GCE A/L English Literature - Made Easy - Drama:
Commentary Act 3 SC 5
There's slight comic and "romantic relief". The scene is dramatically
set for the commencement of the courtroom scene-the longest and the
"most emotional" scene in the play.
Launcelot Gobbo's "clowning punning" invites the attention of
mag08.aspthe audience in a sense both
"figurative and literal"
"There is but one hope in it that can do you any good and that is but
a kind of bastard hope neither.
The merchant of venice
"That is done, Sir, They have all stomachs"
"That is done too Sir. Only 'cover' is the word"
Loving and caring words of Loren30 and Jessica at the end of the
scene "establish their new happiness" Jessica brought up by shylock, a
miser, who felt deeply of his alienation in the venetian community
Jessica's arrival at Belmont, from Shylock's house is suggestive of a
"Symbolic Journey". A journey from hatred to happiness.
Act 4 scene I
The trial of Antonio in a venetian court of Justice. The duke of
Venice expressing himself as a warning to Antonio, the defendent, that
Shylock the plaintiff as "A story adversary, an inhuman wretch,
uncapable of pity, void and empty. From any dram of mercy."
Antonio is ready for the punishment as he is aware of the fact that
"no lawful means can save him now" Shylock is calledin
"Shylock the world thinks and I think so too, That thou but lead'st
this fashion of thy malice to the last hour of act, and then'tis thought
Thou'lt show thy mercy and remorse more strange "
He should spare Antonio Pitying him on his "losses" Shylock's only
wish is to have the pound of flesh as repayment of three thousand decats.
"Shylock wants the pound of flesh for no rational reason- only because
of a lodged hate and a certain loathing for Antonio" (cliff notes).
In spite of Bassanio's offer of six thousand ducats and Shylock
refusing to accept it hoping to get the judgement soon. To the duke's
question "How shalt thou hope for mercy rendering none?" and Shylock
promptly responds, Venetians have bought slaves rendering to treat them
as they please. So is the pound of flesh which he has "dearly bought" if
you deny me, tie upon your law! There is no force in the decrees of
I stand for judgement. Answer, shall I have it? The duke informs him
that he's waiting for "Bellario, a learned doctor" to arrive from Padua.
Bassanio offers to give the jew his "flesh, blood, bones and all". But
Antonio requests Bassanio "live still" and write Antonio's epitaph.
Nerissa dressed like the lawyer's clerk enters and delivers a letter
from Bellario to the duke. Shylock whets his knife anxiously.
The clerk of the court reads out the letter from Belarioy. The doctor
is not well and to fill his place "A young doctor of Rome" Balthasar "so
young a body with so old a head" I leave him to your gracious acceptance
whose trial shall better publish his commendation" The duke welcomes
Balthasar who assures her acquaintance with "the integrity of Venetian
law" She, then requests Shylock to be more merciful. Mercy is " ......
It is twice blest,
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes,'tis mightiest in the
mightiest, it becomes.
The throned monarch better than his crown, ...... we do pray for
mercy, and that same prayer doth teach as all to render the deeds of
Shylock disagrees and demands the penalty. The judgement "A bond is
legal and Shylock can collect the pound of flesh" Shylock in extreme
happiness, praises the wise young judge and as Shylock gets ready to cut
the pound of flesh the judge interrupts "Shylock is legally entitled to
take a pound of Antonio's flesh - but no more, Hence Shylock should not
cut less nor more "shed thou no blood, nor cut thou less no more but
just a pound of flesh......" "But in the estimation of a hair, Thou
diest, and all thy goods are confiscate".
Shylock, realizing, though too late his crucial position he agrees to
take the principal and release Antonio Portia commands Shylock "Down
therefore, and beg mercy of the Duke." Shylock agrees to the settlement
and being contented begs permission to leave the court.
The Duke's invitation to Portia to dinner is declined by her and
Bassanio's request "Three Thousand ducats due unto the jew we freely
cope your courteous pains withal." Portia decides to take only two
tokens as a "remembrance".
"Give me your gloves, I'll wear them for your sake,
And for your love I'll take this ring from you"
Though Bassanio refuses to part with the ring given to him by his
love. But Portia is adamant to get the ring. "That's cuse serves many
men to save their gifts," and if your wife be not a mad woman, and know
how well I have deserved the ring, Bassanio gets Gratiano to run and
give him the ring and bring him if thou canst.
Mrs. C. Ekanayake, Retd. Specialist Teacher Eng. Lit., St. Anne's