Shakespeare’s purposes of his play can be clearly identified to entertain the audience and he does this through using suspense. Suspense builds dramatic tension in a story, and Shakespeare uses this tool to effectively entertain the audience. Shakespeare uses suspense in many of his scenes in his play. One of the most obvious, can be seen when Bassanio is trying to choose the correct casket to then hopefully woo Portia. In act 3 scene 2, just before Bassanio is going to open his casket, he states “Thy paleness moves me more than eloquence…” This brief description before he opens it and the overall descriptive language in the scene, which uses imagery and soliloquies from Portia, creates suspense in the play, which benefits the audience as they feel more engaged and thrilled about the outcome of the scene. Suspense is also used in act 4 scene 1 or otherwise known as the court scene, where Shylock’s agreement with Antonia about the pound of flesh is finally concluded. The scene on the whole is extremely prolonged, and this makes the audience almost “on the edge of their feet” about wanting to know what happens to Antonio, with his life at stake. Suspense on the whole can be easily identified in Shakespeare’s play and its obvious purpose to entertain the audience is extremely effective.
The appeal of a foreign setting in Shakespeare’s play was another way to entertain his audience. A brief context to when the play was actually written; England was a highly monoculture society where foreign cultures and their ways of life were often tabooed and expelled from the country. Jews themselves were not allowed in the country for over 300 years, a harsh but important example to note how England was such a consolidated cultural society with their own individual views, beliefs and practices. In saying this, when Shakespeare wrote his play, the foreign setting in Venice and Belmont in Italy, would have been highly appealing for the audience. The audience may have had not had much or any knowledge about other societies and how they live or what they were like, so in turn it may have been highly fascinated about the foreign context of the play, and in turn more entertained about the storyline in general. Overall the foreign context of the play was used to effectively entertain the audience which was one of Shakespeare’s purposes in the play.
The comedic elements of Shakespeare’s play were another way to effectively entertain the audience. When writing the play, Shakespeare may have been fully aware that his audience, in particular the groundlings, were attracted to his plays for the comedic elements. It is not a doubt that Shakespeare’s unique and intrinsic language may have been too complicated and technical for some of the audience in his play and as such, adding in humor may have been highly appealing for the large proportion of Shakespeare’s audience in the globe theatre. The comedic elements of his play can be easily identified. In act 2 scene 2, Lancelot is portrayed to be almost making fun of his blind father. Quoting Lancelot “turn upon your right hand at the next turning, but at the next turning of all on your left…” which simply outlines that he is leading his father on the wrong direction. To Shakespeare’s audience in his time & even to now, the audience is highly entertained by such a cruel yet humorous scene. Overall