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Thomas Hardy concentrated on human relationships in his short stories, as this was his main area of interest. Hardy also had a keen interest on the supernatural such as aliens. In 1874, Thomas Hardy got married to the love of his life, Emma Gifford, but after 38 years of marriage in 1912, Emma passed away sending Hardy into deep depression. This is when Hardy's short stories hit its prime. He went on a pilgrimage in 1914 to find out about life after Emma. Although, in the same year, he re-married to Florence Dugdale at the age of 74 and in 1928, he passed away. All his poems are firmly grounded in Dorset life and folklore, particularly the short stories The Withered Arm and Tony Kytes: Arch The first relationship that we find out about in the Withered Arm is Getrude and Farmer Lodge, we find out that they are married: "Her face too was fresh in colour, but it was of a totally different quality- soft and evanescent, like the light under a heap of rose petals." This is the comparison between Gertrude and Farmer Lodge. Hardy describes Gertrude as "the light under a heap of rose petals" suggesting she is way beyond beauty. The simile is effective, as this sets a picture in your head of what she would look like. This may also suggest that the marriage is purely superficial and Lodge has only married Gertrude purely as she is pretty: "The well-to-do Farmer Lodge came nearly last; and his young wife, who accompanied him, walked up the aisle"¦appeared thus for the first time." This says that Lodge his parading his new "possession" to the public, and doesn't care about Gertrude's feelings, just the fact that he is with a beautiful woman. Later in the story, Lodge rejects Gertrude because of her disfigurement. This shows that Lodge is a very shallow individual and is defying the laws of marriage, for example "in sickness and health". Other people interpretations of Gertrude would be very positive as all eyes are upon her when she is paraded at church, but Rhoda, one of the milkmaids and Lodge's ex-girlfriend isn't best pleased about Lodge's new wife and how she looks: "I wouldn't look up at her if she were to pass my window this instant." This shows a very bad approach towards Gertrude and she feels threatened by her at the same time. Later in the story, Rhoda has a dream and her whole interpretation of Gertrude is changed, in fact, they become good friends: "I hope you will find this air agree with you, ma'am and not suffer from the damp of the water mead's" This tells us she has a enough courtesy to call her "ma'am". Her whole interpretation changed as she had a dream about Gertrude getting her arm cut off, and the next morning, Gertrude's arm hurt, so i guess she felt kind of responsible for what happened to her. Their relationship is very different from their relationships with Farmer Lodge as they are both in the same boat and they bond very well. Also, Farmer lodge used them both for their looks, and not for who they are so again, they have another thing in common. Tony Kytes: The arch deceiver is very different to the withered arm, as the man in this isn't using the women for his image, he's just a womaniser. Tony is described as not a very good looking man, but still get the girls: "'Twas a little, round, firm, tight face, with a seam here and there left by the smallpox" Hardy describes his face like a little mongrel's face; being left with small pox i would say is an insult. The affiliation between Tony Kytes and the three women he is playing with is very obscure because it would never happen. This makes the story slightly humorous too. The naivety of all three women is astounding, to say the least, as they believe Tony every time a word comes out of his mouth, they obey and listen: "Now, Milly, would you do me a favour- my coming wife, may I say...I don't mind, to oblige you, Tony" This is where Tony asks Milly to go in the back of the wagon, and she pretty much gives herself to way to him. I think this is awfully stupid but at the same time humorous. Tony's lack of fidelity is rife in this story as he cannot make up his mind who he wants to go with, this is a lot like Farmer Lodge and his lack of commitment to his ex Rhoda and ultimately, his son. Tony, like Farmer Lodge is very shallow as he would dump his wife-to-be Milly for either Unity or Hannah, and this is because he can't make his mind up: "I'm afeard...Now which would you marry, father, if you was in my place?" This shows that Tony is not just womaniser, but he has a heart too and he is afraid of the consequences, and fears he may end up with nothing. Jealousy is rife in this story, as all three women would go with Tony, even after what happened: "And away walks Unity Sallet likewise, though she looked back when she'd gone some way, to see if he was following her." Even after Unity rejected Tony, she still feels a sense of defeat and looks back to see if he was following her, knowing full well he went with Hannah. When Hardy puts Unity's whole name in the quotation given above, you know it will be her first, or final act in the story, and I think this is a good technique used in all stories. When all three women are in the cart together, the jealousy is so rife, they start to fight and sob to gain Tony's affections: "Now at these strange voices sounding from under the cloth Hannah was thunderstruck a'most into a swound" They are all fighting over the right to gain his affections, they don't care about there own safety, also another humorous part.
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Thomas Hardy concentrated on human relationships in his short stories, as this was his main area of interest. Hardy also had a keen interest on the supernatural such as aliens. In 1874, Thomas Hardy got married to the love of his life, Emma Gifford, but after 38 years of marriage in 1912, Emma passed away sending Hardy into deep depression. This is when Hardy's short stories hit its prime. He went on a pilgrimage in 1914 to find out about life after Emma. Although, in the same year, he re-married to Florence Dugdale at the age of 74 and in...
When Hardy puts Unity's whole name in the quotation given above, you know it will be her first, or final act in the story, and I think this is a good technique used in all stories.

When all three women are in the cart together, the jealousy is so rife, they start to fight and sob to gain Tony's affections:

"Now at these strange voices sounding from under the cloth Hannah was thunderstruck a'most into a swound"

They are all fighting over the right to gain his affections, they don't care about there own safety, also another humorous part.

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"The Merchant of Venice" is concerned..."The Merchant of Venice" is concerned with two issues that were of importance in the Elizabethan Age: Jewry and Usury. It is generally assumed that the Elizabethan attitude to Jewry was hostile and that the execution of Roderigo Lopez in 1594 was characteristic of the Christian rejection of all 'Jews, Turks, Infidels and Heretics', who were considered to be "misbelievers". But this could also be a false assumption, for although the Jews were forced to convert to Christianity to live in England, once they did they were generally left alone. Marlowe in "The Jew of Malta" portrays a Machiavellian Jew, but one who is 'rarely mean' in his villainy. Usury was a contemporary and important issue during Shakespeare's time. Shylock is the negative and stereotype picture of the usurer that most of the Elizabethans had- one who was seen as a 'greedy dog', 'a leech'. The interpretation of Shylock's character is difficult and also to some extent ambiguous. He was earlier portrayed as a comic character but later on could be interpreted as a malevolent villain. But if Shylock is taken as a comic character the whole power of the play is lost. He would almost become a ridiculous villain. It could also be that Shakespeare created Shylock as a match for Marlowe's Jew- one that was terrible, imposing but also human. Shylock is one of the main characters of the play but this also depends on the way that his character is played. He has mostly been portrayed as a comic character but when he is the tragic protagonist he 'usurps the center of the stage.' Shylock "represents the killjoy against whom the pleasure-loving characters unite." He represents a "a-social miserliness" and thus his villainy is somewhat mitigated and brought within the scope of humanist debate. Shylock exists as a visible complication to the smooth running of Bassanio's friendship with Antonio and his courtship of Portia. One can almost say that is the character that makes the plot possible. As John Palmer has said, Shylock is "An imaginative realization of what it means to wear the Star of David." Shylock is a Jew in a Gentile Society, an alien who is never accepted. He is proud of his race, his religion but he is up against a Venetian society that is insufferable to the outsider. Even his daughter attacks all that he holds dear. She marries a Christian and takes away his money- his family pride, the only "props" in his life. He is humiliated and scorned at by the Christians. One feels sympathy for such a man, who is "more sinned against than sinning." During the trial scene it is even less easy to make a moral decision, a comfortable discrimination between the gentle Christian and rapacious Jew. The reader's and the audience's sympathies are directed towards Shylock who earlier had pleaded his humanity: "Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions?" Our compassion is due to Shylock's plight but also because of the unease that we experience at the behaviour of the Christians : "A Daniel"¦! Mark Jew!" Here the Christian cruelty is on par with that of the Jew. However in the 20th C we are more sensitive and conscious about political correctness. The issue of racism has further complicated Shylock's character. Shylock's role attracts greater sympathy. One feels that the Venetian Christians have denied Shylock's humanity and we are all the time reminded of the Anti-Semitism of the Nazi's and of the Genocide that took place during the holocaust. We are more concerned with alien rights than the Elizabethans were. These modern attitudes then in the words of Edwin Booth, tend "to lift Shylock out of the darkness of his native element of revengeful selfishness into the light of the venerable Hebrew, the Martyr, the Avenger." Shylock can be seen as a product of centuries of racial persecution. Thus Shylock 's character has oscillated between the malignant caricature and the dignified tragic hero. Is Shylock a representation of the Jewish hatred for Christians or is he motivated due to his personal hatred for Antonio? When Shylock says, "I hate him for he is a Christian: But more for"¦He lends out money gratis"¦" one realises that his hatred is based on money and he is not the religious martyr that he portrays himself to be. He takes a gamble when he lends the money and makes Antonio sign the "merry" bond. He has no way of knowing that all of Antonio's fortune will sink and that he will be able to take the forfeit. His hatred for Antonio and the rest is apparent throughout. Shylock is the representative of the money code, the greed and the hoarding that is contrasted to the Christian code of honour. But does he embody the evil side of the power of money? Or is he just a scapegoat who embodies the qualities embedded in the Venetians? As mentioned earlier, Shylock's character raises a lot of questions. He may have been victimized due to the Christian hypocrisy. It could be that he is a villain who is allowed to express the sort of treatment that has made him what he is and he justifies his route to villainy. We, with our modern considerations for alien rights, could be turning a plea for the right to revenge into a plea for equal treatment. His cause might win our sympathy but the ferociousness of the means loses it. However the humanity of Shylock as seen here is an unconscious byproduct of the Shakespeare's dramatic genius. It is an example of the interplay between technical craft and creative imagination. It is an example of a character so dynamic that it takes over from the writer and assumes dimensions of an independent entity. He evokes an interest that is beyond the scope of the play. Shylock for us is not just a Jew; he stands for all the people that are discriminated against, people who suffer injustice due to their colour, religion and even caste. And this is the universality of Shakespeare; he created a character not for his time but for all times. But Shakespeare also set a dramatic problem when he established 'the villain as hero' as Shylock does 'steal the show' and overshadows the formal hero. We have to be aware of the 'intellectual ' and 'emotional limits' that Shakespeare might have faced when dealing with these issues during his time. One's view of Shylock influences the interpretation of the other major characters and also determines that of the whole play. And it is true that, as E.W. Godwin said, "at Shylock's exit the play is virtually over." Shylock evokes multiple reactions in the reader and the audience. When we view the Christian smugness and hypocrisy we see a modern parallel to the treatment of the American Negro. But one is also repulsed by his treatment of his daughter and his mercenary attitude. If we wish to do full justice to the character of Shylock as well as to Shakespeare's dramatic genius in creating such a character we have to explore the Elizabethan aspects of the play and not view it only with our present concern for racial discrimination and economic conflict.   

"The Merchant of Venice" is concerned with two issues that were of importance in the Elizabethan Age: Jewry and Usury. It is generally assumed that the Elizabethan attitude to Jewry was hostile and that the execution of Roderigo Lopez in 1594 was characteristic of the Christian rejection of all 'Jews,...

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