The Merchant of Venice | Criticism

This literature criticism consists of approximately 21 pages of analysis & critique of The Merchant of Venice.
This section contains 5,742 words
(approx. 20 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Austin C. Dobbins and Roy W. Battenhouse

SOURCE: “Jessica's Morals: A Theological View,” in Shakespeare Studies, Vol. IX, 1976, pp. 107-20.

In the following essay, Dobbins and Battenhouse evaluate the morality of Jessica's actions in The Merchant of Venice, seeing her dissimulation as theologically justified.

Capping a century of romantic interpretation of Shylock, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch in 1926 termed Jessica “bad and disloyal, unfilial, a thief; frivolous, greedy, without any more conscience than a cat.”1 Such an estimate, though it may appeal to readers swayed by Shylock's view of her as “damned,” clearly is not that of the play as a whole. The father's moral imagination is comically undercut by his absurd love of gold more than daughter, and Jessica's elopement not only secures Lorenzo's friends as sponsors but also a welcome by Portia at Belmont. Indeed, the play ends with Jessica as the prospective heiress of all of Shylock's property—an outcome which, unless we wish...

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This section contains 5,742 words
(approx. 20 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Austin C. Dobbins and Roy W. Battenhouse
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Critical Essay by Austin C. Dobbins and Roy W. Battenhouse from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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