The Merchant of Venice Essay

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[Godshalk discusses the unity of the The Merchant of Venice in terms of the Pound of Flesh story and the Story of the Three Caskets, emphasizing in particular the elements of "bond" and "choice." According to the critic, the characters are bound to each other and to different courses of action in many ways. Aspects of bondage in the play include: the legal bond between Antonio and Shylock; the provision in Portia's father's will that binds her fortune; the suitors' binding oath forsaking marriage if they fail the casket test; the spiritual bondage of Portia and Bassanio, Jessica and Lorenzo, and Nerissa and Gratiano to the institution of marriage; and the bonds of friendship and society. Godshalk also examines "choice" as an extension of the "bond" issues, noting that even though the characters are bound by legal constructs, religious vows, and social obligations, they are free to determine...

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This section contains 4,265 words
(approx. 11 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Merchant of Venice Study Guide
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The Merchant of Venice from Shakespeare for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.