Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Merchant of Venice Act 4, Scenes 1 and 2


hellooooo everyone! second day off is at hand. i hoped to wake early this morning to get a lot accomplished so i could spend my evening reading or playing video games, but unfortunately our car got towed last night. we had to get a ride to the tow place. the towing guys were complete and utter JERKS (i'm sure you've experienced this before). and we had to pay a bunch of money to get our car back even though i parked at my own church, where i've parked a dozen of times outside of church hours. !!! but whatevs. so anyway, we didn't get home til like 4 am. it was INSANE! so i couldn't drag myself up early and i didn't get started soon enough and so... no fun and games tonight for me. but eventually I WILL TRIUMPH! oh yes, i will. my goal is to have one whole day where i do no chores, no errands, no tasks for other people-- i spend the WHOLE DAY just relaxing, watching movies, playing games, reading, and having a good ol' time. just mark my words, it WILL happen... but for now... on to Shakespeare!

act 4, scene 1
the Duke, Shylock, Antonio, etc are all gathered in court. the Duke offers his sympathy to Antonio, but Antonio is resigned to accept his fate. the Duke spends a lot of time trying to talk Shylock out of taking the pound of flesh, but it doesn't work. Shylock has a pretty credible argument. (see quote below.) the Duke has called a doctor to court. this doctor is conveniently Portia's uncle (remember, she got men's clothes from him?), and so Portia and Nerissa arrive dressed as men. Portia plays the young doctor sent by her uncle. she/he tries to talk Shylock out of this pound of flesh thing, but it still doesn't work. Shylock is resolute. finally Portia proclaims that there is nothing she can do; Shylock will have his pound. he is stoked! but wait... the doctor has just thought of something... Shylock can have his pound of flesh, but he's not allowed to shed one drop of blood or he's in violation of the bond. Shylock immediately realizes where this is going and tries to just get the money back instead. instead, Portia continues to taunt him: oh yeah, if an 'alien' threatens a citizen, it's against the law. that means the government and Antonio are entitled to all of his assets. Antonio offers this option: if Shylock will become a Christian, he can have half of his assets back. also, he has to agree to leave everything to his deserting daughter and her husband when he dies. Shylock is crushed. he asks to be given leave because he is not feeling well. if the papers are sent to him, he will sign them. he leaves and everyone else celebrates.
act 4, scene 2
papers are delivered to Shylock. and Bassanio gives the ring his wife (Portia) gave him to the disguised Portia. (it's complicated.)

why is Antonio so resigned? why?!? WHY?!?!?!?

why was a doctor called to court? i'm not quite understanding that one.

oh yeah, also... i'm still on Shylock's side!!!

Christianity by force? good one, Antonio! i repeat, i am on Shylock;s side here. was this common then? harass someone and pressure them into being a Christian until they really have no choice? nice. it really does feel like Shakespeare is trying to shed some light on huge social injustices. what do you think?

here's how i feel about this: you beat a dog until it learns to growl and bite at you. it growls and bites at you. you beat it. (get where i'm going here?)

quote of the day:
'what judgement shall i dread, doing no wrong?
you have among you many a purchased slave,
which, like your asses and your dogs and mules,
you use in abject and in slavish parts,
because you bought them. shall i say to you,
"let them be free, marry them to your heirs!
why sweat they under burdens? let their beds
be made as soft as yours, and let their palates
be seasoned with such viands?" you will answer
"the slaves are ours." so do i answer you:
the pound of flesh which i demand of him
is dearly bought, is mine, and i will have it."
   -Shylock; act 4, scene 1

for tomorrow: act 5, or parts thereof

-rebecca may

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