A Tragedy or Comedy - Debate on the Genre of 'The Merchant of Venice'

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The Merchant of Venice
Written sometime between 1596 and 1598, The Merchant of Venice is a play written by famous playwright William Shakespeare in which he wove together two stories; one involving a vengeful, greedy Jewish moneylender trying to seek revenge on Antonio who is a Christian, the other involving a marriage suitor’s choice among three caskets and thereby winning his (or her) mate, Portia. There has been much debate about the genre of this play and whether it is considered to be a tragedy or comedy. In my opinion, I feel that it was Shakespeare’s intention to write it as a comedy due to the elements of a Shakespearean comedy incorporated in it. These ideas are explored through the characters of Shylock, Antonio, Gratiano, Bassanio, Nerissa and Portia and the event of the court scene.
There are many elements that make a Shakespearean play a comedy, one of those being that there is a hero who gets into trouble but it saved in the end. Antonio can be seen as the hero in this story as he is the one who helps Bassanio get money from Shylock to woo Portia and is the loan’s guarantor in the bond with Shylock and Bassanio. Antonio gets into trouble in the play when the amount owed to the bond is unable to be paid back to Shylock; it is stated in the bond that if such a thing is to happen then a pound of flesh is to be taken from Antonio’s body closest to his heart. This puts Antonio’s life is danger but a sudden turn of events has the bad situation turned on Shylock as he is unable to abide by the conditions of the bond; taking an exact amount of one pound of flesh in one go without letting any blood drop. Shylock now has to face the consequences; losing half his estate to Antonio, the other half to his daughter Jessica and her husband Lorenzo when Shylock passes away, and converting from Judaism to Christianity. Shakespeare has incorporated a metaphor in the

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