Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Merchant of Venice Act 3, Scenes 1 and 2


happy fourth of July, everyone! i celebrated by sleeping in, visiting my grandma for a couple of hours, working, and finishing my night off at my friend Robin's house over a yummy dinner and some sangria while fireworks went off in her neighborhood for hours. it was quite a fun and eventful day.this did not leave much time for Shakespeare, but i managed to squeeze in bits and pieces here and there to get my reading donezo! hope you are reading along and enjoying this play as much as i am!

act 3, scene 1
Salerio and Solanio are discussing the current state of affairs for Antonio. unfortunately, he has lost one of his ships. Shylock comes on the scene, very upset by the loss of his daughter and his money. Salerio and Solanio give him a hard time about it, but Shylock won't hear it. they also bring up Antonio's lost ship to Shylock, doubting that he will actually take that pound of flesh he said he would. he shuts them up real quick. (see quote below.) the gentlemen exit as Tubal enters to deliver news to Shylock. Tubal has searched high and low, but he hasn't found Jessica. he has, however, learned that a bunch of Antonio's ships have wrecked. Shylock also learns that his daughter traded a ring of her mother's in order to buy a monkey. fueled by his rage toward his daughter, Shylock sends Tubal to fetch a bailiff to take care of this Antonio business.

act 3, scene 2
Bassanio, Portia, Gratiano, and Nerissa are in Portia's house, enjoying each other's company. Portia doesn't want Bassanio to try the challenge yet because she doesn't want him to leave, but he just wants to do it and get it over with. when he does choose, he passes right over gold and silver to choose lead. in that case, of course, Bassanio finds an image of Portia and a little rhyme that tells Bassanio that he has won Portia's hand. Portia is extremely happy, as is Bassanio. Portia gives him a ring to seal the deal. Gratiano then reveals that he and Nerissa want to get married too. although Portia and Bassanio are shocked, they are happy for them as well. Lorenzo, Jessica, Salerio, and a messenger arrive. Salerio has dragged them there to give Bassanio a letter from Antonio. from Antonio's letter they learn of what has happened back in Venice with Antonio. Bassanio also admits the full truth to Portia. Portia supports Bassanio completely. she tells him to get the heck out of there and go help his friend.

i must say... i am still totally on Shylock's side here. yeah, if my daughter sold my dead wife's ring for a monkey, i'd be pretty ticked off too. and if this jerk messed with me every single day and i had a chance to get back at him, i might do that too. okay, i wouldn't cut off a chunk of his flesh but you know what i mean... is anyone else with me on this one?

i also noticed that i was actually a little moved by Portia and Bassanio's romance. i find the romances in Shakespeare's work to be more and more touching. the first few plays, i didn't care at all about the couples, but now i'm starting to come around. i don't know if it's me or Shakespeare, but i'm diggin' it. i can't wait to see what happens next!!!

quote of the day:
'Salerio: ...thou wilt not take his flesh. what's that good for?
Shylock: to bait fish withal. if it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. he hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and what's his reason? i am a Jew. hath not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? if you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? if we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. if a Jew, wrong a Christian, what is his humility? revenge. if a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? why, revenge. the villainy you teach me i will execute, and it shall go hard but i will better the instruction.'
   -act 3, scene 1

for tomorrow: the rest of act 3. wahoo!

-rebecca may, fellow traveler of Shylock

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