I enjoyed reading The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare and can say that this was by far my most favorite book we have studied this year. This play leaves so many questions and a disturbing feeling of melancholy, which makes it so significant to me. Unlike Romeo and Juliet for example, this play does not have a “happy end”. Shylock is forced to become a Christian after being stripped away of his daughter and money in return for seeking revenge, Antonio is once again left to be alone, Portia cannot trust her husband and more..
The plot of the play covers racism, discrimination, revenge and antisemitism and is considered to be a classic. Piety is a great theme in this play as we see this in the Jewish and the Christian communities.
Shylock’s speech in the book seems to be less powerful compared to the movie, but we can still sense the tragedy as Solanio and Salarino talk amongst each other about the old Jew that “uttered in the streets” “My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter! Fled with a Christian!”. As we are reading this from the side, we cannot fully comprehend the whole spectrum of emotion that Shylocks is going through, which I think is a very important part to the play, as we, readers, grow to sympathise for him; the famous speech by Shylock is a great example.
Despite this being one of my top favorite works of literature this year, I definitely struggled reading the play. Confusing words and sentences which at times did not make any sense at all, for example
“The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose”- Antonio, Act 1 Scene 3. P15 or “Young in limbs, in judgement old” – Morocco, Act 2 Scene 7
Shakespearean English is tough to grasp at first as the flow of the lines are very unique and have their own sense of style, but you get used to the structure of the play and the language. “Whither goest thou?” – Lorenzo, Act 2 Scene 4 p 30 is an example of those lines which made no sense at first, sounded weird when I tried to say it, but as I continued to read the play were becoming fun to recite.
Regardless of the challenges I think that in the future I will pick up other books by Shakespeare on my own time.