The Merchant of Venice | Critical Essay by D. J. Palmer

This literature criticism consists of approximately 29 pages of analysis & critique of The Merchant of Venice.
This section contains 8,463 words
(approx. 29 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by D. J. Palmer

Critical Essay by D. J. Palmer

SOURCE: "The Merchant of Venice, or the Importance of Being Earnest," in Shakespearian Comedy, Crane, Russak & Company, Inc., 1972, pp. 97-120

In this overview of the play, Palmer examines the "overt sententiousness " of the play and argues that the action of the play frequently contradicts the morals apparently being emphasized.

I

'The Merchant of Venice is the simplest of plays,' wrote Harley Granville-Barker, 'so long as we do not bedevil it with sophistries.'1 And so it is, provided also that we do not take its moralizing too seriously, for the sophistries are already there. In the two climactic scenes of the play, for instance, Bassanio wins Portia by turning sententious rhetoric against itself,

So may the outward shows be least themselves;
The world is still deceiv'd with ornament.
In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt...

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This section contains 8,463 words
(approx. 29 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by D. J. Palmer