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Directing Act 4 Scene 1 Of Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice

3426 words - 14 pages

Directing Act 4 Scene 1 of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice

"I hate him for he is a Christian" (Act 1 Scene 3, line 34). This
quote tells me a lot about Shylock's true character, which would help
me to direct Act 4 Scene 1 of Shakespeare's play - A Merchant of
Venice. This is the aim of my essay.

Act 4 Scene 1 is very important, both within Act 4, and within the
play as a whole. Act 4 is the act in which Antonio and Shylock's trial
takes place and Antonio's life is saved. Scene 1 shows the trial and
is the main and longest scene in the act.

The Merchant of Venice is a play with many themes. It shows religious
conflict - between Judaism (represented by Shylock) and Christianity
(the general population of the play), money and friendship in the form
of Bassanio's loan, and the thin line between justice and revenge.

The Play starts in Venice, with Bassanio trying to borrow money from
Antonio, so that he can marry Portia of Belmont. Portia meanwhile, is
putting her potential suitors to the test that her father set for them
shortly before his death. She does not want to marry any of them, and
is just starting to tell of her feelings for Bassanio when
interrupted. Antonio agrees to take a 3000 ducat loan from Shylock
(the Jewish money lender), as he has his boats for security, whereas
Bassanio has nothing. However the condition on the loan, due to
Shylock's hate for Antonio is a pound of Antonio's flesh, if the loan
is not paid back in three months. While all of this is going on,
Shylock's daughter Jessica runs away with Lorenzo, a young Christian,
and Bassanio goes to Belmont and wins Portia for his wife. Antonio is
taken to trial by Shylock, after news that his boating ventures have
failed. Portia and her maid, Nerissa swap rings with their husbands -
Bassanio and his friend Gratiano respectively - and vow never to part
with the rings. Bassanio and Gratiano rush to Venice to try to argue
for Antonio's bond to be dismissed by law and Portia and Nerissa dress
up as men to act as Antonio's defence lawyer and clerk. In Court,
Shylock finds himself defeated - as his bond does not allow for him to
spill any blood. Because the court also ruled that he was trying to
take a Venetian's life, he nearly loses his life. Instead he loses all
of his wealth and is forced to become a Christian. Portia and Nerissa
- still disguised as lawyers, persuade Bassanio and Gratiano to give
away their rings as payment for saving Antonio's life. Everyone
returns to Belmont triumphant and it is learned that Antonio's ships
are all safe. After some light hearted argument. The rings are
returned to Bassanio and Gratiano and the play ends on a happy note.

The direction is very important in plays that are written for theatre,
as it is sometimes difficult to convey messages and feelings in a
theatre -...

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