Free Literature Review About The Merchant Of Venice

Type of paper: Literature Review

Topic: Humor, Comedy, Theater, Accident, Tragedy, Criminal Justice, Box, Choice

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/12/22

The play merchant of Venice has been placed in the comedy category, but this classification is problematic. There are certain sceneries in the play that cannot qualify as comedy. The play has certain dark parts make the play appear tragic.
The play by Shakespeare has both a mixture of comedy and tragedy. However, the play is mostly tragedy. The play begins on a sad note. Antonio is in a melancholic mood at the beginning of the play. All his investments are going to be lost at sea. He is sad but claims that he does not know the reason. He says “I know not why am so sad”. The sadness worries him so much. He gets into a problem with shylock, a money lender. There is nothing comical about the situation of Antonio. The audience cannot laugh about the situation of Antonio. The play begins on a tragic note. It cannot be classified as solely comedy.
The point in which Shylock is to take a pound of flesh from Antonio shows tragedy. He is ready with his knife. He is only waiting for permission from the judge to take a pound of flesh. He intends to revenge against the people who had made him suffer. He wants to revenge against the people who had frustrated him before. The position of Antonio is precarious. Shylock wants to take a pound of flesh from a point that is closest to Antonio’s heart. The real intention of shylock is to kill Antonio. This is a tragic moment. The end is near for Antonio. The court room gets so tense that it cannot be said to comical. The element of comedy only comes near the end. The situation is so tense that it cannot be considered comical.
The play shows the character Shylock wielding a knife and weighing scales and brings laughter from the audience due to the stereotypical depiction of a Jewish moneylender. In the same comedic scene Shylock is unjustly defeated and hopelessly succumbing to defeat, which depicts a tragedy of an entire society that perpetuated a hatred for Jews (Kok, S. 124)
In the same light to the court scene presents comedy. From the beginning of the court process, Shylock is happy with the proceedings. Whenever the judge says something that pleases him he says “a Daniel”. At some point he calls the Judge “a second Daniel”. This is because he believed that the judge was going to deliver judgment in his favor. He wants a judgment that would permit him to take his pound of flesh from Antonio. The tides change and the judge starts making pronouncements that do no please him. This part is comical, the audience laughs at this point.
However, there are Critics of Act V of the Merchant of Venice tend to not allow it to be comical because they are committed to portraying the Venetian corruption and racism they turn a comedy into a tragedy by portraying Shylock as a victim of prejudice. Therein, it lies on the director of the play on whether to choose the comedic or tragic depiction of Shylock in Act V (Beauchamp, G. 76). Act V, therefore, pose classification challenges. It runs from tragic to comical.
There is comedy in way Portia decides to become a lawyer. She disguises herself into a male in order to save Antonio from the wrath of shylock. Her disguise is comical. The way she tricks shylock at the beginning of the court session and the final delivery of judgment is comical. Jessica also disguises as her clerk as they proceed to court to save Antonio from Shylock.
The disguise by Jessica in order to elope with Lorenzo is comical. She disguises herself into a boy in order to escape from her father’s house. This part gives the play its comical elements. Lancelot Gobo also presents comedy. The way he takes is funny. His dealing that eventually facilitates the elopement between Lorenzo and Jessica is comical. He is depicted as a foolish character in the entire play. His anecdotes are laughable.
The time of Marrying Portia also contains elements of tragedy and comedy. The suitors that come to marry Portia suffer because they fail to choose the right box. Choosing the right box exercise is comical. The behavior of the Prince of Morocco and the Prince of Aragon cost them the bride. It is comical to see how the suitors make attempts at choosing the right box but fail. They all fail to choose the right box. An element of tragedy also comes in for Portia and the suitor who fail the right box test. It is a hand in mouth approach for Portia. She does not want to get married to both the Prince of Aragon and the Prince of Morocco, but the true decision lies in the box. The scene is both comical and tragic depending on the stand point. The prince of Morocco and the prince of Aragon lose in their attempts to woe Portia.
The scene is tense when Bassanio gets to choose the right Box. Portio is afraid that the suitor she prefers may choose the wrong Box. She even gets to guiding him in choosing the box that would allow him to marry her. It gets comical when Bassanio finally chooses the right box and gets the go ahead to marry Portia
It is tragic for shylock because his daughter Jessica has eloped with a Christian named Lorenzo. The Christians had vilified Shylock yet his daughter decides to elope with one of them. Shylock fails to unite with his daughter that he loves.
Despite the good things that happen in play at the end, it cannot be regarded as pure comedy. It has many elements of tragedy. It ends by Antonio becoming safe and other characters like Portia and Jessica getting married but it also has some dark elements. According to David Rooney, In 2004 Sony pictures released The Merchant of Venice as a motion picture, which was placed in the Drama genre as a tragedy and not a comedy. Film reviewer David Rooney write in September of 2004 that “there’s even less disguising onscreen than onstage that this is an uncomfortably anti-Semetic play and somewhat problematic for audiences”. Therein lies yet another example of how this play can be depicted in a more tragic than comic light, regardless of it happily ending in marriages (Rooney, D. 46)
It is, therefore, not possible to fix this play into one category. The play cannot either be a comedy or a tragedy. There is interplay of both comedy and tragedy in the entire play. There are tragic moments and comical moments throughout the play.

Works cited

Kok, S. M. The Merchant of Venice, 2013, Theatre Journal, 65(1), 123-125. Retrieved from
Beauchamp, G. Shylock's Conversion, 2011, Humanitas 24(1), 55-92, Retrieved on 16 March 2015, Retrieved from
Rooney, D. William Shakespeare's the Merchant of Venice, 2004, Variety 396, 45-46, retrieved on 16 March 2015, Retrieved from

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Free Literature Review About The Merchant Of Venice. Free Essay Examples - Published Dec 22, 2020. Accessed December 03, 2022.

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