English: The Merchant of Venice and Fair Lady Portia Essay

Submitted By Valda-Oei
Words: 914
Pages: 4

Valda Oei
Mrs. Cutcliffe
2014 Oct. 16th In the play the Merchant of Venice, the language and diction Shakespeare used, shows the complexity of humanity. No matter the wealthy merchant Antonio or the fair lady Portia or even the “evil” Jew Shylock, they all have various dimensions in their appearance. While the characters are expressing the dialogs, the different sides of characterizes are shown to the audience. Portia, a high born class lady, was portrayed with a contrast personality. Starting from the beginning of Act I scene ii, Portia speaks in prose instead of verse. Since she is in the higher social class in the play, she should speaks in verse, to show her noble status. She was worn out by the rules of her father. The way she speaks in prose added another side of her personality, showing that she is not only the classical lady, but could also be weary and upset, therefore she uses the lower class language. While Portia and Nerissa are discussing the men who had come for Portia, she is teasing and gossiping about her suitors. “I am much afeared my lady his mother played false with a smith” (I, ii, 41-41). She judges about her suitor’s mother, which is fairly inappropriate for such lady to talk like that. Since she is well educated and with high privileged, this line could be considered not as proper as the other speeches and is not so lady like for her. At the same time, Bassanio uses classical allusion to display her being as a beautiful and refine lady. “her sunny locks Hang on her temples like a golden fleece, Which makes her seat of Belmont Colchos’ strand, and many Jasons come in quest of her.” (I, i, 169-173) He describe the hair of Portia is like the golden ram’s fleece, which in the mythology Jason had led an expedition to search for it. The speech emphasizes how rich and how attractive Portia is. In the play, Portia is display as elegant and graceful, but on the other hand she also be quite judgmental and critical about her suitors. The speeches where she slips from verse to prose developed a diversity in her character, and makes her more realistic.
Another key role in the play, Antonio, was also given with a complex characterizes. While talking with his friends, he is polite and generous. He respects his Christian friends, especially Bassanio. The quote “ Try what…That shall be rack’d even to the uttermost” (I, ii, 180-181) uses metaphor to give the impression that Antonio would do anything for Bassanio. The word “Rack’d” is a type of torcher, which means that Antonio would even bear a torcher for Bassanio. While he is being faithful and charitably to his friend, he shows no mercy to the Jew, Shylock. “You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, And spit upon my Jewish gabardine…And foot me as you spurn a stranger cur Over your threshold; monies is your suit.” (I, iii, 106-114) From Shylock’s speech, the way Antonio treated the Jewish was greatly shown. He is not only calling Shylock as a dog, but also kicked him and spit on him. He calls Shylock a “devil”, suggesting that stubbornness is in Shylock’s natural which can’t be changed. No respect is shown compare to the way he talks to his friends. The rich and renowned merchant is charitable and honorable to his friend, but on the other hand treated the Jewish poorly and roughly. This huge contrast in this role is greatly display, by the tone and language of his