"A (wo)man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of (her)his life in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of beautiful God has implanted in the human soul."- Goethe

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Merchant of Venice

I recently finished reading the heartbreaking Merchant of Venice by ole' Billy Shakespeare:

Oh, friends! This play is amazing! It is partly a comedy but also considered a tragedy when read with a modern perspective. Some points that stood out to me reading it this time around were:
  • The love of family, especially between father and daughter
  • The nature of parenthood vs. being a blood relative
  • Mercy vs. Justice, and the reciprocity of both
  • The nature of hatred, it's growth pattern and consequences
  • Religious fervor, and conversion as a punishment
  • The cost of being beholden, and paying interest
  • The relationship between risk and reward
  • True friendship and the characteristics of a real friend
A couple other specifics that I found poignant were the homosexual tones in Antonio and Bassanio's relationship. I had never noticed that or considered it before, but it changed many aspects of the play once I read it with that filter. Also, I couldn't help but empathize with Jessica, as she watched her Shylock's demise, knowing that her actions fanned the flames of hatred which left her father in ruin. She had to have known that leaving would devastate her father, and because her friends were the ones receiving the brunt of his wrath, she couldn't simply run away from her problems and start a new life. She was in a way forced to watch all the consequences play out in front of her. She made a brave decision to separate herself from a strong cultural gravity and assert her independence, but she must have felt a heavy responsibility for what happened to the other characters as a result.

Anyway, this gets a thumbs up, for sure! Have you read it or will you if you haven't yet? If you have read it already, what did you like about it?

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