Debt as Gift and Gift as Debt in the Comedy of The Merchant of Venice (1660 words)

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Question

The Merchant Of Venice By Shakespeare.

The Merchant of Venice is a comedy; however it's comedic elements are not the same as comedy portrayed in today's plays.
In this paper, a unique definition of COMEDY is presented and an outline is suggested as to what comedy should be.

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The Quality of Mercy is Strained: Debt as Gift and Gift as Debt in The Merchant of Venice
In this paper it will be argued that William Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice is a comedy about debt. However, it is also a comedy of the gift. Comedies are stories that deal in the struggle conflict brings to human beings. In this play, the conflict hovers around the indebt-edness of money and the question of far mercy should extend. Since the play is a comedy, the conflicts are supposed to be resolved.
For example, the play presents many resolution that would symbolize the gift. Portia and Bassiano marry. Antonio is saved. Shylock, although defeated receives his money, although he is exiled to his daughter’s abode (who originally had forsaken him to marry a Christian). However, overlaying this conflict is debt. Shylock demands payment for his loan to Antonio. The crux of the conflict in the lay essentially becomes the tension between debt and the gift. However, the conflict is more complicated than only just this interplay. The characters often play dual roles that reflect this conflict....

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