Classifying The Merchant Of Venice As A Comedy (Essay Sample)
Classifying The Merchant of Venice: The Merchant of Venice is a troublesome play to classify in the usual Shakespearean categories of comedy, history, or tragedy. Though it ends with several marriages and therefore matches the usual pattern of a comedy, it also contains some very dark and problematic elements, such as Shylock's essentially forced conversion to Christianity.
How do you think that we should view this play?
Is it really a comedy?
Is there any way to argue that it is a tragedy?
This final project will require you to gather research material, analyze it, evaluate it, and bring it together to act as support for your writing. All options require strong critical engagement with both the focal primary text(s) and with the required peer-reviewed sources.
Use 3 peers reviewed sources in addition to whatever primary texts they discuss (and these sources must be used, actually cited, in the essay, not just listed in the works cited at the end)
Define the understanding of tragedy and comedy; for some helpful sites, see Comedy and Tragedy by David L. Simpson of DePaul University, and the Comedy and Tragedy pages by Lisa Schnell of the University of Vermont.
be 1000-1500 words long (Double Spaced)
Classifying the Merchant of Venice as a Comedy
William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice does not fit the conventional definition of a tragedy. Instead, it can be categorized as an interesting and unique comedy. It lends itself as a primary source for teaching a variety of lessons in high schools and colleges. We know that Shakespeare's works mainly focus on tragedies, nature, love, relationships, and power, but The Merchant of Venice would definitely grab students' interest and add extra dimensions if they were exposed to comedies. The Merchant of Venice can be viewed as a controversial play by William Shakespeare because it has done a portrait of Shylock (the bloodthirsty moneylender) who is after Antonio. Shylock's never-ending lusts for barbaric revenge spring from the fact that he belongs to a Jewish family. We should notice that the author beautifully blends different values and issues with valid comedic elements, and the two primary plots are Portia's comedy and her relationship with Bassanio. At the same time, we cannot ignore the tragedies of Shylock and Antonio (Mulherin and Jennifer 16).
Shakespeare always divided his comedies into different plots which are thematically and structurally linked to one another. The primary and sub-plots of The Merchant of Venice create a sense of humor and are intertwined. A major and interesting element of comedies is music. Different techniques of music are used to engage the audience and create a unique and harmonic atmosphere. William Shakespeare picked up the themes of love and comedy for The Merchant of Venice. The story revolves around a strong and adorable female character, Portia. Antonio, on the other hand, is the merchant of Venice and the protagonist from whence the name was derived. He is always admired for his polite nature and good deeds. Bassanio is a suitor who borrows 3,000 ducats from his friend to pursue his goals.
Portia, as a rich and noble lady, agrees to abide by the wish of her dad and gets involved in an elaborate game (set by her father) to find a perfect match. She is a smart and witty lady who defeats the villain in the high court and saves Antonio's neck, proving that good always overcomes evil. Comedy in this play erupts from different sources; sometimes the villain himself leaves us smiling with his great sense of humor (McDonald and John 11). One of the main characteristics of a powerful comedy is that it contains happy resolutions of conflicts, and that was certainly reflected at the end of The Merchant of Venice. We should notice that happy endings always pertain to the protagonist or the leading character outlasting or surviving misfortune. Still, we feel that classifying The Merchant of Venice either as a comedy or a tragedy is tough as it contains elements of both. For instance, there are enough emotional melodramas proving that it is a tragedy. At the same time, it has all the major elements of a comedy and ends on a happy note. In The Merchant of Venice, none of the main or supporting characters die a sudden or tragic death. Even the villain of this play ends up looking an idiot by the time the play concludes (Mulherin and Jennifer 16).
We have observed that Shakespeare's villains are usually painful and tough, such as Lago and Shylock. Both of them were heartless and vicious. Antonio borrowed some money from Shylock despite knowi
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