Merchant Of Venice: Comparison Of The Marriage Plot And The Trial Plot

861 words - 3 pages

It is worthwhile to take a close look at the marriage and trial plots in The Merchant of Venice. The antagonists of the respective plots have similar goals; they seek access to power and privilege. However, the types of power they seek is very different. The methods they use of gaining power are also differ. Bassanio succeeds with his intent, but Shylock fails. Focusing on the before mentioned plots, one may draw some conclusions concerning the reasons of success and failure in this play.

            Let us look at the marriage plot. Already in I,i Bassanio reveals his plans of wooing Portia. He describes his undertaking as a quest; "her sunny locks/ Hang on her temples like a golden fleece/ Which makes her seat of Belmont Colchos' strond,/ And many Jasons come in quest of her."(I, i, 169-172). We might notice how he describes Portia's looks in an almost petrarchan manner. He is describing a single feature of her (her hair), and thereby objectifying her. More importantly, Bassanio's words tell us that he is aware of the economic gains that he can achieve through the bond of marriage. This makes us ask an essential question: What does Bassanio want to achieve through wooing Portia?

According to Frank Whigham in "Ideology and Class Conduct in The Merchant of Venice", he wants power through an assimilation into the elite. Bassanio has lost ventures before (I, i, 123-135), but now he's venturing to be free from financial worries. He seeks to rid himself with the fear the Venetians share when it comes to loss of security and privilege through the loss of money (I, i, 31-34). To this we might add that he also seeks love in marriage.

Since Bassanio spoke of his undertaking as a quest, it is natural to assume that there is a certain risk involved. So what does Bassanio risk? Obviously he is risking his friend's life. When Antonio signs the bond to help Bassanio, there is a certain risk that Antonio might die, how improbable it might seem to them at that point. He is also facing the risk of financial loss, should he fail in his quest. And if he fails in his quest, he is barred from the company of Portia and he is barred from access to the elite. But Bassanio does not fail. So what were the means to his success?

Again, according to Whigham, Bassanio succeeds because he is (consciously or subconsciously) aware of the language and outer...

Find Another Essay On Merchant of Venice: Comparison of the Marriage Plot and the Trial Plot

A comparison of the plot development of King Lear and Much Ado About Nothing

1179 words - 5 pages There are many things that you have to consider when you are writing a play or a story, about anything. The most important thing to consider when writing something is the plot development and how you are going to set everything up to make the ending fabulous! The play King Lear by William Shakespeare, and the play Much Ado About Nothing also by Shakespeare are very good examples of a writer setting up a play with a well thought out plot

The Role of Marriage in Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer’s Night Dream and The Merchant of Venice

1117 words - 5 pages Shakespearean comedies, like “The Taming of the Shrew”, “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” and “The Merchant of Venice”, typically end with a happy ending usually involving a marriage between a couple that was courting throughout the play. The ill-matched couples courting throughout the play often encounter obstacles and experience an uncanny style of courting. Shakespeare focuses on the hectic courting of the poorly matched individuals married at

Marriage in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility fully describes the relationship between plot and historical period and the public views of women / marriage

1396 words - 6 pages their plans for marriage are interrupted by various tribulations and misunderstandings, Jane Austen explores the customs of her society and the role of marriage during the early nineteenth century.The nineteenth century saw a great surge of events in history and politics: as Tony Tanner explains, "[Austen] saw- or lived through- the French Revolution, the rise (and fall) of Napoleon Bonaparte, the American War for Independence (and the war with

Plot And Sub Plot Of The Crucible

1823 words - 7 pages The Plot and Sub-Plot of 'The Crucible' Act One --The play opens in the home of Parris the local reverend, his daughter Betty is unconscious in bed.-- Believing that his daughter's illness is something to do with witchcraft he has sent for Reverend Hale to come and help the situation.-- It is revealed that Betty fell ill after being caught dancing in the woods by her father. She is said to have been with her seventeen year old cousin Abigail

The Plot of Frankenstein

1899 words - 8 pages Plot of the novel Victor hides from the creature in a remote part of the world which is below 0°C and was found by a group of crusaders seeking to destroy the monster. Part 1 – Lesson 1 Life and times of Mary Shelley Mary Shelley was born on 30th August 1797, Somers Town, in London. Her parents were called William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft. She had a depressing childhood because her mother died when she was 10 days old and

The Merchant of Venice

1209 words - 5 pages Comparison and Contrast of Shylock and Claudius Introduction This essay looks into the lives of Shylock and Antonio. These are two of Shakespearean antagonists of all time. They are alike in more ways than one. Shylock in Merchant of Venice is a Jewish moneylender based in Venice. He has been tormented and repressed mainly by the Christian population. One finds it easy to sympathize with him mainly because he has his own reasons to be loathing

"The Merchant of Venice".

1844 words - 7 pages minority.In comparison, Shakespeare's play "the merchant of Venice", is instead more complex and ambiguous then a simple crowd pleaser. Although entertaining there are several underlined political messages throughout, this can be seen as an observation of human nature. Through the character of shylock, Shakespeare attempts to explore the many issues of indifference, justice, accountability and social discrimination. The play can be interpreted in many

The Merchant of Venice

2976 words - 12 pages subjugating Antonio, firstly with her wealth, she offers to pay of his debt to Shylock three times more the amount he had bound himself, then she saves his life and finally teaching Bassanio that she can use her womanly powers to refuse him the consummating power in marriage, through the ring saga. There are two reasons why this paper dismisses the notion of homosexuality between Antonio and Bassanio in The Merchant of Venice. First throughout the

The Merchant Of Venice

756 words - 3 pages Appearances and Decisions ''Don't judge a book by its cover'' is a famous phrase everyone has heard. In the play, The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare clearly states that outer appearances aren't important throughout many scenes in the play. The inner qualities such as honesty, charity, and kindness are more important. Portia, a beautiful woman, hopes to find a husband ,but she must fulfill her father's will. He designs a lottery

The Merchant of Venice

521 words - 2 pages The Merchant Of VeniceAct 1In the fist act, Antonio is introduced as the Merchant of Venice. A friend of him, Bassanio, desperately needs money because all of his money is on his ships and he wants to go to Belmont to visit the woman of his dreams, Portia. Therefore he goes to Antonio to ask if he is willing to go to Shylock and ask him if he can have 3000 ducats. Antonio agrees and goes to Shylock and explains that he has to pay it back within

The Merchant of Venice

2425 words - 10 pages The Merchant of Venice The Merchant of Venice was written in 1598 by William Shakespeare. The story is set in Elizabethan times, which was the sixteenth century. People back then were quite prejudiced towards any race that was not Christian. They would have hated Jews. When Shylock would come onto the stage, the audience would have just booed him back off. The Christians had their reasons for hating the Jews. The fact that they supposedly

Similar Essays

The Trial Scene In The Merchant Of Venice

1556 words - 6 pages The Trial Scene in The Merchant of Venice Written between 1596 and 1598 "The Merchant of Venice" is not one of the most performed plays written by William Shakespeare. The play is classed as one of the sixteen comedy plays and most productions often use modern times and dress. It was performed in front of an audience who were not very well educated but the issues being raised in the play would have been understood. A

The Merchant Of Venice, The Trial Scene, A Commentary

2100 words - 8 pages One of the most central issues in 'The Merchant of Venice' is that of the antagonism between the Jews and the Christians. The unconscious, inborn dislike of cultures which jeopardise our way of life.Ever since people have left their homelands to settle in other places there has been conflict between different cultures. So, in the play, Antonio, Bassanio, Gratiano and many more of the Christians feel resentment towards Shylock the 'alien'. This

Comparison/Contrast: The Merchant Of Venice And Richard Iii

1005 words - 4 pages In William Shakespeare’s tale of The Merchant of Venice and Richard III both plays show similar qualities as well as differences between the two plays. The Merchant of Venice and Richard III are similar in that both plays have women that are independent. These women are not afraid to speak up and lash out with hard words towards who they do not prefer. In the Merchant of Venice, Portia never gives up. She is a very strong character and goes as

Comparison Between Merchant Of Venice And The Bible

2041 words - 8 pages ," has said. He must have overheard Launcelot say the word "Christian," yet he uses the biblical text incorrectly. He seems to use "Hagar's offspring" as a blanketed term for anyone that is not a Jew because he would see Isaac, the son of Sarah and Abraham as being more legitimate than the outcast Ishmael, son of Hagar and Abraham. ~Sarah Lichtner Overall Significance In Merchant Of Venice The descendants of Ishmael are often associated with