The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0050 Monday, 28 January 2008
From: William Blanton <
Date: Sunday, 27 Jan 2008 11:54:40 -0600
Subject: Trial Scene, MV
I am researching an article on the Trial Scene in _The Merchant of
Venice_ and would be grateful for some help. I am not a professional
scholar, so please accept my apologies if my questions cross any lines.
My first questions are these:
(1) Why did Shakespeare make the Duke of Venice the one in authority (at
least at the outset) to decide the case of Shylock v. Antonio, rather
than a judicial officer of some kind?
(2) Why did Nicholas Rowe, Alexander Pope, Lewis Theobald (a practicing
lawyer, I believe), Samuel Johnson, and other early editors either
replace or supplement the mute Magnificoes with "Senators" and set the
Trial Scene in the "Senate-house in Venice"?
(3) Why did Edward Capell change this tradition (if tradition it be) by
eliminating the Senators, adding "Officers of the Court of Justice" to
the Trial Scene, but nevertheless having the Duke of Venice enter "in
(4) Is there a source on the net for Capell's Notes?
Of course, please let me know if anyone has published an analysis of
this very puzzling (to me anyway) sequence.
W. N. (Bill) Blanton
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