Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Merchant of Venice Act 5


wahoo! another play under my belt! i am going to have to knuckle down through July and august and really attack this stuff so i can get a bunch of them read and a lot faster or i'm never going to make it! I CAN DO IT i can do iticandoitiCANdoit! woot!

act 5, scene 1
Lorenzo and Jessica engage in friendly banter until Stephano arrives with news that Portia and Nerissa will arrive soon. Lancelot also enters with news that Bassanio and Gratiano will arrive with Antonio in tow. Portia arrives first, and makes everyone promise they will not tell the boys that they have been gone from Belmont. everyone agrees just in time for the boys to arrive. introductions are made and everyone is happy until Gratiano and Nerissa get into a fight. she has 'noticed' that he isn't wearing the ring she gave him. Portia 'notices' the same of Bassanio. Portia and Nerissa give them a REALLY hard time about it although they, of course, have the rings. Bassanio makes excuses, and Portia meets them every step of the way. (see quote below.) eventually the girls 'forgive' the guys and offer them new rings, which are actually the old rings. they momentarily pretend that they got the rings by sleeping with the doctor and the clerk, but the truth is soon revealed. all is well. Portia reveals that (gasp) some of Antonio's ships have made it after all. he is saved! Portia also reveals to Lorenzo and Jessica that they are inheriting Shylock's estate when he dies. and they all lived happily ever after... except Shylock.

FOR THE RECORD: i am still on Shylock's side til the very end. the lovers are mean-spirited fools. i don't think Shylock's a villain at all. to me, he;s just a man at the end of his long, weary, frayed rope.

big question: what's the point of this scene? and it's so long for no reason! opinion: this scene is dumb. why is it that in these plays people always lie to each other and are immediately forgiven? it's nuts!

what a strange little play this is. seriously. weird. it starts as a romantic comedy. it ends as a romantic comedy. but in the middle it's sort of a social drama. it reminds me of how Romeo and Juliet starts off feeling like a romantic comedy but turns into a tragedy. he's really good at this genre-bending thing. i wonder how revolutionary (or not) that was at the time these plays were performed. i know it is surprising to me now! loving it. hope there's more to come.

i do love how Shakespeare keeps writing these sassy, take-charge, intelligent women. not always, of course, but there have definitely been a few. get it Shakespeare!

quote of the day:
'Bassanio: sweet Portia,
if you did know to whom i gave the ring,
if you did know for whom i gave the ring,
and would conceive for what i gave the ring,
and how unwillingly i left the ring,
when naught would be accepted but the ring,
you would abate the strength of your displeasure.

Portia: if you had known the virtue of the ring,
or half her worthiness that gave the ring,
or your own honor to contain the ring,
you would not have then parted with the ring.'

for tomorrow: sonnets!

-rebecca may, unabashed Shylock lover!

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