We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Merchant of Venice- Good or Por-tia Essay Sample

The whole doc is available only for registered users OPEN DOC

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all the help you need with your essay and educational goals.

Get Access

Merchant of Venice- Good or Por-tia Essay Sample

There is no doubt that this adaptation of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice is a deal site better than those preceding it. Michael Radford has successfully made the play for a wider range of audiences than the rich, Elizabethan audience it was originally made for. Though much of the comedy has been lost through the centuries, this film will make you leave the cinema happily through the settings of scenes and enthusiasm of the actors.

The basic plot: Bassanio (Joseph Feinnes) hears news of Portia’s (Lynn Collins) test to find a suitor. He wishes to try his luck, though he has no money, so he asks his friend Antonio (Jeremy Irons) to give him a loan. Unfortunately, Antonio has no money either, as he has invested in some overseas trading, and with all his boats at sea, he is penniless. Instead, he offers his reliability to receive a loan from a Jewish usurer of his acquaintance.

The usurer, Shylock (Al Pacino) eventually gives the money to Bassanio with a pound of Antonio’s flesh if he does not pay on time. Bassanio then rides off into the distance to take the suitor’s test. He wins and they get married. Then, horror strikes for Antonio when he receives news that his ships have been wrecked out at sea and he therefore cannot repay the bond. It is up to Portia and her handmaid, Nerissa (Heather Goldenhersh), to try to persuade the outcome of the court battle that is to follow.

The film was set on and around the Rialto Bridge, often mentioned by Shakespeare in the play. The play is notorious for being quite dark and Radford has portrayed this brilliantly by contrasting the dark, dangerous streets of Venice with the light, harmonious setting of Portia’s castle in Belmont. These two places are further contrasted by the music, constantly played through the film, with a happy feel to it in the Belmont scenes and the dramatic melodies through the Venice scenes.

There are very few special effects in the film, though they are not needed. The lighting and setting more than adequately provide all the effects necessary for the film. Radford has also made good use of the themes evident in the play, using Love and Hatred as a very apparent recurring theme. This Hatred has been portrayed very sensitively and to good affect. The opening sequence of scenes shows the religious persecution of the Jews in Venice in the late 16th and 17th century and is a clear reminder of the treatment of the Jews during Hitler’s reign in Germany.

The whole film was very well made though a few points let it down. The poor lighting began to annoy me after a while because it started to get to a point where it was extremely hard to see the characters and what they were doing. There were also a few unnecessary characters. Lancelot and his father, Lancelot Gobbo were originally, in my view, cast to provide a short snap of comedy during quite a depressing time of the play, though Radford has left some of the dialogue between these two characters out, and so the comedy has been lost along with their use in the film.

There is also the fact that much of the film’s dialogue has not been changed over the centuries and so some of the language is not necessarily used in today’s world. This may detract some viewers and consequently not give this film the credit it deserves.

Overall, the actors portrayed their roles very well, with enthusiasm and showed in depth research of their individual characteristics and attitudes to emotions. Lynn Collins, in my view, was quite disappointing as Portia. I feel that there was not enough emotion shining through her eyes as Bassanio said in the early scenes of the play. Al Pacino, on the other hand, was inspirational as Shylock and deserves an Oscar for his portrayal of a character that has not been well played in previous adaptations. The other characters were blown away by Pacino’s amazing ability to take any character and make it his own.

Though the film is very much in the past, some people may find themselves in the same position as Portia. She is bound to her dead fathers will, though her future is destined by the outcome of this final testament. She tries to do what is best for her without disobeying her father’s will. Others may find themselves in the same position as Lorenzo and Jessica. Religious hatred is still evident to this day and the situation they find themselves in may still apply today. They are torn between religions, Lorenzo being Christian and Jessica not really wanting to go against her father’s Jewish religion.

Finally, This play is well worth seeing. Its breathtaking scenery and captivating storylines will make anyone pleased that they have seen it, while not fully realising that they have just viewed on of Shakespeare’s plays. This is because so many issues are still relevant in today’s times.

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

Peculiarities of various assignment types

The educational process is diverse and full of interesting writing tasks which help students develop their academic abilities. Different assignments types are created by professionals in order to enhance students’ level of analytical, critical and writing skills and to vary the learning process. As a student, you will encounter numerous tasks of diverse complexities throughout your student life. Sometimes, maybe, too complicated! They have different peculiarities, structural...

Making decisions in health and social care

Critically analyses the concepts, features, and importance of costs and accounting in making decisions in health and social care Cost accounting is a method used in accounting to capture a company’s or organisation’s production costs. It assesses the input costs of every step in production, fixed costs like depreciation of capital equipment. Cost accounting measures and records costs individually then compare the input results via...

Сhildren development

Physical development 7-12 years By the age of 7 a child enjoys things such as bike riding and rollerblading they are now able to tie and untie shoelaces without adult help, they are now starting to understand what rules are and are able to follow simple rules. At 8-12 years a child improves the physical skills that they have already developed and start to see...

Forex international trading market

Introduction Forex exchange is on the rise in Namibia; resulting in more people wanting to learn how to trade to try to increase their income so that they can enhance their standard of living. Forex Foreign exchange identifies the process of converting domestic currency into international banknotes at particular exchange rates (Bofah, 2017, para.1). As the number of foreigners in Namibia is increasing, more Namibians...

Aristotelian idea of God

This image produced in 1544 shows emerging's of the Judeo-Christians and Aristotelian's traditions. Aristotle was very interested in the idea of motion and said “The world is in a constant state of motion and change”. An example of how the world is changing is the growth of trees and plants. Aristotle believed in a prime mover, which is the being which creates change in the...

Get Access To The Full Essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access

Become a member

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Can't find What you were Looking for?

Get access to our huge, continuously updated knowledge base

The next update will be in:
14 : 59 : 59
Become a Member