Class Notes (810,488)
Canada (494,139)
English (1,386)
ENG220Y1 (74)

ENG220Y1 - Merchant of Venice - Lecture Notes.docx

6 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Toronto St. George
Elizabeth Harvey

ENG220Y1 – LECTURE NOTES Merchant of Venice November 20, 2013 Merchant of Venice: Introduction: • FUNGIBLE = when one thing can convert into another (Example: commodities) • The play has one of the most intertwined plots; complex history • Venice is a place where different cultures met; many strangers • Even though the play has separate locations, there are overlapping and interlacing (Example: suitors from all over come to Portia, like foreigners from all over come to Venice for trading and commerce) • An important source for the play was an event that took place in 1556; about a Jew who wanted a pound of Christian flesh Jews in England: • There were Jews present in England during the Middle Ages • Considered dangerous of criminal practices; so the Archbishop of Canterbury made Jews wear a badge • Then Edward the first banished Jews from England and this lasted for 300 years • But there were still some Jews present in Shakespeare's time; allegedly such as Rodrigo Lopez; was accused of treason and suspected of trying to poison the Queen in alliance with the Spaniards Geohumoralism and early modern race: • Embryonic notions of what a nation is • Back then, racial jokes were often made and accepted •People noticed physiological differences between people and associated these differences to geography •Humors/temperaments were also considered to vary amongst races • A treatise was considered a form of news during Shakespeare's time Lending and Borrowing: •Was illegal under Christian law •Jews were the only ones that charged interest •Venetians would blame Jews for all this interest; used Jews as a scapegoat; a goat was chosen to be used as a sacrifice •Leviticus 16 o Putting the transgressions of all on the goat o Likewise, Venetians place all their sins onto the Jews Act One: •(1.1.1-14) o Antonio's passion o Like Orsino; sad in opening of the play o Suggestion that his mind is with his ships; and is worried about what merchandise they're going to bring back; fear of pirates; as if his mind is tossing back and forth like the waves in the ocean o Metaphor of the ocean intrudes itself into the emotional life of the play •(1.1.23-56) o Interweaving of the themes of love and passion with the ideas of merchandise o Merchandise is transformed via language into bodies; "ribs", "spilling"; sensuality of the merchandise o The relationship between Antonio and Bassanio is explored •(1.2.31-64) o Description of Portia's suitors from all over o Satirical portrayal of englishmen / suitors •(1.1.119-185) o Bassanio is financially in trouble; is bound to Antonio through love and through debt o Precursor of debt scenario o Bassanio is in love with Portia but it's also a monetary adventure; "golden locks" refers to appearance and her wealth; to get her, he needs money •(1.2.11-30) o The idea of balance becomes important o There are two places in the play; needed to interweave two distinct plots o Portia is also bound, but in a different way; bound by will; to fulfill her father's will of the three caskets o Bound • Legal bound between Antonio and Shylock • Love bound between Antonio and Bassanio • Legal bound between Portia and her father's will • This shows that love is connected to the mercantile lifestyle •(1.3.27) o Shylock conforms to all the stereotypes of the Jew o "pork" = dietary jewish laws o Shylock keeps to himself because his religion is fundamentally different o A business competition o Shylock is upset that Antonio loans money without interest; bad business for him o Savage treatment of the marginalized people o Can feel the emotional revenge in Shylock's long speech • (1.3.68-98) o Reference to Jacob in the bible; Jacob takes all the stripped and speckled goats and sheep from his uncle after 14 years of working for him; his livestock ends up more effective in the end o A propagation of livestock o Relates to money here because offspring is the interest; Shylock compares himself to Jacob because he is producing interest; a possibility of being more financially smart and stable • (1.3.150-167) November 27, 2013 Act Two: • (2.2.1-25) o A recognition scene between the blind Gobbo and Launcelot o A psycho-drama about whether or not to stay with the Jew Shylock • (2.2.63-100) o A parental dyad between father and daughter; Jessica wants to marry a Gentile and steals all her father's wealth o By converting she is disinheriting her family line • (2.3.1-20) o Shylock as a devil? o "to be ashamed to be my father's child!" o Rhyme moves from exiling herself from her family and extending her bloodline by marrying Lorenzo • (2.6.51-58) o "hood" • Refers to circumcision; because he is a Gentile, Lorenzo isn't circumcised; he isn't a Jew then • Could also refer to the habit; clothing, dressing up as a Gentile o "gentile" • Connotes a gentile person, a kind person, gentleman or woman, status and wealth could convert one to gentile status • People during that time could buy their titles; move through class structures • Lorenzo will be wealthy once he marries Jessica; uses the word "gentlemen" • (2.7.13-62) o A choice among three different things is a common theme in Western and some Eastern cultures o Freud studied this scene, the three caskets have a quality of dreams; the illogic choices deals withs fantasy o Intertwined theme of death and love o The paleness of the lead casket; associated with death; the least lively casket or most deathly looking is the right casket o The paradox, the most beautiful casket, the gold one has the deadly skull o The question of choice is bound by the relationship between exteriority and interiority o Freud also links the caskets with castration; because the chosen husband must remain faithful to Portia, is emasculated • (2.8.1-32) o Scene played for laughs; Shy
More Less

Related notes for ENG220Y1

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.