In this essay I will be discussing how characters language changes throughout the play, centering on the judgment scene. The Characters I will be focusing on are Shylock and Portia.
The first difference in the language is how Portia and Shylocks language portrays them as characters. Shylock is seen as the villain in the play he is manipulative, blood thirsty ‘’Nearest his heart’: those are the very words’ (Act 4, Scene 1, Line 252), but becomes the mockery of the play, He is considered the lowliest of the low as a Jew.
Portia is also manipulative, using silent humor as to not embarrass herself, having discussed with Nerissa her displeasure in the choice of suitors, she cleverly replies, ‘Yourself, renowned prince, then stood as fair as any comer I have looked on yet for my affection.’ (Act 2, Scene 1, Line 20) this demonstrates the use of her words as not to cause embarrassment, whilst being honest and telling Nerissa he literally that he had no chance. The language Shakespeare uses for Portia and Shylock is different, both Portia and Shylock are very formal in the way they speak. Shylock is formal in a polite way in the judgment scene out of respect, ‘your grace’ (Act 4, Scene 1, Line 35). As a sign of nobility Portia is formal in the way that she speaks, mostly she uses verse in more important scenes such as the judgment scene, which further emphasizes her portrayal as a formal male character. However, Portia’s language is far more informal when she speaks to Nerissa ‘You know I say nothing to him, for he hath neither Latin, French nor Italian’ this clearly accentuates their relationship as close; Portia speaks to Nerissa in prose. Shylock on the other hand speaks predominantly in prose showing his lower status, particularly in his conversation with Tubal, ‘How now, Tubal, what news from Genoa? Hast thou found my daughter?’ (Act 3, Scene 1, Line 71),