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Merchant Of Venice Themes



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THEMES of The Merchant of Venice - by Ranjini Dasgupta

The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by journalist and satirist Malcolm Muggeridge. Although this episode was the last this season episode to air, it was actually the first episode shot under Jonathan Miller's producership. He purposely interpreted it in a manner divergent from most theatrical productions. Whereas the love between Antony and Cleopatra is usually seen in a heightened manner, as a grand passion, Miller saw it as a love between two people well past their prime who are both on a "downhill slide, each scrambling to maintain a foothold".

He compared Antony to a football player who had waited several seasons too long to retire, and Cleopatra to a "treacherous slut". This is one of only two episodes in which original Shakespearean text was substituted with additional material the other is Love's Labour's Lost. Controversially, Miller and his script editor David Snodin cut Act 3, Scene 10 and replaced it with the description of the Battle of Actium from Plutarch 's Parallel Lives , which is delivered as an onscreen legend overlaying a painting of the battle. During rehearsal of the scene with the snake, Jane Lapotaire, who suffers from ophidiophobia , was extremely nervous, but was assured the snake was well trained.

At that point, the snake crawled down the front of her dress towards her breast, before then moving around her back. During the shooting of the scene, Lapotaire kept her hands on the snake at all times. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by "agony aunt" Anna Raeburn. Cedric Messina had planned to screen Othello during the second season, and had attempted to cast James Earl Jones in the part. However, the British Actors' Equity Association had written into their contract with the BBC that only British actors could appear in the series, and if Messina cast Jones, Equity threatened to strike, thus crippling the show. Messina backed down and Othello was pushed back to a later season.

By the time it was produced, Jonathan Miller had taken over as producer, and he decided that the play was not about race at all, casting a white actor in the role. During production, Miller based the visual design on the work of El Greco. Most of the scene is shot from behind him, so the audience sees what he sees. However, not all the dialogue between Iago and Cassio is audible, which led to criticism when the episode was screened in the US, where it was assumed that the sound people simply had not done their job. It was, in fact, an intentional choice; if Othello is having difficulty hearing what they are saying, so too is the audience. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by author Susan Hill.

Director Jonathan Miller used the work of gothic painter Lucas Cranach as primary visual influence during this production. Several of Cranach's sketches can be seen in Ajax's tent, most notably, Eve from his Adam and Eve woodcut , hung on the tent like a nude centrefold. Miller wanted Troy to be sharply differentiated from Greece; Troy was decadent, with clear abstract lines based on some of Hans Vredeman de Vries ' architectural experiments with perspective. Miller envisioned it as built on the remains of an earlier Troy, with bits of roofs jutting out of the ground and bits and pieces of ancient statues lying around although this idea originated for Troilus , Miller had first used it in his earlier Timon of Athens.

Also, on one side of the camp, a huge wooden horse leg can be seen under construction — the Trojan Horse. In the command tent, a schematic for the horse is visible in several scenes, as is a scale model on the desk nearby. Of the play, Miller stated "it's ironic, it's farcical, it's satirical: I think it's an entertaining, rather frothily ironic play. It's got a bitter-sweet quality, rather like black chocolate. It has a wonderfully light ironic touch and I think it should be played ironically, not with heavy-handed agonising on the dreadful futility of it all. And one merely pretends that one is producing pure Renaissance drama; I think one has to see it in one's own terms.

Because it is constantly making references, one might as well be a little more specific about it. Now that doesn't mean that I want to hijack them for the purposes of making the plays address themselves specifically to modern problems. I think what one wants to do is to have these little anachronistic overtones so that we're constantly aware of the fact that the play is, as it were, suspended in the twentieth-century imagination, halfway between the period in which it was written and the period in which we are witnessing it. And then there is of course a third period being referred to, which is the period of the Greek antiquity. Jonathan Miller planned on directing this episode himself, with fairies inspired by the work of Inigo Jones and Hieronymus Bosch , but he directed Timon of Athens instead, after original director Michael Bogdanov quit that production.

Fashioning a darker production than is usual for this play, Moshinsky referred to the style of the adaptation as "romantic realism. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by art historian Roy Strong. Originally, Cedric Messina had cast Robert Shaw to play Lear, with an aim to do the show during the second season, but Shaw died suddenly in before production could begin, and the play was pushed back. In , he remounted that same production for the BBC Play of the Month , a heavily truncated version, which happened to be the BBC's last Shakespeare production prior to the beginning of the Television Shakespeare.

During his producership, Miller tried to persuade the BBC to use the Play of the Month production as their Lear , but they refused, saying a new production had to be done. At the end of the fourth season, Miller's last as producer, his contract stipulated that he still had one production to direct. He had never directed Macbeth or Coriolanus before, but he felt so comfortable with Lear that he went with it. The only significant difference is that more of the text is used in the latter production. As such, although exteriors and interiors were clearly distinguished from one another, both were nonrepresentational. Similarly, the Fool has red feathers in his hat, Edgar has a red tunic, and Cordelia's red welts on her neck stand out starkly against the white of her skin after her death.

The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by literary critic Frank Kermode. Director David Jones wanted to shoot the episode in Stratford-upon-Avon but was restricted to a studio setting. Determined that the production be as realistic as possible, Jones had designer Dom Homfray base the set on real Tudor houses associated with Shakespeare; Falstaff's room is based on the home of Mary Arden Shakespeare's mother in Wilmcote , and the wives' houses are based on the house of Shakespeare's daughter Susanna , and her husband, John Hall. For the background of exterior shots, he used a miniature Tudor village built of plasticine. Jones was determined that the two wives not be clones of one another, so he had them appear as if Page was a well-established member of the bourgeoisie and Ford a member of the nouveau riche.

The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by novelist Jilly Cooper. Inspired by the notion that the political intrigues behind the Wars of the Roses often seemed like playground squabbles, Howell and production designer Oliver Bayldon staged the four plays in a single set resembling a children's adventure playground. However, little attempt was made at realism.

For example, Bayldon did not disguise the parquet flooring "it stops the set from literally representing [ Many critics felt these set design choices lent the production an air of Brechtian verfremdungseffekt. Another element of verfremdungseffekt in this production is seen when Gloucester and Winchester encounter one another at the Tower ; both are on horseback, but the horses they ride are hobbyhorses , which actors David Burke and Frank Middlemass cause to pivot and prance as they speak. The ridiculousness of this situation works to "effectively undercut their characters' dignity and status.

Graham Holderness saw Howell's non-naturalistic production as something of a reaction to the BBC's adaptation of the Henriad in seasons one and two, which had been directed by David Giles in a traditional and straightforward manner; "where Messina saw the history plays conventionally as orthodox Tudor historiography, and [David Giles] employed dramatic techniques which allow that ideology a free and unhampered passage to the spectator, Jane Howell takes a more complex view of the first tetralogy as, simultaneously, a serious attempt at historical interpretation, and as a drama with a peculiarly modern relevance and contemporary application.

The plays, to this director, are not a dramatization of the Elizabethan World Picture but a sustained interrogation of residual and emergent ideologies in a changing society [ Howell's presentation of the complete first historical tetralogy was one of the most lauded achievements of the entire BBC series, and prompted Stanley Wells to argue that the productions were "probably purer than any version given in the theatre since Shakespeare's time. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by historian Michael Wood. However, designer Oliver Bayldon altered the set so it would appear that the paint work was flaking and peeling, and the set falling into a state of disrepair, as England descended into an ever-increasing state of chaos.

A strong element of verfremdungseffekt in this production is the use of doubling, particularly in relation to actors David Burke and Trevor Peacock. Burke plays Henry's most loyal servant, Gloucester, but after Gloucester's death, he plays Jack Cade's right-hand man, Dick the Butcher. Both actors play complete inversions of their previous characters, re-creating both an authentically Elizabethan theatrical practice and providing a Brechtian political commentary. However, designer Oliver Bayldon altered the set so it would appear to be falling apart, as England descended into an even worse state of chaos.

The scene where Richard kills Henry has three biblical references carefully worked out by Howell: as Richard drags Henry away, his arms spread out into a crucified position; on the table at which he sat are seen bread and wine; and in the background, an iron crossbar is illuminated against the black stone wall. This episode was filmed on the same set as the three Henry VI plays. However, designer Oliver Bayldon altered the set so it would appear to be a ruin, as England reached its lowest point of chaos. As this version of Richard III functioned as the fourth part of a series, it meant that much of the text usually cut in standalone productions could remain. The most obvious beneficiary of this was the character of Margaret, whose role, if not removed completely, is usually truncated.

You take to intrigue and plotting. The production is unusual amongst filmed Richard s insofar as no one is killed on camera, other than Richard himself. This was a conscious choice on the part of Howell; "you see nobody killed; just people going away, being taken away — so much like today; they're just removed. There's a knock on the door and people are almost willing to go. There's no way out of it.

Chris Hassel Jr. Richmond says the scene gives the production a "cynical conclusion," as "it leaves our impressions of the new King Henry VII's reign strongly coloured by Margaret's malevolent glee at the destruction of her enemies that Henry has accomplished for her. At minutes, this production was the longest episode in the entire series, and when the series was released on DVD in , it was the only adaptation split over two disks. Of the 3, lines comprising the First Folio text of the play, Howell cut only 72; roughly 1.

From this episode on, the show featured no unique theme music; the opening titles were scored with music composed specifically for the episode; although the new title sequence introduced by Miller at the start of the third season continued to be used. During the episode, the battle between the Romans and the Britons is never shown on screen; all that is seen is a single burning building, intended to indicate the general strife; we never see the defeat of Iachimo, Posthumus sparing him or Iachimo's reaction.

Moshinsky did not want to expunge the political context of the play, but he was not especially interested in the military theme, and so removed most of it, with an aim to focus instead on the personal. Later, when she awakes to find the headless Cloten, the scene begins with the camera in the same position, with Imogen once again upside-down; "the inverted images visually bind the perverse experiences, both nightmarish, both sleep related, both lit by one candle.

The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by dramatist and journalist Dennis Potter. This episode was shot with a degree cycloramic backcloth in the background which could be used as representative of a general environment, with much use made of open space. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by crime writer and poet Julian Symons. Director James Cellan Jones felt very strongly that the play was not just a farce, but included a serious side, specifically represented by the character of Aegeon, who has lost his family and is about to lose his life.

In several productions Jones had seen, Aegeon was completely forgotten between the first and last scenes, and determined to avoid this, and hence give the production a more serious air, Jones had Aegeon wandering around Ephesus throughout the episode. This production used editing and special effects to have each set of twins played by the same actors. However, this was not well received by critics, who argued that not only was it confusing for the audience as to which character was which, but much of the comedy was lost when the characters look identical.

The entire production takes place on a stylised set, the floor of which is a giant map of the region, shown in its entirety in the opening and closing aerial shots; all of the main locations the Porpentine, the Abbey, the Phoenix, the market etc. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by comedian Roy Hudd. The music in this episode was created by Anthony Rooley , who wrote new arrangements of works from Shakespeare's own time, such as John Dowland 's piece ' Lachrimae '. As no original music was used, Stephen Oliver's theme from seasons three to five was used for the opening titles. Director Don Taylor initially planned a representational setting for the film; Verona, Milan and the forest were all to be realistic.

However, he changed his mind early in preproduction and had production designer Barbara Gosnold go in the opposite direction, choosing a stylised setting. To this end, the forest is composed of metal poles with bits of green tinsel and brown sticks stuck to them the cast and crew referred to the set as "Christmas at Selfridges ". Whilst the set for Verona was more realistic, that for Milan featured young extras dressed like cherubs. This was to convey the idea that the characters lived in a "Garden of Courtly Love", slightly divorced from everyday reality.

The implication being that Proteus has brought a darkness within him into the garden of courtly delights previously experienced by Silvia. Although the production is edited in a fairly conventional manner, much of it was shot in extremely long takes, and then edited into sections, rather than actually shooting in sections. Taylor would shoot most of the scenes in single takes, as he felt this enhanced performances and allowed actors to discover aspects which they never would were everything broken up into pieces.

The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by journalist Russell Davies. The production design of Rome in this episode was very specific; everywhere except the Senate was to be small and cramped. The idea behind this design choice was to reflect Coriolanus' mindset. He dislikes the notion of the people gathering together for anything, and on such a cramped set, because the alleys and streets are so small, it only takes a few people to make them look dangerously crowded. Moshinsky did this to give the scene an undercurrent of homoeroticism. However, in shooting the scene, Moshinsky changed it so that it takes place in front of a few silent senators, and there is, as such, no real fight.

For this production, director David Giles chose to go with a stylised setting, which he referred to as both "emblematic" and "heraldic. Leonard Rossiter died before the show aired. Director David Jones used long shots in this episode to try to create the sense of a small person taking in a vast world. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by poet and journalist P.

No reasons were given by the BBC for this decision, although initial newspaper reports suggested that the episode had not been abandoned, but postponed for reshoots, due to an unspecified actor's "very heavy accent," and concerns that US audiences would not be able to understand the dialogue. During the reshoot for the seventh season, director Stuart Burge considered shooting the entire episode against a blank tapestry background, with no set whatsoever, but it was felt that audiences would not respond well to this, and the idea was scrapped.

The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by actress Eleanor Bron. Of the play, Moshinsky said, "it has the atmosphere of Marivaux — which is rather delicious, and yet full of formalised rules between men and women, sense against sensibility; there's a distinction between enlightenment and feeling. I think the atmosphere of Watteau's paintings suits this enormously well and gives it a lightness of touch. And also it abstracts it; we don't want anything too realistic because the whole thing is a kind of mathematical equation — four men for four women — and the play is testing certain propositions about love.

For Moshinsky, the central episode of the production is the play-within-the-play in the final scene which is interrupted by the arrival of Marcade, an episode to which Moshinsky refers as "an astonishing sleight of hand about reality and the reflection of experiencing reality. In this sense, Moshinsky sees the play more as about artifice and reality than romantic relationships. Here, in an invented scene set between Act 2 Scene 1 and Act 3, Scene 1, Berowne is shown drafting the poem to Rosaline, which will later be read by Nathaniel to Jacquenetta.

The lines in this invented scene delivered in voice-over are taken from the fifth poem of the William Jaggard publication The Passionate Pilgrim , a variant of Berowne's final version of his own poem. This was the only production that John Wilders, the series literary advisor, criticised publicly. Specifically, he objected to the character of Moth being portrayed by an adult actor. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by novelist Emma Tennant. As Titus was broadcast several months after the rest of the seventh season, it was rumoured that the BBC were worried about the violence in the play and that disagreements had arisen about censorship.

This was inaccurate however, with the delay caused by a BBC strike in The episode had been booked into the studio in February and March , but the strike meant it could not shoot. When the strike ended, the studio could not be used as it was being used by another production, and then when the studio became available, the RSC was using Trevor Peacock. Thus filming did not take place until February , a year later than planned. Director Jane Howell had toyed with the idea of setting the play in a contemporary Northern Ireland , but settled on a more conventional approach. All the body parts seen throughout were based upon real autopsy photographs, and were authenticated by the Royal College of Surgeons.

For the scene when Chiron and Demetrius are killed, a large carcass is seen hanging nearby; this was a genuine lamb carcass purchased from a kosher butcher and smeared with Vaseline to make it gleam under the studio lighting. In a significant departure from the text, Howell set Young Lucius as the centre of the production so as to prompt the question "What are we doing to the children? Thus the production became "in part about a boy's reaction to murder and mutilation. We see him losing his innocence and being drawn into this adventure of revenge; yet, at the end we perceive that he retains the capacity for compassion and sympathy. The Shakespeare in Perspective episode was presented by psychiatrist Anthony Clare.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Series of British TV adaptations of the plays of Shakespeare. Butts Jack May as Lord Chancellor. Cassell as Deiphobus. Retrieved 25 May ISBN These comprised the thirty-six plays of the First Folio , plus Pericles, Prince of Tyre from the second impression of the Third Folio The Daily Telegraph. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. In Burt, Richard ed. Volume Two. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. In Davies, Anthony; Wells, Stanley eds. Visual Shakespeare: Essays in Film and Television. Hertfordshire: University of Hertfordshire Press. Shakespeare in Performance: Richard II. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Henry V. Shakespeare in Production.

The Taming of the Shrew. In Vienne-Guerrin, Nathalie ed. Shakespeare on Screen: The Henriad. In Shaughnessy, Robert ed. In Pendleton, Thomas A. Henry VI: Critical Essays. London: Routledge. Plymouth: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. BFI Screenonline. Retrieved 22 November In Miola, Robert S. The Comedy of Errors: Critical Essays. In Dollimore, Jonathan ; Sinfield, Alan eds. London: BBC Video. London: BBC Books. The Times Literary Supplement. The Observer. Spring Shakespeare Quarterly. JSTOR Critical Quarterly. Internet Shakespeare Editions. Archived from the original on 11 September Retrieved 11 September The Washington Star. The Guardian.

Archived from the original on 7 July In Holderness, Graham ed. The Shakespeare Myth. Radio Times. Subsequent Performances. London: Faber. October Archived from the original on 3 March Retrieved 12 September Or Is It? Los Angeles Times. Literary Review. Julius Caesar. December Shakespeare on Film Newsletter. Measure for Measure. Kent Film Office. Retrieved 25 August The Tempest. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. In Boose, Lynda E.

A Profile of Jonathan Miller. Financial Times. Shakespeare in Performance: The Taming of the Shrew. The Arden Shakespeare, Third Series. London: Methuen. Boose eds. The Merchant of Venice. All's Well That Ends Well. Act 1, scene 3 Quotes. The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. Related Characters: Antonio speaker , Shylock. Related Themes: Prejudice and Intolerance. Page Number and Citation : 1. Explanation and Analysis:. Many a time and oft In the Rialto you have rated me About my moneys and my usances: Still I have borne it with a patient shrug, For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe. You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine, And all for use of that which is mine own. Related Characters: Shylock speaker , Antonio.

Let the forfeit Be nominated for an equal pound Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken In what part of your body pleaseth me. Act 2, scene 1 Quotes. Mislike me not for my complexion, The shadow'd livery of the burnish'd sun. Related Characters: Prince of Morocco speaker , Portia. Page Number and Citation : 2. Act 3, scene 1 Quotes. If it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. Page Number and Citation : 3. I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is?

If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. Related Characters: Shylock speaker. The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard, but I will better the instruction. Act 4, scene 1 Quotes. Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew? Related Characters: Portia speaker , Shylock , Antonio. Page Number and Citation : 4. Nay, take my life and all; pardon not that: You take my house when you do take the prop That doth sustain my house; you take my life When you do take the means whereby I live.

Act 5, scene 1 Quotes. Bassanio in engaged in conversation with Shylock , a Jew who makes his living as a moneylender. Bassanio has asked him for a loan of three thousand ducats, a very large sum at the time, for a period of three months. He further tells Shylock that Antonio is to "be bound," meaning that Antonio will be responsible for repaying the loan. Shylock knows Antonio's reputation well, and agrees to consider the contract. He asks Bassanio if he may speak with Antonio first, and Bassanio invites Shylock to dinner. Shylock responds that he will never eat with a Christian. Antonio arrives at that moment and Bassanio takes him aside.

Shylock addresses the audience and informs them that he despises Antonio. He bears an old grudge against Antonio which is not explained, but Shylock is further upset that Antonio lends out money without charging interest, thereby lowering the amount he is able to charge for lending out his own money. Shylock turns to Antonio and tells him why interest is allowed in the Hebrew faith by quoting a biblical passage in which Jacob receives all the striped lambs from his father-in-law.

Antonio asks him if the passage was inserted into the bible to defend interest charges. Shylock replies that, "I cannot tell. I make it breed as fast" 1. Antonio is upset that Shylock is considering charging him interest on the loan, and asks Shylock to loan the money without any interest. Shylock tells him that, "I would be friends with you, and have your love" 1. He offers to seal the bond, "in a merry sport" 1.

Antonio thinks Shylock is only joking about the pound of flesh, and is happy to seal the contract. He remarks that, "The Hebrew will turn Christian; he grows kind" 1. The Merchant of Venice , like so many of Shakespeare's plays, opens with a depressed and melancholy character. The depression of Antonio at the beginning, for which he can give no explanation, is much like Antipholus of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors. Portia, the wealthy Belmont heiress, is likewise a depressed and unhappy character in the opening scenes. The reasons for their melancholy, although never directly expressed, are due to their self-absorption. And as with Antipholus in The Comedy of Errors, it is only by taking a huge risk or both that they will be able to overcome their depression.

For Portia, this risk taking can be seen in her love for Bassanio, which will require her to risk her entire inheritance in order for her to win him. For Antonio, the risk is even greater; namely a pound of flesh, representing his very life. Bassanio represents the gambler who cannot lose. He is the sort of character that will risk everything, and having lost everything, will risk what he does not have.

He has often been compared to Jason in the Quest for the Golden Fleece, namely a risk-taker. Portia as a character is an odd mixture of various traits. She is first presented as the ruler of Belmont, clearly in charge of both herself and those around her. However, we soon discover that she is not in charge, indeed it is "the will of a living daughter curbed by the will of a dead father" 1. Portia's reliance on the wishes of her dead father therefore contradicts the image of her as Belmont's ruler.

Antonio, Summary Of The Poem The Tally Stick, denies merchant of venice themes he is worried about his ships and remains depressed. Rockabye Hamlet Choose which level is right for merchant of venice themes or simply move between them merchant of venice themes find what you need. Which is the merchant here, merchant of venice themes which the Jew?

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