Metamorphoses | Criticism

This literature criticism consists of approximately 4 pages of analysis & critique of Metamorphoses.
This section contains 976 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Robert McMahon

SOURCE: McMahon, Robert. “‘Some There Be that Shadows Kiss’: A Note on The Merchant of Venice, II.ix.65.” Shakespeare Quarterly 37, no. 3 (autumn 1986): 371-73.

In the following essay, McMahon argues that Aragon, one of Portia's suitors in The Merchant of Venice is a reconfiguration of Ovid's Narcissus.

When Arragon opens the silver casket in The Merchant of Venice, he discovers a fool's head and a “schedule” (l. 54) that includes this couplet:

Some there be that shadows kiss; Such have but a shadow's bliss. 

(II.ix.65-66)1

These lines deserve more annotation than they have received. Kissing shadows has never been a popular pastime, yet editors generally treat this couplet with discreet silence. It alludes, I would argue, to Ovid's tale of Narcissus (Metamorphoses 3.402-510), which proves relevant to the scene in several ways.

“Shadow,” of course, often means “reflected image” in medieval and Renaissance English. According to Ovid, Narcissus...

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This section contains 976 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Robert McMahon
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Critical Essay by Robert McMahon from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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