History YMMV / TheMerchantOfVenice

12th Nov '17 1:41:43 AM ArcaneAzmadi
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* IAmNotShazam: The eponymous Merchant is Antonio, not Shylock. But you are forgiven for the confusion because the play itself spends more time on Shylock than on Antonio.

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* IAmNotShazam: The eponymous Merchant is Antonio, not Shylock. But you are forgiven for the confusion because the play itself spends more time on Shylock than on Antonio. To complicate matters, while attempting to trace [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Merchant_of_Venice#Date_and_text the history of the play]] it was apparently entered into the Register of the Stationer's Company under both the names "The Merchant of Venice" ''and'' "The Jew of Venice".
4th Nov '17 10:50:59 PM TheGreatConversation
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* HoYay: Antonio and Bassanio. It was explicitly mentioned early on in the play that Bassanio is [[KissingCousins Antonio's cousin]].

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* HoYay: Antonio and Bassanio. It was explicitly mentioned early on in the play Bassanio's stuff is blatant enough that Bassanio is [[KissingCousins Antonio's cousin]].it's just plain HomoeroticSubtext. But that doesn't stop us from shipping our darling merchant with pretty much any other male characters--most prominently Salanio/Salarino and "Balthasar," Portia's SweetPollyOliver alter-ego.
-->'''Bassanio:''' ''(to Balthasar)'' Most worthy gentleman, I and my friend\\
Have by your wisdom been this day acquitted\\
Of grievous penalties ...\\
'''Antonio:''' And stand indebted, over and above,\\
In ''love'' and ''service'' to you evermore.[[note]]*wink*[[/note]]
24th Oct '17 10:43:20 PM rjd1922
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** Though to be fair, comedy in Shakespeare's day would probably just have meant that everything turned out alright in the end and no one ends up dead (which is true: the [[ValuesDissonance villain]] is defeated and all the couples get together), rather than the laugh-out-loud definition of comedy we have now.

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** Though to be fair, comedy in Shakespeare's day would probably just have meant that everything turned out alright in the end and no one ends up dead (which is true: the [[ValuesDissonance [[DesignatedVillain villain]] is defeated and all the couples get together), rather than the laugh-out-loud definition of comedy we have now.
19th Oct '17 11:08:35 PM JulianLapostat
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** The character of Shylock is open to lots of it, largely because he's not drawn as unambiguously evil as other Jewish characters of the same time (Marlowe's ''Theatre/TheJewOfMalta'' comes to mind.) Is he a greedy bastard who cares for nothing but money? Is he a hard-nosed businessman who knows that his only protection from those who would like to see him ruined is his reputation as a bastard? Is he the victim of repeated bullying and abuse who finally gets what he believes is a chance to take revenge on the person who has abused him the most -- and do it legally? Is his famous soliloquy meant to reinforce his humanity, or to reveal that his non-Christian faith prevents him from fully grasping what it means to be human (since he only mention physical traits like eyes and hands and blood, instead of metaphysical concepts like [[OurSoulsAreDifferent the immortal soul]])?

to:

** The character of Shylock is open to lots of it, largely because he's not drawn as unambiguously evil as other Jewish characters of the same time (Marlowe's ''Theatre/TheJewOfMalta'' comes to mind.) it. Is he a greedy bastard who cares for nothing but money? Is he a hard-nosed businessman who knows that his only protection from those who would like to see him ruined is his reputation as a bastard? Is he the victim of repeated bullying and abuse who finally gets what he believes is a chance to take revenge on the person who has abused him the most -- and do it legally? Is his famous soliloquy meant to reinforce his humanity, or to reveal that his non-Christian faith prevents him from fully grasping what it means to be human (since he only mention physical traits like eyes and hands and blood, instead of metaphysical concepts like [[OurSoulsAreDifferent the immortal soul]])?



* DesignatedVillain:
** The [[http://pursuedbyabear.net/pbab/448/ 1980 TV Movie]] by the BBC exerts quite a bit of effort to portray Shylock as an unsympathetic version of this.
* DracoInLeatherPants: For modern audiences, Shylock undoubtedly gets this. This was also the case in earlier eras but more for the prosaic reasons that Shylock gets all the cool lines.

to:

* DesignatedVillain:
**
DesignatedVillain: The [[http://pursuedbyabear.net/pbab/448/ 1980 TV Movie]] by the BBC exerts quite a bit of effort to portray Shylock as an unsympathetic version of this.
* DracoInLeatherPants: For modern audiences, Shylock undoubtedly gets this. This was also the case in earlier eras but more for the prosaic reasons that Shylock gets all the cool lines.



* JerkassWoobie: One interpretation of Shylock, especially if you see him as a victim of abuse who's taking revenge on his abuser, and loses everything as a result.

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* JerkassWoobie: One interpretation of Shylock, especially if you see him as a victim of abuse who's taking revenge on his abuser, and loses everything as a result. His final lines in the play, after being outfoxed and humiliated by Portia (in disguise), and then being denied the monetary payment that he had initially refused, and then being forced to convert by Antonio and give all his possessions away and then being asked if he is content is heartbreaking. Especially his final lines:
--> '''Shylock''': "I pray you, give me leave to go from hence;\\
I am not well. Send the deed after me\\
And I will sign it."



* RootingForTheEmpire: [[ValuesDissonance Thanks to the anti-Semitism of the day,]] Shylock was likely written to be received as a straight-up menacing bad guy. In modern times, he is almost universally seen (and portrayed) as a sympathetic and tragic antagonist.

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* RootingForTheEmpire: [[ValuesDissonance Thanks to the anti-Semitism of the day,]] Shylock was likely written to be received as a straight-up menacing bad guy. In modern times, he is almost universally seen (and portrayed) as a sympathetic and tragic antagonist.antagonist, and some of his arguments, such as mocking the Venetians for being slave-drivers and getting hot-and-bothered about one of their own having his arm chopped off, is seen, or can be seen, as a villain calling "truth to power".
19th Oct '17 10:46:08 PM JulianLapostat
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“The slaves are ours.” So do I answer you.''\\

to:

“The slaves are ours.” So do I answer you.''\\\\
19th Oct '17 10:45:18 PM JulianLapostat
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* DesignatedVillain: The [[http://pursuedbyabear.net/pbab/448/ 1980 TV Movie]] by the BBC exerts quite a bit of effort to portray Shylock as an unsympathetic version of this.

to:

* DesignatedVillain: DesignatedVillain:
**
The [[http://pursuedbyabear.net/pbab/448/ 1980 TV Movie]] by the BBC exerts quite a bit of effort to portray Shylock as an unsympathetic version of this.



** Shylock when defending his pound of flesh, chides the Venetian authorities for their pleas of mercy by pointing out the legal slave trade in Venice and pointing out how his pound of flesh isn't any less reasonable to deny than it is for them to deny manumission to their slaves. To a modern audience, this is an absurd equivalency, but within the context of the time, and in the hands of a critical production, one can see Shylock mocking Venetians for asking him to be merciful when they are a bunch of slave-drivers:
--> '''Shylock''': "You have among you many a purchased slave,\\
Which—like your asses and your dogs and mules—\\
You use in abject and in slavish parts\\
Because you bought them. Shall I say to you,\\
“Let them be free! Marry them to your heirs!\\
Why sweat they under burdens? Let their beds\\
Be made as soft as yours and let their palates\\
Be seasoned with such viands”? You will answer,\\
“The slaves are ours.” So do I answer you.''\\
The pound of flesh which I demand of him\\
Is dearly bought. 'Tis mine and I will have it.\\
If you deny me, fie upon your law—\\
There is no force in the decrees of Venice." (4.1, Lines 90-103).



* IAmNotShazam: The eponymous Merchant is Antonio, not Shylock.

to:

* IAmNotShazam: The eponymous Merchant is Antonio, not Shylock. But you are forgiven for the confusion because the play itself spends more time on Shylock than on Antonio.




28th Sep '17 8:41:47 AM fearlessnikki
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* AcceptableTargets: Jews were this in Shakespeare's day. Indeed, it's believed that this play was inspired by [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roderigo_Lopez Roderigo Lopez]], the Portuguese New Christian (converted Jew) who served Elizabeth's court and became the only Royal Physician executed by the Crown.

to:

* AcceptableTargets: AcceptableTargets:
**
Jews were this in Shakespeare's day. Indeed, it's believed that this play was inspired by [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roderigo_Lopez Roderigo Lopez]], the Portuguese New Christian (converted Jew) who served Elizabeth's court and became the only Royal Physician executed by the Crown.
** The Spanish as well, considering England was in the midst of the Armada. The Prince of Arragon is depicted as a rude, haughty and silly - in contrast to the Prince of Morocco, who seems to be a little more sympathetic.


Added DiffLines:

* MemeticMutation: Shylock's "if you prick us, do we not bleed" speech has often been parodied to give an ItsAllAboutMe angle, notably in ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' and ''Serie/SabrinaTheTeenageWitch''.


Added DiffLines:

* TheScrappy: Portia is one character that has not aged well, due to the ValuesDissonance. Modern interpretations view her as something of an AlphaBitch - especially with her unfortunate line about not wanting to marry the Prince of Morocco because of his skin colour. And once she does marry Basanio, she tricks him into giving up his ring and tries to paint is as him being unfaithful. Productions have to be very careful when it comes to how they present her character.


Added DiffLines:

** Portia also bluntly says that the only reason she doesn't want to marry the Prince of Morocco is because of his skin colour.
--> "may all of his complexion choose me so" [referring to picking the wrong casket]
2nd Sep '17 2:20:16 AM SeptimusHeap
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** The closing scene of the AlPacino film, with Shylock standing outside the synagogue as his fellow Jews file inside for services, looking on helplessly as the last man enters and closes the doors behind him, leaving Shylock standing alone in the street. Meanwhile Jessica is looking sadly out over the lagoon, fingering the turquoise ring -- apparently it was a different one that she traded for the monkey, and she feels guilty for abandoning Shylock.

to:

** The closing scene of the AlPacino Creator/AlPacino film, with Shylock standing outside the synagogue as his fellow Jews file inside for services, looking on helplessly as the last man enters and closes the doors behind him, leaving Shylock standing alone in the street. Meanwhile Jessica is looking sadly out over the lagoon, fingering the turquoise ring -- apparently it was a different one that she traded for the monkey, and she feels guilty for abandoning Shylock.
22nd Jan '17 9:04:19 AM shatterstar
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** Does Bassanio really choose the lead casket because of "something, something, all that glitters is not gold, beauty is only skin deep, etc, etc", or is it because he's grown up on fairy/folk tales like ours and thus [[GenreSavvy knows that the treasure is always hidden in the guise of ugliness]]?



* GenreSavvy: Does Bassanio really choose the lead casket because of "something, something, all that glitters is not gold, beauty is only skin deep, etc, etc", or is it because he's grown up on fairy/folk tales like ours and thus knows that the treasure is always hidden in the guise of ugliness?
* HoYay / KissingCousins: Antonio and Bassanio. It was explicitly mentioned early on in the play that Bassanio is Antonio's cousin.

to:

* GenreSavvy: Does Bassanio really choose the lead casket because of "something, something, all that glitters is not gold, beauty is only skin deep, etc, etc", or is it because he's grown up on fairy/folk tales like ours and thus knows that the treasure is always hidden in the guise of ugliness?
* HoYay / KissingCousins:
HoYay: Antonio and Bassanio. It was explicitly mentioned early on in the play that Bassanio is [[KissingCousins Antonio's cousin.cousin]].
7th Jan '17 10:12:40 AM nombretomado
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*** Either that, or she's the ultimate heroine, brains and beauty combined, who bravely disguises herself as a boy to save her husband's best friend. She sympathizes with Shylock, trying to talk him into being merciful on a level they both relate to (as a Christian and a Jew, they both believe in the same God) and only felling him with the letter of the law when ''he'' insists that she follow the bond exactly as it was written. (In the LaurenceOlivier film, she looks genuinely sad after Shylock leaves the court scene -- and, after all, it wasn't her idea to insist on his conversion.) She tricks her husband out of his ring partly as a joke and partly just to see if she can do it -- and when she realizes that he only gave her the ring because Antonio insisted, she understands and forgives.

to:

*** Either that, or she's the ultimate heroine, brains and beauty combined, who bravely disguises herself as a boy to save her husband's best friend. She sympathizes with Shylock, trying to talk him into being merciful on a level they both relate to (as a Christian and a Jew, they both believe in the same God) and only felling him with the letter of the law when ''he'' insists that she follow the bond exactly as it was written. (In the LaurenceOlivier Creator/LaurenceOlivier film, she looks genuinely sad after Shylock leaves the court scene -- and, after all, it wasn't her idea to insist on his conversion.) She tricks her husband out of his ring partly as a joke and partly just to see if she can do it -- and when she realizes that he only gave her the ring because Antonio insisted, she understands and forgives.
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