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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: January ::
Re: Shylock Redux
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0109  Thursday, 23 January 2003

[1]     From:   Nora Kreimer <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 22 Jan 2003 12:00:52 -0300
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.096 Re: Shylock Redux

[2]     From:   Chris Stroffolino <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 22 Jan 2003 09:53:48 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0102 Re: Shylock Redux

[3]     From:   John W. Kennedy <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 22 Jan 2003 22:04:09 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0102 Re: Shylock Redux


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nora Kreimer <
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Date:           Wednesday, 22 Jan 2003 12:00:52 -0300
Subject: 14.096 Re: Shylock Redux
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.096 Re: Shylock Redux

  Por.        Tarry, Jew:
The law hath yet another hold on you.
It is enacted in the laws of Venice,
If it be prov'd against an alien  352
That by direct or indirect attempts
He seek the life of any citizen,
The party 'gainst the which he doth contrive
Shall seize one half his goods; the other half  356
Comes to the privy coffer of the state;
And the offender's life lies in the mercy
Of the duke only, 'gainst all other voice.
In which predicament, I say, thou stand'st;  360
For it appears by manifest proceeding,
That indirectly and directly too
Thou hast contriv'd against the very life
Of the defendant; and thou hast incurr'd  364
The danger formerly by me rehears'd.
Down therefore and beg mercy of the duke.
  Gra.  Beg that thou mayst have leave to hang thyself:
And yet, thy wealth being forfeit to the state,  368
Thou hast not left the value of a cord;
Therefore thou must be hang'd at the state's charge.
  Duke.  That thou shalt see the difference of our spirits;
I pardon thee thy life before thou ask it.  372
For half thy wealth, it is Antonio's;
The other half comes to the general state,
Which humbleness may drive into a fine.
  Por.  Ay, for the state; not for Antonio.  376
  Shy.  Nay, take my life and all; pardon not that:
You take my house when you do take the prop
That doth sustain my house; you take my life
When you do take the means whereby I live.

I think that a scholarly debate on the plays should be based on the
texts and not on faint recollections. Shylock is deprived not only of
ALL his money, but also of his house in the ghetto in Venice, and forced
to convert.

  Shy.  Nay, take my life and all; pardon not that:
You take my house when you do take the prop
That doth sustain my house; you take my life
When you do take the means whereby I live.

Antonio's generosity regarding Shylock's property is moving and most
impressive!

  Ant.  So please my lord the duke, and all the court,
To quit the fine for one half of his goods,  384
I am content; so he will let me have
The other half in use, to render it,
Upon his death, unto the gentleman
That lately stole his daughter:  388
Two things provided more, that, for this favour,
He presently become a Christian;
The other, that he do record a gift,
Here in the court, of all he dies possess'd,  392
Unto his son Lorenzo, and his daughter.
  Duke.  He shall do this, or else I do recant
The pardon that I late pronounced here.

In fear and surrounded by antagonists, the simplicity of the following
lines gives the pathos Shakespeare is famous for in his brief
utterances, usually containing monosyllabic words. Clipped sounds and
utterances to express agony

Por.  Art thou contented, Jew? what dost thou say?  396
  Shy.  I am content.

Por.        Clerk, draw a deed of gift.
  Shy.  I pray you give me leave to go from hence:
I am not well. Send the deed after me,  400
And I will sign it.

There is no mercy for Shylock at this court, as there was no mercy in
his heart for Antonio. They're even. Through a trick in the
interpretation of the law, the Jew was deprived of his ducats, his house
and his right to be different.

Regards
Nora Kreimer

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Stroffolino <
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Date:           Wednesday, 22 Jan 2003 09:53:48 -0800
Subject: 14.0102 Re: Shylock Redux
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0102 Re: Shylock Redux

Or, by Shakespeare comic convention, there is no one main character.
(well, if Ruth Nevo for instance is to be believed....) MV being
transitional between MND in which there's no one main character and
later ones in which the comic heroine grows. Portia is first attempt at
real sustained powerful comic heroine, it seems to me, but Shylock is a
would-be tragic character (in the wrong play) and these too check each
other, so the effect in many ways is that Portia is not often spoken of
as fondly as Rosalind, Viola, or even Beatrice and that Shylock is not
spoken of, even by his greatest sympathizers, as tragic a la Othello, or
Lear... But they are prototypes... (Oh gosh, I'm sounding like a cold
formalist)....

By another convention, Gratiano could be the main character because he
gets the last word. Ha ha...

Chris

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John W. Kennedy <
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Date:           Wednesday, 22 Jan 2003 22:04:09 -0500
Subject: 14.0102 Re: Shylock Redux
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0102 Re: Shylock Redux

Clifford Stetner <
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 > writes,

>Following normal convention, the protagonist would be Bassanio. The
>play, however, has two titles in the Stationer's Register: The Merchant
>of Venice or The Jew of Venice. Following Shakespeare's convention,
>Antonio or Shylock would be the candidates for "intended" "main
>character."

Ah.  Like Cymbeline?

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