/305%20MV%20Page.htm

8 Mixture Why I like The Merchant of Venice: Christian and classical elements. –Isaac, Jacob, Esau; dish of doves; mercy; Old Test. to New; etc. –Jason and other classical lovers, Endymion and Diana, Hercules and Hesione. –“Disappointment in The Merchant of Venice”: 05/305%20MV%20Paper.htm. 05/305%20MV%20Paper.htm Bedford 149: There were “two overriding characteristics of [Shakespeare’s] practice as an adapter: first, his eclecticism, his genius for combining classical stories with other materials, both ancient and modern, to form new creations; and second, his ability to expand and multiply characters, episodes, and effects in order to surpass the classical models.”

9 Which Mode? Hard to figure out what kind of comedy it is: –Not a “festive” comedy like MSND or Twelfth Night. –Not a full-blown “problem comedy” like Troilus and Cressida, All’s Well That Ends Well, or Measure for Measure. –Not a perfect match for our MSND chart. Not a totally happy ending. No restorative return to Venice (next slide). Hard to figure out how to view Shylock. Do you know why (see two slides below)? Shylock is our central problem on days two and three.

10 Mixed Modes, Bedford 97 “The Merchant of Venice is probably the most illustrative example of the high cost of comic resolution. The lovers’ gathering at Belmont in act 5, musical and joyous though it may be, is overshadowed by their intolerable treatment of Shylock in the trial scene (4.1). The movement toward assimilation that normally unites the cast in the last moments is not strong enough to include Shylock, who is stripped of his wealth, his daughter, and his religion and who leaves the stage for the last time in act 4. Although the merchant Antonio is present for the festivities in the last act, he has no partner and must go home alone.”

11 Problem? Can we understand the play as the original audience did?

12 Harold Bloom, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human 189 “The Holocaust made and makes The Merchant of Venice unplayable, at least in what appear to be its own terms.”

13 Question So how DID Elizabethans view Jews? See next slide.

14 Jo McMurtry, Understanding Shakespeare’s England: A Companion for the American Reader 146-47 In theory, at least, the Elizabethans did not know any Jews, for Jews had been banned from England since the late thirteenth century. There was, nevertheless, a small Jewish community in London, temporary residents in that the authorities could throw them out at any time. They were not part of the general environment, and the typical Englishman had neither a personal acquaintance with individual Jews nor any detailed knowledge of Jewish culture. Headline cases, so to speak, such as the trial and execution of Roderigo Lopez, a physician to Queen Elizabeth who was accused of plotting to poison her, simply confirmed the stereotype. The stereotype was lurid indeed. Jews, to begin with, were already barred from spiritual salvation by their ancestors' having preferred Barabbas to Christ when Pilate offered to free one or the other (Matthew 27:21); there was thus no hope for them and they could be considered in a sense nonhuman. In the popular imagination, Jews spent most of their time kidnapping Christian children for sacrifice in secret rites. During leisure moments, they arranged loans at high interest and extorted payments from helpless victims. Each possessed piles of ill-gotten wealth which it behooved honest Christians to take away from them. And each usually possessed, as well, a beautiful daughter who wanted nothing more than to be rescued from her cultural fate by some handsome Christian.

15 Chaucer, “The Prioress’s Tale” Jews slit the throat of a Christian boy and cast him into a “privy drain” (outhouse).

16 Discussion Questions about Antonio In what sense is Antonio the central character? Why is he sad at the opening of the play? What kind of Christian is he? What kind of businessman is he? Discuss one of these questions in a small group. Go on to another question if you have time. 7 minutes.

17 First Question In what sense is Antonio the central character?

18 Salerio and Solanio Shylock ANTONIO Duke Jessica Lancelot Old Gobbo Bassanio Lorenzo Gratiano Portia & Nerissa

19 Why is Antonio sad at the opening of the play? What are the possibilities?

20 Possible Reasons for Antonio’s Sadness Loss of ships Love Bassanio (2.8.50) Homosexuality? Guilt for treating Shylock badly? Depression? Bipolar disorder? Birenbaum’s answers (next slides)

21 A Critical Perspective “Antonio might be saying: ‘If only I did not have to be in a play with this Shylock.’ His sadness is an emotional bridge from the romance world [Belmont; cf. Frye’s “second world”] to the environment of pain” (78). Source: Harvey Birenbaum, “A View from the Rialto: Two Psychologies in The Merchant of Venice.” San José Studies 9 (1983): 68-82. How do you evaluate this statement?

22 Birenbaum 79 “It is no wonder that Antonio is melancholy! It is he, the titular hero, who is central to the testing-out process. It is he who would live in both worlds, the Christian merchant, and who is therefore caught most poignantly between them. His Venetian ducats secure the golden treasure of Belmont through the humility of his open-handedness. He does not register the implications of his ordeal consciously and explicitly, and he does not undergo any real change of character as a result of it” (my emphasis). What does this quotation suggest about Antonio’s sadness? Do you agree with Birenbaum?

23 My Answer See 2.6.13-14: GRATIANO:All things that are Are with more spirit chasèd than enjoyed. What does this suggest about the human reaction to life? About Antonio?

24 Point Antonio may be sad because material acquisition is disappointing. Achievement of any goal brings less satisfaction than one hopes and expects. Acquisition leads to disappointment, and disappointment leads to sadness.

25 What kind of Christian is Antonio? What kind of businessman is he? Are there positives? See 1.3.41. Are there negatives? See 1.3.110.

26 Discussion Questions about Shylock What is Shylock’s attitude toward the bond? –1.3.38ff. –1.3.159ff. What causes his attitude to change? Does it really change? What is his motivation? Friendship? Revenge? Both? Neither? Something else? END

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