Merchant of Venice Essay

983 WordsMar 29, 20094 Pages
Merchant of Venice Essay. - Alannah Grace. 'Interesting characters rather then profound themes lie at the heart of any Shakespearian play.' This statement is true for a number of reasons. Although themes are vitally important, characters are what are needed to identify with, otherwise the audience loses interest. Characters are needed for the audience to relate to so the play can be understood. Secondly, themes lie within the characters. Characters are what are required to carry the themes. For a play to be successful, the audience must be able to identify with the characters. In Merchant of Venice, the themes love, racism and loyalty are all raised. All of these themes are very thought provoking – some may even say life changing. But if no one could relate to the bitter Shylock, or the generous Antonio, or the escaping but in love Jessica, then the play would not be nearly as successful. Less people would have sat through the play back in the 16th century, and no one would have any idea who Shakespeare was some four hundred years later. It is because people, from the 1700s and the 2000s, are able to feel empathy for the characters that Merchant of Venice is still well known today. Surely this would mean that characters are more vital than themes – indeed, without interesting characters, what reason is there for the audience to play attention to the themes? People can relate to Portia, who is choosing a husband for herself but is still required to obey her late father's wishes. When leaving the theater, the audience think of characters such as Portia, not the themes of confusion and being torn that lie behind the character. The audience feels empathy for her, and are compelled to keep watching to find out what she will become. The audience tends to be more interested in interesting characters than profound themes. Plays are mainly written with the purpose to

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