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Thread: Is the play, by design, a puzzle?

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    stanley2
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    Is the play, by design, a puzzle?

    Professor Mahon noted Professor Muir's comment that much of the criticism of MV is not so much wrong as selective and partial. Did the author, then , design the play to foster conversation?

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    Registered User mona amon's Avatar
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    I think the author wrote the best play he could at that moment, and designed it so it would bring in the most money at the box office.
    Exit, pursued by a bear.

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    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    What was Professor Muir's comment? Without knowing that it is impossibly to respond intelligently.
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

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    stanley2
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    I picked up Professor Bates' intro to ROMEO AND JULIET. He writes: "So it is that, like VENUS and LUCRECE[narrative poems], A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM and ROMEO AND JULIET are companion pieces. As DREAM is darkened by something of the night, so ROMEO is a tragedy that keeps surprising us with flashes of comedy. What, then is MV?

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    stanley2
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    I would like to fix an error. The above quote from Professor Bates should end at "comedy." The words "What, then is MV?" are mine.

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    Registered User prendrelemick's Avatar
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    Having seen a RSC production I now know it is a comedy first and formost - a cruel one in parts, but the audience was laughing along like good Elizabethans.
    ay up

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    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mona amon View Post
    I think the author wrote the best play he could at that moment, and designed it so it would bring in the most money at the box office.
    This is how I see the Merchant of Venice as well.

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    stanley2
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    In CLIFFSCOMPLETE we find:"THE MERCHANT OF VENICE asks a lot of questions and doesn't often answer them...........[the play] ends in harmony, but it leaves enough questions unanswered to keep the audience debating the important issues that it raises." The play begins: :In sooth, I know not why I am so sad." Professor Bevington wrote: "The question is haunting: what is the matter?" One might then ask: why is the RSC audience laughing? Solanio says: "Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time: Some that will evermore peep through their eyes / And laugh like parrots at a bagpiper...."(1.1.51-3 or so). The RSC people are major league big time pros. Perhaps they made Gratiano the leading character: "Let me play the fool! / With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come, / And let my liver rather heat with wine / Than my heart cool with mortifying groans"(1.1.79-82 or so). When in the court scene Portia says: "Tarry a little; there is something else"(4.1.203 or so), some might laugh if Shylock is patiently waiting for Bassanio to step aside. Professor Muir also wrote: "In some ways THE MERCHANT OF VENICE appears to be the most straightforward of Shakespeare's plays, a kind of fairy story, with a beautiful princess, a handsome suitor and an ogre. It is often the first play to be studied in British schools." Therefore, Shylock and Antonio are mad at each other and the nice lady tells them to staighten up and fly right.

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    stanley2
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    I also misspelled the name of Professor Jonathan Bate.

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