Comedy of Tradgedy: William Shakespeare’s the Merchant of Venice

Topics: The Merchant of Venice, Christopher Marlowe, Shylock Pages: 3 (795 words) Published: July 18, 2013
Rex Clayton
Professor Kennedy
ENGL 200
07/13/2013
Sympathy not Tragedy
That old Jew got what he deserved! This is the cathartic feeling that William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice inspires as the central character Antonio is released from the perils of his impending death. In American society today, it is wrong to persecute someone for their religious beliefs, as we are all created equal. This sentiment was, indeed, not the case in the 1500’s. Although the events that surround Shylock are interpreted as very tragic in today’s society, in the eyes of the audience, Shylock is a greedy Jew who has it out for a man who has done nothing wrong. The Merchant of Venice is about a popular rich man who, through a turn of unfortunate events, finds himself bankrupt and due to lose his life. In the end he is redeemed by the valiant actions of this friends. William Shakespeare intended the audience to have sympathy for the central character. With the fortunate turn of events surrounding this character, The Merchant of Venice is a classic example of Aristotelian comedy. good Aristotle was very clear in the definitions of comedynice transition. Although there are many different ways to analyze and interpret different types of comedy, the central theme of comedy is a happy ending. Tragedy is more cryptic when it comes to its interpretation. Aristotle defined tragedy as having all of the following: A hero, a tragic error of the hero, negative results from those actions, hero’s recognition of his error, and retribution (Schnell, Tragedy). Hegelian Tragedy is defined as involving “a situation in which two rights or values are in fatal conflict” (Simpson, Comedy and Tragedy). Good. A nice aside These two interpretations of tragedy can be carried over into The Merchant of Venice and the conflict between Shylock and Antonio. If we look at this drama from Aristotle’s point of view, Shylock’s life does fit some of the criteria. His bloodlustgood! for vengeance is a tragic...

Cited: Schnell, Lisa. “Tragedy”. Vermont. University of Vermont. Web. 13 July 2013.
Shakespeare, William. The Merchant of Venice. In ENGL200: Composition and
Literature. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2013. Print.
Simpson, David L. “Comedy and Tragedy”. Chicago. The School for New Learning, DePaul
University. 1998. Web. 13 July 2013
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