Tragedy or Comedy
The play writer William Shakespeare is widely considered one the greatest playwrights in history. His work transformed English literature forever. Most of his plays were either comedies or tragedies and some seemed to have the line blurred between the two as they contain elements of both. The play Merchant of Venice is one of these plays that contains flavours of both a comedy and a tragedy. Many scholars have frequently debated whether the play is either classified as a comedy or a tragedy. There is no clear cut line to show which it is as it could easily fit into either category. However there are many elements that this play shares with the typical Shakespearian comedies. This includes that most of the characters in the play receive happy endings, there is numerous comical scenes and characters and it contains a fool who the audience loves. Therefore it appears that Merchant of Venice is ‘a tragedy gone wrong’ which results in it being a comedy.
One of the characteristics of Shakespeare’s comedies is that all the protagonists’ hardships are dissolved and they obtain happy endings, while the antagonist who everyone loves to hate only receives losses. The protagonists such as Antonio thought that he had lost everything – his money, reputation and “a pound of his fair flesh” which would eminently result in his death. However through the clever storyline, Antonio gets some of his money back with extra from the man who wanted to kill him, his reputation is saved by his friend and he kept his life. Likewise Bassanio wanted to pay off his debt as he had been living more than his “means would grant continuance”. However in the process of doing that he married the woman of his dreams, Portia. Through this Portia who was “curbed by the will of [her] dead father” to marry the man who chooses the right casket, gets to marry the man of her dreams Bassanio. Through this ordeal, Portia who was previously a shallow self-absorbed lady transformed to...
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