Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Merchant of Venice

Last Friday, I went to see the Shakespeare comedy, The Merchant of Venice, with my dad. It was preformed by the Seattle Shakespeare Company, and they did a TERRIFIC job! This was the first Shakespeare play I've ever seen, and I loved it. (Picture, from left: Lorenzo, Salario (I think), Antonio, and, uhh, I forgot his name.)


There were a lot of funny moments, and Gratiano, one of the comic relief characters, did a very good job, but I wouln't call it a comedy. It was funny, but, and this is a lot more visible if you're Jewish, it was a really sad and cruel story. My dad and I had a discussion about this in the car on the way home. Shylock was made into the terrible person he was by the protagonists of the play. They pushed him around his whole life, spat on him and called him a dog, all because of his Judeaism. All he had was his money, his religion, and his daughter. He had no friends or kindness. Then, when Jessica, his daughter, ran away to be with a Christian, Lorenzo, and stealing a large sum of money from him in the process, Shylock went nearly mad. He had lost nearly everything. Now all he had left was his religion and his chance for revenge. When Antonio's ships did not come back, and he could not pay back Shylock, Shylock was ready to take his life after he Antonio was proven guilty. Shylock wanted his revenge so badly, that he refused twice what he'd given Antonio from Bassanio. That's when Shylock literally lost everything. P0rtia came in disguised as a lawyer and lost Shylock his money, his home, and his religion even. They forced him to convert to a Christian. He could either take Antonio's life, and lose his own, or he lost everything. He'd even have to give half of it to his run away daughter and her husband. Shylock really is a sad story.

*****Spoilers over*****

Even through the sad story, I still loved the play. Great acting, especially by Shylock, Antonio, and Bassanio. Oh, and by Jessica. She was played by an intern even.

1 comment:

Q said...

The reason Shakespeare wrote it that way is because anti-semitism a tthe time was quite prevalent. I mean, nothing like the holocaust (they weren't that organized), but the prejudice was rampant. It is sad.