KDE – The Merchant of Venice – Act 4 Sc 1 (Responses)

Using your understanding of the extract, explain how the following lines in bold and underlined, from the extract below, might be performed.

Ay, for the state, not for Antonio.
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.
What mercy can you render him, Antonio?
A halter gratis, nothing else, for God’s sake.
So please my lord the duke and all the court,
To quit the fine for one half of his goods
I am content, so he will let me have
The other half in use to render it
Upon his death unto the gentleman
That lately stole his daughter.
Two things provided more: that for this favor
He presently become a Christian;
The other, that he do record a gift
Here in the court, of all he dies possessed,
Unto his son Lorenzo and his daughter.

You may consider the following in your answer:
• actions
• positioning
• movement
• voice
• gesture
• facial expression.


4 thoughts on “KDE – The Merchant of Venice – Act 4 Sc 1 (Responses)

  1. Emily

    In the court room scene act four scene one. Shylock is feeling pitiful and broken. This is shown to the audience through the lines “take my life and all. Pardon not that” This quote is showing shylock to be ashamed of what he has done he is also disgusted by the way he is being treated in the court room. To show this, shylock would be almost inside himself, hunched over with closed body language. These actions may also shylock to be broken.
    On the other hand in the court room scene gratiano is vengeful and feels shylock should get what he deserves. To show gratiano to be vengeful he may be very loud as he speaks his lines this displaying him to be confident with what he speaks and that he is very confident that he is right. This would be shown when the line “ a halter gratis, nothing else for god sake” gratanio would use hand gestures to gesture a noose around shylock neck as he feels that what should happen to shylock and that he’s worth nothing else
    Finally, The lines “so please my lord the duke and all the court to quit the fine for one half of his goods” when Antonio speak these lines he speak with great confidence. This is because he feels relieved. Antonio would stand very tall as if to say thank god for that. Antonio would also have great pride in himself this would be shown as he speaks him lines with a loud voice.

  2. Willey

    In the Act 4 scene 1 (the court scene) Shylock is a broken and distraught man, this is because he has been sentenced to hand over half of his wealth; his house; and when he dies he must give his possessions to his daughter and son in law, (Jessica and Lorenzo.) Furthermore within the court scene Shylock must instantly change his religion to become a Christian. As a result Shylock is agitated at the prospects of losing his belongings and losing his beliefs to another religion.
    In the extract shylocks’ lines would be performed in a way that he would be beginning to build up irritation due to the prospects of losing his house; money and most of his estate, therefore the line: “Nay, take my life and all”, this line suggests that Shylock doesn’t see the point in living anymore due to the turnover in court. As a result Shylock is beginning to become pitiful.

  3. Yog-Sothoth

    The amount of question B I was able to complete:

    In the extract, Shylock, Antonio and Gratiano share ‘screen time’ in this scene. Each character is able to deliver a fair amount of emotion and personality in their lines, now we just have to see how all of that will be carried over into a performance. Let’s start of with Gratiano. Now he doesn’t really say much during this extract but he does make his presence heard and he is able to present himself effectively through his sparing dialogue. He would stand on the far left of the stage, at a distance from everyone else (a sort of visual representation of his lack of presence during this scene). He would stand in an uncharacteristically sharp and upright position (aimed towards Shylock) and would begin walking maliciously towards Shylock, waggling his finger as he does so. His minuscule line “A halter gratis (a hangman’s rope), nothing else, for god’s sake” would be preformed in a villainous tone and a mass of rage would begin to show as he says the later half of his line (his face would gradually scrunch up as he preforms his line). Once he has said his part, Gratiano retreats to the far left of the stage again.

    Let’s follow through with Shylock; Shylock in this extract has been defeated, he has lost the trial and his bond has (metaphorically) evaporated. His one line (which is once again a mini-monologue) would be performed with the air of defeat but with a level of defiance. He would kneel (to represent defeat) centre stage (though slightly off-kilter) and would move in an introverted manner, speaking in a contrastingly loud and brass voice.

  4. Breadegg

    In act 4 scene 1, Shylock shows a pitiful as well as disgusted way towards himself on walking into a trap that he made, as a punishment, he is forced to change his personal religion form a Jew to a christen. This destroyed shylock, his life was taken away along with his belongings that he owned. He is ordered by Antonio to, “Here in the court, of all he dies possessed, unto his son Lorenzo and his daughter.” Showing that all his belongings and goods go towards his son and also his daughter. He starts to blaspheme quietly in his religious language, at himself.

    However in the court Antonio is a different story. He is giving Shylock not any mercy,
    ——————————————–NOT FINISHED—————————————————————


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