The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare can be found as a play or a movie, and has hundreds of different interpretations. In each adaptation one common theme remains: Outward appearances do not always reflect the truth and can often be deceiving. I found this both extremely interesting, and extremely relatable, because even though Shakespeare lived 400 years ago we can still see this theme in our everyday lives. On a large public scale it can be seen in politics, and on a smaller more personally relatable scale I experience it with meeting people online. I really liked seeing this because it shows that really nothing much has changed, and I like to think that even 400 years before Shakespeare’s time it was the same.
Another thing I really enjoyed was contrasting what was written by Shakespeare himself, and what Micheal Radford directed in his screenplay. If I were to have only experienced one of the variations I would not get as rich an experience as I did. I find Radford’s interpretation very interesting because as Mr. MacKnight says: “Books raise questions”. Which is true in the case of Shakespeare’s take, but Radford’s seems to answer those questions for us. For example, in the original, it is unclear as to if Bassanio and Antonio are homosexual. But in Radford’s edition he clearly indicates that there is another type of love there.
Similarly, we see more of how interpretation changes the way a story is with Shylock’s conversion to Christianity. Back when the play was written it would be clear that Shylock would be the bad guy and would go through all these terrible things to in the end find salvation in Christianity. This would be in line with the beliefs of the Christian population at the time, but would seem pretty terrible to us. So instead we see his forced conversion to Christianity as a punishment. I of course agree with the modern take but I enjoyed how by changing the way you interpret the story will completely.
In the end I really enjoyed reading and watching both things because it made me realize that I actually do like Shakespeare. All my life before I thought Shakespeare was some old bum who spoke nonsense but now that I can understand it better, I can appreciate the great story he writes. I never thought I would say this but I wish they would make more Shakespeare plays into movies. Luckily, Steven Spielberg is remastering West Side Story which I will most likely watch.