The Merchant of Venice Dialectical Journals

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Humanities English II -4
21 February 2011
Dialectical Journals: The Merchant of Venice
Source| Quotation| Analysis|
Act 1. Sc.1 Pg.17Ln. 147-151, 153-159| “In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft, I shot his fellow of the self-same flight. The self-same way with more advised watch, to find the other forth, and by adventuring both, I oft found both.” “I owe you much, and, like a willful youth, that which I owe is lost; but if you please to shoot another arrow that self-way which you did shoot the first, I do not doubt, as I will watch the aim, or to find both or bring your latter hazard back again and thankfully rest debtor for the first.”| 1. When I was younger, if I had lost an arrow, I would shoot another one in the same direction and follow it to find the first. In the same way, give me more money and it will lead me to get you back all the money I owe.2. Pleading; vying for second chances. Shakespeare introduces Bassanio’s character as one who feels strongly for the influence of second chances. He uses persuasive and self-denouncing diction to influence Antonio’s decision on how to deal with his debt, comparing himself to “a willful youth” in order to display that his character was out of the norm when he lost the first batch of money. By degrading himself, that will prove that he does not usually act that way and deserves a second chance to prove his true character. The author’s use of desperation on Bassanio's part enhances the reader’s eagerness to read on and discover whether he will make do on his promises, seeing that he did not the first time.2. Metaphor: a direct comparison between two things. Shakespeare’s direct relation of the situation of finding the first arrow through the shooting of the second to the lending of more money in order to “rest debtor for the first” serves to intensify Bassanio's pride that the plan will ensue successfully. The point of the story is to calm Antonio’s worries of Bassanio’s plan, and to give Antonio no reason to refuse him the second chance because he has extreme confidence in himself to return both monies. Shakespeare relates this situation to the story of the arrows in order to further enhance Antonio’s and the reader’s understanding of Bassanio’s desperation for another chance with Antonio’s money.| Act 1. Sc.2Pg. 25Ln. 83-89| NERISSA “How do you like the young German, the Duke of Saxony’s nephew?”PORTIA “Very vilely in the morning, when he is sober, and most vilely in the afternoon, when he is drunk: when he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast.”| 1. He is horrible when sober, and even worse when drunk. His best is not up to the standards of a normal man, and in his worst, he is like an animal.2. Patronizing; judgmental. Portia’s attitudes towards other men that are of her standards in social ranking portray that they are not always of her standards in their character and attitudes, especially this young German she is speaking of, who is the nephew of a Duke, when she says he is “little better than a beast” at times. Although she has justification for her feelings towards this man, she meets him with a contemptuous attitude, feeling that though they are practically equal in social status, she is superior in character. This attitude she feels towards these other men impact the play in that it sets the standards for what she will accept and who she will marry.3. Antithesis: a statement in which two opposing ideas are balanced. The structural use of negating the statements of this man’s “best” being “worse than a man” as his “worst” being “better than a beast” goes to provide enough evidence as to just how awful this man really is. This use of corresponding syntax with differing descriptions serves to provide the reader with a full understanding of this man’s personality with regards to how he acts on a regular basis, and thus goes to emphasize the lack of good men that are suitable enough for...
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