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One of the central themes of the play is that of justice, the right to proper and fair treatment for individuals, these scenes seem to be the same in a different perspective of the trial.

From these scenes especially you can gather Shylocks view of the prejudice against him “…will be worth a Jews eye” which helps the reader to understand his actions further on. You see in these scenes Shylocks discontent with every one including his daughter, “…I have a Father, you a Daughter, lost.” This is the final comment made when they separate after a long argument over a comment Lancelot made, also this quote has irony as he does lose his daughter but leaves too quickly to listen. Even though Shylock uses discrimination as a reason for some of his actions Jessica is seen as a Jew but still has the respect of Christians. “Most beautiful pagan, most sweet Jew…” Lancelot who is a Christian complements Jessica this proves there can be respect between cultures and the slander against Shylock is not because he is a Jew.

Jessica is not a stereotypical woman of that century, she is strong willed and knows what she wants “would not have my Father see me in talk with thee.” Jessica always speaks her mind “Our house is hell…” Lorenzo as a man of that period would not want a dominant woman. An example of were she does this is when Jessica sends a letter to Lorenzo telling him about what he has to do, “She hath directed how I shall take her from her Fathers house.” In usual circumstances a woman such as Jessica would not marry into a lower class than her self. The language that she uses seems to be better spoken than her Father “… a merry devil didst rob it of some taste of tediousness.” Which indicates a good education because of the extravagant way that she puts her sentences, this may explain her strong will. It seems that a reason for Jessica to marry Lorenzo is for her to become a Christian “…I shall end this strife, become a Christian…” this maybe a cause or maybe an effect of her hate for her Father.

Lorenzo is deeply in love with Jessica “Fair Jessica shall be my torchbearer.” Torch is a metaphor for Lorenzo´s love and is saying he wants Jessica to have his love, this shows that he is truly in love and this is not a convenience marriage as some were such as Portia´s. In the three scenes and the rest of the Play Lorenzo does not have a major role. If Lorenzo were not entered into the play the audience would not have the twist in the play to draw out some of Shylocks personality. This shows when Shylock is quoted by Solanio as saying “my daughter, o my ducats…” here Shylock compares the loss of his daughter to the loss of his money as if they were two equal comparisons, this shows his ignorance in love and leads on to his insecurity. When Shylock is insecure he attempts to take control of other people such as his daughter, so when his daughter runs away it unsettles him, this was true until the chance came to take control of Antonio´s life. This effects the audience´s perception of Shylock for the better in my opinion because it generates sympathy.

It seems that Lorenzo and Jessica are very trusting towards people as they have told Salarino, Solanio, Lancelot and Gratiano about the wedding which they need to keep a secret from Shylock this indicates Jessica and Lorenzo are very Likable and these are all close friends. Lorenzo seems to be reliable “Tell gentle Jessica I will not fail her”; showing that Shakespeare wanted Lorenzo to appear nice to emphasise Shylock as being even more evil for not liking him.

The customary attitude in Shakespeare´s time was for play writers to give “high-born” characters the speech of such a class and differentiates this for any other class. This causes difficulty with Shylocks character when trying to categorise him into either of the two sections as he is not a Christian so would not be looked upon as higher class but still is not poor. I seems that Shakespeare mixed him into both to create a difference of feelings about Shylock as a person, examples of this are “What says the fool of Hagar´s offspring…” here the choice of words are extravagant just to make a simple point which shows he is educated. “Jessica my girl…” this is an informal way of addressing your daughter which an upper class citizen would not be seen to do. Some of the actions that he takes help support this idea such as when he turns down an invitation to supper; this is projected as something minor but in the lower class society this would be seen as a major insult. Also when he takes Antonio to trial for possibly his life, this seems to be a very primitive idea of justice. Another example of Shylocks language being of a lower class is in the quote “What says the fool of Hagar´s offspring.” When Shakespeare writes the speech of someone with a higher status the character displays their education in their language. Their education would have been with classical literature of Greece and Rome so they often refer to the mythology of these countries, “like a golden fleece which makes her seat of Belmont Colchos´ stand, and many Jason´s come in quest of her.” Here Bassanio is describing Portia whilst adding in mythology, it is seen as an even more impressive complement when Bassanio does this. But when someone from a lower status speaks there is no mythology but instead religious references from the Old Testament this is the same with old Gobbo, this helps the audience have extra depth of understanding in the text in the same manner that poets have. This is true because in this period it was the law to go to church and also more relevant with those of a higher status who usually viewed in courts, because the audience would have had the same education so would immediately understand any references made about Mythology.

When trying to conclude this play everything came back to class and society, because Venice was a class-dominated society. Where as if it was set in a more democratic or neutral country then the story may not of began and would not have finished in the way it did.


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