PLE – 11xEN1 – Home learning due Thursday 3 April

Following our lesson today on answering question c) in the Shakespeare section of the exam, please answer the following question:

Explore the significance of hatred in one part of The Merchant of Venice.

Remember to incorporate the following in your answer:

  • what the chosen scene tells us about the theme (in this case, hatred) in relation to the characters
  • how the chosen scene drives, or is the turning point inthe plot
  • the impact of the chosen scene, and the theme explored in it, on the audience
  • how the ideas related to the theme are explored in the chosen scene, i.e. what is Shakespeare saying about the theme (here, what is he saying about hatred in your chosen scene)?

Answers in the box below or in your exercise books by tomorrow (Thursday), please.

NB. Lucy Stone’s group – I’ve scanned and emailed your bullet points to your academy e-addresses.

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3 thoughts on “PLE – 11xEN1 – Home learning due Thursday 3 April

  1. Rhiannon

    Hated is shown as constant theme throughout the play as Shylock states that he is simply applying the lessons taught to him by his Christian adversaries. This makes Shylock seem like the antagonist of the play because he blames all his bad intentions on resentment and poor teachings towards people around him. This suggests that the Christian men also understand that they are religiously discriminating and are the culprits for Shylock’s resentment, and are shown to be surprised when he reacts because they don’t want to accept responsibility, especially in the court scene when Shylock has his chance to get revenge through the law. Here, he has been waiting patiently for his time to get back at the Christians for all the times he has been ridiculed for his religion and trade, and thus this builds up a sequence of hatred that is unleashed in the court scene because he shows no mercy and is adamant to take the pound of flesh which is stated in the agreed contract.

    This drives the plot onwards because in the end the audience soon learns to empathize with Shylock who has been a victim of prejudice, and later a victim of justice as he not only loses his daughter to his enemies, he also ends up losing his property and freedom of faith when forced into converting to Christianity. This scene here is the turning point because it shows how Shylock is perhaps too adventurous in getting justice and blinds him to the plot because he looks to the law thinking it is fair, when really it applies to the exclusive group of Christians, and traps him, making him a victim of his own quest for justice.

    The theme of hatred in this given scene will shock the audience because of the way Shylock is seen to be a villainous character, as he will not accept the offer of nine thousand ducats when it would seem to be the simpler option to go for, instead of pursuing the contract and for it to be futile. Also, as an alternative, people will learn to sympathize with Shylock because of the maltreatment he has received. The impact on the audience today would be different to that of Shakespearean England, where the Christians would be praised for their anti-Semitic attitude, whereas now they are seen as unjustly persecuting a minority that is vulnerable. Whatever opinion that is formed, there is one agreement: Shylock’s intentions were rather ludicrous.

    Shakespeare presents the theme of hatred as a cyclical phenomenon in the court scene because it is shown that hatred is never ending and is passed back and forth from the Christians and Jews. Shylock resents the Christians because of the way they treat him, persecuting a minority and exploiting them for their own selfish needs. The Christians have a history of hating Jews because they blame them fro the death of Jesus, and are selfish people who have a lot of money. Shakespeare shows this in the court scene because Portia outright refers to Shylock as ‘the Jew’ suggesting that he is not of enough importance to be referred to buy name, and likewise Shylock speaks for the Jews when he complains of the treatment they receive.

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  2. Daisy :)

    Hatred is one of the key themes through out the play especially between Antonio and Shylock as it leads to the bond being made with the forfeit of a pound of flesh. For example in Act 1 Scene 3 when Shylock is mocking Bassanio for needing his (a Jew’s) help by not coming to a definite answer and by using sarcasm to remind Bassanio of how viscously Bassanio treated him previously, using insults like ‘cut throat dog’ and ‘cur’.

    This part of the play is vital as it shows the audience that Shylock has been hurt by the insults and therefore is holding a grudge, this hints to the audience that he wouldn’t be keen on helping Bassanio unless it benefits him. The benefit to Shylock is revealed by his remark about wanting a pound of flesh as a joke and pretending the flesh has no worth to him. Without Shylocks agreement to the bond there wouldn’t be a storyline.

    Furthermore it allows the audience to see things from the Jews point of view, which would have made many members of the audience during Shakespeare’s time feel uncomfortable as Jews were seen to be the villains but in this scene they would have sympathised with him after he tried to be friends with Bassanio and was shot down despite having done nothing wrong.

    The relationship between Bassanio and Shylock is full of tension through out the play, mainly due to racial differences- Bassanio feels superior over Shylock because he is Christian and therefore thinks he can treat the Jew without respect, showing his hatred freely towards Shylock without feeling guilty. This scene helps the audience see both sides of the story.

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  3. Meg hallett

    Another part of the play that the theme hatred is significant is act 1 scene 3, between the characters Shylock and Antonio. In the scene, Shylock explains his hatred towards Antonio for being Christian, and ‘for lending out money without an interest’ he also goes on to say ‘cursed by my tribe if I forgive him’ meaning ‘it would be an insult to Jews everywhere if I forgave him’. Later on in the scene, Shylock also explains that he is feeling hurt by the insults he was given by Antonio previously and mocks Antonio for asking him ( a Jew) for his help; although the audience at the time the play was written would have been on the Antonio’s side as he is a Christian and this religion was very popular during Shakespearean times. The hatred in the scene Is important because it shows the strong relationship between Antonio and Shylock which carries on throughout the play.

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