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Consider the events leading up to the murder of King Duncan. What elements contributed to his death?
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Regicide is the killing of a king. It is an event prevalent in Macbeth as the main focus of the story is of killing to gain power. In the play Macbeth the character Macbeth takes the easy route to power by killing the king and usurping the throne for himself. While this route to power seemed easy in plan the consequences for the country of Scotland and Macbeth are dire. The chain of being is an idea or philosophy that was prevalent during Shakespeare's time. It is an ordered hierarchical system of government. In Shakespeare's time people believed there was...
however his actions are augmented by the influence of others. Duncan provided an opportunity to assume the throne, his wife encouraged him to step forward and fulfil his destiny, and the witches make Macbeth and Lady Macbeth believe that it is possible and inevitable. With these factors all in correlation the single path in Macbeth's mind is opened. Through commitment to this task Macbeth chose the death of Duncan above his own honour. While he performed the act himself no man is an island. He relied on the influences of those around him in order to form his decision.
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Discuss the dramatic development of... Discuss the dramatic development of Lady Macbeth Macbeth is a drama written about how a warrior tries to become king through murder and deceit with the help of his wife, and how the consequences of their actions are great. The play is centred around four main themes: evil, death, mental disorders and the supernatural which are closely linked together. Lady Macbeth shows all of these things and is a very diverse character who slowly develops through the course of the play. At the beginning of the play, the audience meet the witches and are first introduced to evil and supernatural. Witches were a very controversial subject at the time when Shakespeare wrote the play. This means that the play would be controversial and attract a lot of customers as well as raising thoughts and ideas in the audience"s heads. Seeing and hearing the witches early on gets the audience ready for the rest of the play and lets them know what its about. This also tell the audience what the letter means that Lady Macbeth reads out at the beginning of act 1 scene 5. In act 1 scene 5, where Lady Macbeth is reading the letter from Macbeth, she finds out that Duncan will be coming to stay and thinks that this is a perfect opportunity for her to use her plan to make Macbeth king, it literally falls straight into her lap. " Messenger: the king comes here to-night". During this scene, Lady Macbeth mentions some key words used which show the main themes of the play: "closest partner" - This means that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have a close relationship and are happy together. "greatness" - Macbeth is considering his future and what it holds for him. "metaphysical", "fate" - Lady Macbeth is mentioning the supernatural, showing that this is a key part o the play. "Raven" - She is mentioning death, which is another main theme. "night" - Night could be thought of as evil in the times when the play was performed because dark was related to evil and light to good. "smoke of hell" - An obvious reference to evil. When Lady Macbeth has her speech line 37 to line 57, she is trying to invoke the evil spirits and make her like a man and therefore strong and powerful. "come you spirits" she is speaking directly to the spirits. "unsex me here"¦ full of direst cruelty"" she wants to be a man and become full of cruelty and evil so that she can commit the terrible deeds that she wants to do. "make thick my blood, stop up the access and passage to remorse" if her blood is thicker, then less emotion will be able to reach her hart and she will be able to stand up to them and be evil. "take my milk for gall" take all that is womanly and turn it bitter like bile, make me bitter and foul. "sightless substances" she believes that the spirits are real, but she just can"t see them. "pall the in the dunnest smoke of hell" she wants to be shrouded in the darkest spirits or "smoke" from hell to make her as evil as possible. "all hail hereafter!" she is predicting the future enthusiastically, you will be even greater! The future will happen now and you will be king soon. She needs to become evil so she can make Macbeth do what he has to do as well as other bad things she has to do later. As soon as Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth that Duncan is coming, she asks when he will leave, "and when goes hence" she"s so obsessed with the plan that Macbeth doesn"t really seem to matter, she really wants this to work. Macbeth replies and she just tells him that Duncan will be dead before then. Lady Macbeth mentions faces, which is a metaphor for behaviour that is used later in the play as well. She says that his face is like a book where people can read what is happening. She wants them both to put on a mask metaphorically speaking and cover up their feelings and behaviour so that no one suspects anything. "look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under"t" serpent is a reference to evil, as in the Garden of Eden. "He that's coming must be provided for" what does she mean? Does she want the people to be happy or is she talking about the murder? Or both? I think that the latter is true, she needs to prepare for the guests so that they don't suspect anything, but she still needs to get the final details correct for the murder. Macbeth, who has just come back from battle is stunned and surprised by all this and is also very tired, he wants to do it later, so Lady Macbeth tells him not to worry and that she will sort it out. Yet again, she is too busy with the plan to worry about him. During Act 1 Scene 7, Lady Macbeth is persuading Macbeth to go ahead with the murder. At the beginning of the scene, Macbeth is talking to himself and trying to work out whether he should kill Duncan. Without Macbeth Lady Macbeth"s plan won"t work so it is critical that she persuades him to do it. He starts off saying that if the murder was done quickly, it would be a good thing as soon as it was done. Then he says that if the murder can stop any further consequences and succeed, then one blow could be all that is needed to end everything "the be-all and end-all". He says that if he went through with it, he would not want to go to the afterlife because he would be punished for it, but he would get punished on earth anyway because of the law. He is weighing out the good and bad points. Macbeth is the king"s subject and should be loyal. He is also his host and his duty to look after the visitor and protecting not kill him himself. As well as his relative. Duncan is a good man and has been good to me. He is like an angel. If he were killed, pity will be seen and everyone will find out about the murder with a tear in their eye. If Duncan was a bad person, Macbeth wouldn't mind killing him, but he wasn't. Macbeth thought that his ambition to be king exceeded any hope anyway. He decided that he was not going to go through with it because of all this. After he has gone through everything and decided not to do it, Lady Macbeth comes in and asks him what he thinks. He says in no unclear terms that he doesn"t want to go ahead, "we"ll proceed no further in this business", he says that he has had great praise off people and doesn"t want to spoil it all. Lady Macbeth is shocked at his answer and will not take no for an answer. She is determined to make him change her mind and spends the rest of the scene doing so because this is so important to her. "Was the hope drunk, Wherein you dress"d yourself? Hath it slept since, and wakes it now, to look so green and pale" Has your hope had a hangover or something? "art thou afeard To be the same in thine own act and valour As thou art in desire?" Are you frightened to be what you would like to be? "And live a coward in thine own esteem" Are you a coward in your own self-esteem? "Letting "I dare not" wait upon "I would" like the poor cat j" the adage?" Are going to say I dare not after saying I will like a cat who wants to eat fish, but doesn"t want to get its paws wet? These are the first few questions that Lady Macbeth asks Macbeth to try to persuade him. In reply to these questions, Macbeth answers saying "I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more, is none" anyone who does more than is natural for a man is not a man. Lady Macbeth says that he must have been a beast then when he had this idea and that he would be more of a man if he did it. Lady Macbeth is mocking him in order to get him to do it. The connection between Lady Macbeth and Macbeth is becoming weaker but only a little bit. Lady Macbeth is so desperate to get Macbeth to continue the plan that she says that she would do the worst thing possible for a woman. She would take her smiling child whom she loves dearly and is what makes her a woman and beat the brains out of it so as to kill it, rather than take this opportunity to kill Duncan. "know how tender "tis to love the babe that milks me: I would, while it was smiling in my face, Have pluck"d my nipple from his boneless gums, And dash"d the brains out, had I so sworn as you Have done to this". Macbeth is very shocked about this and realises how much it means to her. This also shocks the audience because such a deed would be unimaginable for any mother at the time and would leave the audience to believe that Lady Macbeth is becoming more evil. When Lady Macbeth says that she would kill her own child, this could be because of many reasons, she could just be an evil person, as she did call upon the spirits earlier in the play. She wants this to happen really badly, does she want to be queen more then love her child? I think that she can"t be pure evil, she is very ambitious, but not evil. If Macbeth definitely wouldn't kill Duncan, she wouldn't kill her child. Even though it was probably an empty threat, just to say that kind of thing shows that she really wants them to be king and queen. Macbeth is close to agreeing to the plan. He wants to do it now, but is worried about what would happen if they fail. Lady Macbeth simply replies "we fail?" she doesn"t want to think about failing, it is out of the question. They won"t fail as long as Macbeth screws up his courage like the strings on a lute or guitar so they taut and then we will succeed. After Macbeth is convinced, they add the final touches to the plan and everything is on course for success at the end of the scene. In Act 2 Scene 2 Macbeth has returned from killing Duncan and is telling Lady Macbeth about what has happened. At the beginning of the scene, Lady Macbeth is worried about what has happened. "Has it gone wrong," "I did everything right." "It hasn't worked," "oh no, he has failed." "If Duncan hadn"t reminded me of my father, I would do it myself." Lady Macbeth is really quite worried. When Macbeth arrives and tells her that he"s done it, it is a great relief to her, but they are still both a bit jumpy, worried about noises they are hearing. After killing his king, Macbeth is quite traumatised saying that the blood on his hands is "a sorry sight", but Lady Macbeth is less worried now and says that Macbeth is being foolish. She tells him to go back and cover the guards with blood, but Macbeth won"t even think about what he just did, let alone go back to the scene of the murder. So Lady Macbeth goes herself because the guards must look guilty for the plan to work. Macbeth is almost going mad, his eyes are almost falling out of his head at the sight of his hands. "Will all great Neptune"s oceans wash this blood Clean from my hand?" He thinks that metaphorically, all the water on Neptune couldn't wash all this blood from his hands, he can"t get the blood off his hands, everyone will see it and he will always be a murderer. "No, this my hand will rather The multitudinous seas incarnadine Making the green one red." The blood on my hands would make all the many seas red instead of green. Lady Macbeth just tells him to use a bit of water, "How easy it is, then!" Lady Macbeth isn"t worried, but Macbeth is mentally disturbed by what he has just done. Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth everything that happened, including what the guards said. He said that he wanted to say amen to bless himself, but he couldn't say it, as if he couldn't be blessed because of what he was doing, like he was becoming evil. Lady Macbeth realises what is happening to Macbeth and tells him not to think about what has happened or they will both go mad. Sleep was important in Shakespeare"s plays, it was thought to remove all evil and badness from a person, so if you didn't sleep for a while then you might be though of as partly evil or bad. Sleep is mentioned a lot in "Macbeth" and Macbeth mentioned that he was told that he will "sleep no more" he is worried that this will be true and that he will become evil. Lady Macbeth still doesn"t feel bad about anything, and tells Macbeth to simply get some water and wash his hands. "a little water clears us of this deed: how easy is it then!" Act 3 Scene 4 is the banquet in the palace where Macbeth sees the ghost of Banquo. The scene starts off with greetings from Macbeth as if nothing has happened, then he checks that Banquo has been killed and thanks the murderer. I think he hired a murderer because he would do it himself, but he doesn"t want to go through what happened with Duncan again. The murderer says that everything went well, but that Macbeth should be wary because although the murder is not a problem at the moment, it could become a problem later. Macbeth is pleased, but has to get on with being the host and entertaining so as not to let the guests know about what has happened. Lady Macbeth tells the guests how welcome they are and makes a little joke to ease the atmosphere of the banquet. Then the ghost of Banquo enters that only Macbeth can see but before he sees it, he acts like he doesn"t know anything about Banquo"s death and asks why he"s not there so the guests don't suspect anything. Macbeth"s mind is a bit jumbled up and confused when he enters the banquet because of all his secrets, and he isn"t communicating with Lady Macbeth properly. This is the first meeting since the coronation and he needs it to go well if he wants to reinforce his position as king. Macbeth is then asked to sit down, but says "the table"s full" the guests can all see the empty seat, but Macbeth sees the ghost sitting in it. The guests can"t understand what"s going on and Macbeth thinks that it's a joke or something. "Which of you have done this?" He sees the ghost because he feels guilty about killing Banquo and Duncan. Banquo has come back to haunt him for what he has done Duncan and Banquo were Macbeth"s friends as well; this makes him even more upset, if it had been an enemy, he wouldn't be bothered. Ross thinks that Macbeth has gone mad and tells the others to leave, but Lady Macbeth worried herself tries to cover for him. She says that he is often like this since he was a child and the fit will be over soon. Just ignore him and it will be fine. Lady Macbeth talks to Macbeth and asks him what he"s doing, she tries to tell him to stop and reassure him, but he ignores her and starts talking directly to the ghost. He says that if the dead can come back to life, we will have to use the stomachs of birds of prey for tombs. Now Lady Macbeth is getting quite worried about him and what is going to happen because of his behaviour, she asks him if his foolishness had made him completely forget that he is a man. Macbeth speaks to the ghost again, he is confused, he says that once upon a time, there were terrible murders, and when the brains were out, the man was dead and that was the end, but now, that isn"t true and the dead can come back to life. Lady Macbeth reminds him that the guests are waiting for him, as she is again more worried about what is going to happen than what is happening to her husband. After the ghost has gone, Macbeth is yet again confused, he can"t understand why the others aren"t scared when he is, he asks them but they don't know what he"s talking about. Macbeth is not in control of the banquet. We can see this because of his actions and the way he handles them. He has been seeing ghosts and talking to them about death, he has been totally oblivious to his guests while having a fit, he has had a mental breakdown. This has all happened because of what he has done to Duncan and Banquo. He has killed two people who have not done any harm to him, even been his friends, all just for a position which is probably beyond his reach. He has killed many men in way and not thought twice, but now he kills two and snaps, he has gone too far. He has injured himself mentally and damaged the plan that he and Lady Macbeth had come up with. He is really in trouble now. Two of the themes of the play, mental disorders and evil are present in this scene. Macbeth has distorted the natural order of life Animals at the bottom, then ordinary men, then kings and queens then God and is suffering the consequences. At this point, Lady Macbeth realises that it has gone too far and Macbeth isn"t going to cover this up, and so dismisses the guests as quickly as possible so they don't begin to think about why Macbeth is acting the way he is. Macbeth is getting very worried about being uncovered as a murderer and is telling Lady Macbeth about how he will probably be found out. He is also suspicious about Macduff not being at the banquet. He says that he has a spy in every house and that he will see the weird sisters tomorrow and get them to talk, he is desperate to know. Everything in his path to kingship should be killed. He is bent on going all the way now and no one is going to stop him. Lady Macbeth is a little shocked by this and thinks that Macbeth needs sleep to get rid of the evil that seems to be filling him up, so they go to bed. In Act 5 Scene 1 we see Lady Macbeth sleepwalking which is a repeated occurrence. The scene starts with a conversation between a doctor and a gentlewoman which is simply a way of telling the audience that this is not a one off, and that Lady Macbeth"s mind is severely damaged and she does this regularly. The gentlewoman is arguing with the doctor, saying that she has seen lady Macbeth sleepwalk and do things, but the doctor doesn"t believe her. Then Lady Macbeth sleepwalks in and proves the gentlewoman right. The two talk about what she is doing and are in awe. Lady Macbeth is washing her hands, like she told Macbeth to do before. He said that he couldn't clean them, and she is having the same problem, she cant get them clean. She mentions hell, afraid, fear and blood. She is not speaking in proper sense; she is asking questions as if someone was there. Her mind is being emptied in a big surge. She keeps going on about not being able to get her hands clean. "Here"s the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh! oh! oh!" When says oh in the text, I would interpret that as a scream as they did in the version that I watched. When she lets out this scream, she is releasing everything that has been cooped up in her mind. "What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely charged.". The doctor tells the gentlewoman that he cannot do anything about Lady Macbeth, he can only help earthly problems, not mental ones, he just mentions sleep. Lady Macbeth is recalling what went on previously "there"s knocking at the gate"¦What"s done cannot be undone. To bed, to bed, to bed." The doctor says that bed will help her and asks God to bless her and relieve her of the evil that is trapped within her. This is the last we see of Lady Macbeth, she is not heard of until Act 5 Scene 5 where Macbeth and the audience is informed of her death. The news of lady Macbeth"s death is delivered by a man called seyton. His name has a strong resemblance to Satan the devil. Is this intentional by Shakespeare? I think it is, the devil has taken hold of Lady Macbeth because of all the evil that come within her. Macbeth strangely doesn"t seem to be very bothered about it, he says that she would die anyway, time goes on and on at a trivial rate until the end of time, life is like a candle which will go out eventually, and we are very insignificant in the big picture. Life is a story told by an idiot signifying nothing. I think that this is Shakespeare"s philosophy on what life is and his way of portraying his ideas is through plays such as this. The whole play reflects his thoughts and ideas on all the subjects covered such as evil, death, mental disorders and the supernatural Lady Macbeth"s character develops a lot throughout the play and shows many ideas. She changes a lot through the play, at the start, she is ambitious and happy, but her ambition is almost at the extreme, she would do terrible things to get this done, but she can only do things through her husband. Because of this her husband gets very involved when he is reluctant to begin with. Lady Macbeth has to fill herself with evil in order to succeed and is prepared to do so. She becomes obsessed with the plan to kill Duncan and Banquo and become queen, so much so that she loses the close connection between herself and Macbeth. They slip further and further apart, they become meaningless to each other, and so lady Macbeth loses all goodness in her and the evil takes over, she dies and is forgotten by the only one who ever loved her. Her evil is passed over to Macbeth during the short time they have together, but Macbeth cant handle the evil and the actions as well as lady Macbeth can, and so goes mad before she does. Macbeth recovers from this madness though. Lady Macbeth doesn"t. Although he did recover from the madness and most of the evil, Macbeth lost a large part of his sole, his love for Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth could be played as a pure evil character who doesn"t have feelings, just a machine, bent on success. She could be played as a person ambitious to the extreme who blocks everything else out and does what she has to do. I think she is a person who is forced to do what she has to do by the times she lives in and the possibilities that can only happen if the goal is reached, and is very ambitious and not a angelic person, but not really evil. She misjudged the consequences of her and Macbeth"s actions, she thought that she could handle it all, and she could to begin with, but eventually, it all became too much for her.   

Discuss the dramatic development of Lady Macbeth Macbeth is a drama written about how a warrior tries to become king through murder and deceit with the help of his wife, and how the consequences of their actions are great. The play is centred around four main themes: evil, death,...

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Prior to the play Miller clearly...Prior to the play Miller clearly establishes what the Salem community would have been like in 1692: "The children were anything but thankful for being permitted to walk straight, eyes slightly lowered, arms at the sides, and mouths shut until bidden to speak" This shows us that life in Salem in 1692 was very strict and religious. There was a very rigid regime to follow and everyone should be thankful to god for being allowed to follow it. It was as if it was so rigid someone would soon burst out and rebel against it. The crucible describes Salem in 1692 when madness took over when accusation by a bunch of girls started flying around the village that there were witches: "I saw Goody Hawkins with the Devil!" The girls who made these accusations snapped because of the harsh strict conditions they lived in and started making accusation about half the women in Salem being witches. This is also very similar to Miller's own experiences. He fell to the hands of a very paranoid committee called the House Un-American Activities Committee who had the power to investigate people who were seen as a threat to the state. The chairman of it was Senator Joseph McCarthy. This committee wanted to stop the spreading of communist at a very delicate time and it was know as McCarthyism. It stopped and arrested anyone who they thought might have been a communist. Miller was one of these people; he was brought before the caught because he signed a petition because he was scared of fascism. This made Miller think of the parallels between McCarthyism and the cries of witchcraft in Salem 1692. A crucible is a container in which metals are heated to extract the pure element from impurities. In the play many characters go through there own personal crucibles where there impurities are extracted and they become better people. Elizabeth Proctor is married to John proctor who have 3 children and are very religious: "There be no love for satin in this house." Elizabeth and John Proctor are good people who are religious and believe that satin does not reside in there house even if it does in the rest of Salem as they try their best to be Christians whilst still looking after each other and their farm. In act one we hear Abigail describe Elizabeth as " a cold snivelling woman" yet this contradicts with stage directions, which describe Elizabeth as "singing to the children". This suggests that Elizabeth is really a good person who loves her children and that Abigail is very resentful because Elizabeth is married to John Proctor, who had relationships with Abigail. When Elizabeth found out about this she threw Abigail out on the street. In the stage directions Miller describes the Proctors house as "low, dark and rather long". Also in the stage directions John Proctor is described tasting the food in the pot and "He is not quite pleased". Both these stage directions reflect the state of John and Elizabeth proctors house. There relationship is going through a bad patch and it is very dark because and John is not satisfied and wants to change it. When John and Elizabeth are talking it become apparent to the audience through the stage directions that John is uncomfortable: "As gently as he can" He has to be very careful around Elizabeth as not to say anything that may get her upset and this causes him great stress as he knows anything he says may result in the end of their relationship. Elizabeth is very cold towards John after she realises he was alone with Abigail and when they are talking about their relationship she replies with very short answers: "It must be" Elizabeth has still not forgiven John for his relationship with Abigail and does not trust him. She still feels that she cannot trust and forgive John for breaking one of the commandments and she is like Abigail described her. Mary Warren, their new housekeeper, enters and this stops their arguing and they learn about the terrible days events in Salem: "Goody Osburn "“ will hang!" This fear of being accused of witches and the shock of such a terrible thing brings the Proctors together and Elizabeth starts talking to John, as he was a real human being. Reverend Hale comes and visits the Proctors house and John Proctor is asked to recite the 10 commandments but when he gets stuck his wife helps him: "Adultery, John" This shows that although she has not forgiven John for what he did but she still loves him really and does not want to see him hanged for witchcraft. It is thought that Abigail had been stabbed by Elizabeth's spirit and her house is searched and a poppet, which Mary gave to her, was found. Elizabeth denies sending the spirit to stab Abigail and John Proctor heavily defends his wife from the questioning and states: "My life will never lie" This shows that John still loves Elizabeth and does not want her to be taken away and that he believes that all these accusations of witchcraft are false. But John Proctor insisting that his wife is not a liar has serious consequences later on in the play. To try and prove that Abigail and the others girls are lying he admits to his adultery with Abigail and calls her "a whore". He explains the situation with Abigail and explains that is why she was removed from their household. Abigail says that it is untrue so John Proctor instructs the court to ask his wife who will confirm that they in fact have had a relationship. Because Elizabeth's previous behaviour and Johns persistence that she would not lie in act 2 it is presumed that Elizabeth would not break a commandment and tell the truth but we are shocked to hear what she has to say: "I came to think he fancied her. And so one night I lost my wits, I think, and put her out on the highroad." It is a big surprise that she denies this because she is a very religious person and we have heard that she does not lie. It also shows that Elizabeth trusts John and would break a commandment for the sake of his name. In conclusion Elizabeth goes through a big personality in the play in which she remove her impurities and goes through her personal crucible. Her personality changes vastly during the play and her emotions towards her husband greatly changed. At the beginning of the play Elizabeth was very cold and unresponsive towards her husband and has not forgiven him for his relationship with Abigail. No matter how hard proctor tries he cannot please Elizabeth not even when he tries to stop her being taken away. We find out Elizabeth's true feeling though when she is asked whether John did have an affair with Abigail and she lies to protect John and the dependence they have on each other. Elizabeth forgives John and shows this by protecting him by breaking one of the commandments. This is Elizabeth's crucible.   

Prior to the play Miller clearly establishes what the Salem community would have been like in 1692: "The children were anything but thankful for being permitted to walk straight, eyes slightly lowered, arms at the sides, and mouths shut until bidden to speak" This shows us that life in Salem...

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In this essay I will aim...In this essay I will aim to explore how Shakespeare has expressed the feud between Shylock and Antonio in the Merchant of Venice. From the character list we can identify factors that will affect how the feud between Shylock and Antonio is portrayed as we learn that Antonio is of the Christian faith and Shylock is a Jew and at the time that the play is set in, religious prejudice against Jews was becoming increasingly common and therefore creates the opportunity for Shakespeare to portray him as a nasty, villainous character. In Act 1, Scene 3 we are introduced to Shylock in a conversation with Bassanio, where he is trying to borrow money from Shylock on Antonio's behalf. At first glance the conversation seems to be very business like, as Shylock seems to appear very commanding and Bassanio addresses him as Sir, for example "Ay, sir, for three months." When asked by Bassanio whether he is willing to lend him the money under the terms agreed between the two men, Shylock's reply is "Antonio is a good man" Upon hearing this we presume at this point that Shylock has no strong feelings towards Antonio and this could be seen as a very ambiguous statement, as it could be referring to his personal feelings towards Antonio or the state of his financial affairs. Shylock's feelings towards Antonio become somewhat mixed later on in the act as when asked by Bassanio whether he has any doubts of Antonio's assets providing financial backing for the loan taken out by Bassanio on his behalf Shylock replies: "But ships are boards, sailors but men; there be land rats, and water rats, water thieves and land thieves "“ I mean pirates "“ and then there is the peril of waters, winds and rocks. The man is not withstanding sufficient." These feelings towards Antonio and his Christian friends are made more hostile when Shylock is invited by Bassanio to come and dine with them as Shylock replies "Yes, to smell pork, to eat the habitation which your prophet the Nazarite conjured the devil into. I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and so following; but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you." This is the beginning of the religious element of the feud as Jesus mentioned in the quote as "your prophet the Nazarite" is said by Shylock to be a conjurer and someone who associates with the devil, a very strong statement in times where religion was paramount in society and heresy was an extremely serious accusation. Upon hearing this it becomes apparent to the reader that Shylock may feel some resentment towards his Christian associates. Soon after this, Antonio is introduced to the Act and instantly Shylock, whilst aside from Antonio, bombards him with negative comments, for example; "How like a fawning publican he looks! I hate him for he is Christian; but more, for that low simplicity he lends out money gratis and brings down the rate of usance here with us in Venice." This is a very revealing comment by Shylock, as the fact that he confirms he has religious grudges towards Christians may change the way the readers feel sympathy towards him, as before we knew this, we would have maybe presumed that as Shylock is a Jew and he is forever being persecuted, but upon hearing he himself feels prejudice towards Christians, may change that entirely. Shylock also gives us more insight into why he hates him as he says that as he lends out money "gratis" free of interest; Christianity forbids charging interest on the lending of money which brings down his business as customers may choose to borrow from Christian counterparts rather than pay interest and borrow from Shylock. Further to his earlier negative comments about Antonio, Shylock also says; "If I can catch him once upon the hip, I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him. He hates our sacred nation, and he rails even there where merchants most do congregate on me, my bargains, and my well won thrift which he calls interest. Cursed be my tribe if I forgive him!" This statement by a now Shylock certainly proves that he does actually bear a grudge against Antonio and confirms that he would love to catch him out and "feed fat the ancient grudge" that Shylock bears. The sympathy factor also takes another swing upon reading this as Shylock implies that Antonio hates the nation of Jewish people and he criticises Jews with his fellow traders and also criticises the charging of interest on money lending which Shylock tactfully calls his "well won thrift". Later in this scene we come across a very important speech by Shylock which gives us more insight into the feud, as shylock explains to the audience, in depth, the severity of hate Antonio is said to have shown towards Shylock. For example "In the Rialto you have rated me about my monies and my usances. Still I have borne it with a patient shrug for suff'rance is the badge of all our tribe" This tells the audience that a degree of Antonio's dislike for Shylock stems from the fact he is a money lender as he mentions "usances" which is the term used by people who are money lenders. Shylock also tells us that he feels that Jews are always persecuted. From a personal point of view, the fact that Shylock persists to complain about how bad the bullying Jews receive is, his character is perceived at times to be almost annoying. Another key moment in this speech is when Shylock reminds Antonio of the fact that he has called him a "stranger cur" dog and spat on his beard and as Antonio is asking to borrow money from him he says: "What should I say to you? Should I not say "Hath a dog money? Is it possible a cur can lend three thousand ducats?"" This collection of sentences by Shylock shows the audience another side of his character as here he is being extremely sarcastic and might again change the way they feel sympathy for him. In act two, scene 5 Shylock tells the audience of his plans and intentions to dining with Antonio: "But yet I'll go in hate, to feed upon the prodigal Christian" This statement is one that all of the audience will understand as it is very short and snappy and sounds very aggressive and points out to the audience the severity of the religious hate he bears for Antonio and also that he has nothing but negative feelings for Antonio. Hate is an important theme because one of the plays major themes is about the hate between Christians and Jews, which is emphasized through Antonio and Shylocks feud. In Act One, Scene Three we learn of the bond's forfeit. Shylock suggests to Antonio "let the forfeit be nominated for an equal pound of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken in what part of your body pleaseth me." Prior to saying this, the forfeit is described as a "merry sport", which may lead the audience to believe Shylock is being sincere and only means it as a joke, however I personally feel that Shylock has intent from the beginning as he knows that there is a good possibility of Antonio's argosies becoming ship-wrecked and this would lead to him not being able to pack back the money, meaning Shylock could take his pound of flesh, and this is further strengthened as we know Shylock bears strong feelings about Antonio and hates him very much. One of the most important scenes that gives us most insight into the feud between Shylock and Antonio is the trial scene because everyone is on stage and it is the penultimate scene of the play. Act four scene one is a stage for Shakespeare to present his ideas to the audience whilst creating maximum dramatic. As the scene begins, the Duke begins his speech with references to Shylock. The Duke uses phrases such as: "That thou but leadest this fashion of thy malice" This language may have an adverse effect upon the audience as it may change the way they feel sympathy for Shylock as it throws light upon Shylocks character's darker side by not showing mercy. Early in the trial scene the duke of the court asks shylock to show pity and shylock refuses and will not give a reason why he will not give mercy except that it is his whim and that he hates him as he says: "So I can give no reason, nor will I not, more than a lodged hate and a certain loathing I bear Antonio, that I follow thus a losing suit against him. Are you answered?" This indicates to the audience that Shylock believes Antonio has to have done no wrong in order for Shylock to be able to consciously take the flesh from him and he feels the hate he has for Antonio is enough to do this. Shylock"s opening speeches express his will to have his pound of flesh because he wants to and nothing will stop him, for example: "You"ll ask me why I rather have a weight in carrion flesh than to receive three thousand ducats. I"ll not answer that, but say it is my humour"" This confounds audience"s expectations because everyone is looking at Shylock and expecting him to be merciful but instead he states that he will have his pound of flesh. I think Shylock is so determined to have his pound of flesh because although three thousand ducats would be better to have, it would be a major victory for him to lawfully kill a Christian in front of the other Christians of Venice who hate him. Shylock, later in the act, talks about how he would rather have a rat in his house than receive ten thousand ducats. He says this to illustrate why he is taking a pound of flesh, rather than taking the money. The way Shylock likens Antonio to a rat demonstrates how much hate there is between Christians and Jews. The feud between Antonio and Shylock is a device used by Shakespeare to explore the idea of how people from different religions interact in society. In this scene especially, Shylock talks mostly of hate, in relation to the religion of Antonio and this relates to the theme of Christians and Jews as a symbol of hate. Throughout the trial scene Antonio and the other Christians refer to Shylock as "Jew" instead of using his name, as if he is not good enough to have a name. The language Antonio and the Christians uses shows Venice"s hatred towards Jews and it also adds another dimension to the feud as the language in the trial scene may make the audience feel more sympathy for Shylock as he live in a place where he is despised for his religion. In this scene and throughout the play Shylock is also seen to be talked at and not to, showing to the audience that Antonio and other Christians believe he is sub-human. Shakespeare uses this language to show how alienated Shylock is from the rest of the people in the courtroom and it also sets the scene that the trial is straight away biased because of the prejudice towards Jews.   

In this essay I will aim to explore how Shakespeare has expressed the feud between Shylock and Antonio in the Merchant of Venice. From the character list we can identify factors that will affect how the feud between Shylock and Antonio is portrayed as we learn that Antonio is of...

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