The Merchant of Venice Essay

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[Felheim identifies several dualities in The Merchant of Venice , including joy and sadness, Venice and Belmont, Jew versus Christian, and Old Testament justice against New Testament mercy. According to the critic the play opens with inexplicable sadness primarily present in the characters of Antonio and Portia. Bassanio, Salerio and Solanio interrupt the initial seriousness of the dramatic action with some mirth, Felheim continues, but for the most part a strain of melancholy pervades the play. Perhaps the most concrete example of this duality is embodied in the contrasting worlds of Venice and Belmont Sadness is the prominent emotion in Venice, the critic notes, where the characters are exposed to usury and legal proceedings; but in Belmont, the "world of candlelight and music," happiness reigns. The oppositions of Jew and Christian as well as of Old Testament and New Testament attitudes are uncovered in the initial rivalry between Antonio...

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This section contains 5,455 words
(approx. 14 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Merchant of Venice Study Guide
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Shakespeare for Students
The Merchant of Venice from Shakespeare for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.