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In What Ways Does the Dialogue Develop Your Responses to Portia and Shylock in the Play as a Whole?

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In what ways does the dialogue develop your responses to Portia and Shylock in the play as a whole?

In The Merchant of Venice Shakespeare uses many different uses of language and responses to build up the audiences feelings towards different characters in the play. Two of the characters whose language is very important to your perception of them are Portia and Shylock; they use very different types of language to make the same point.
In Portia’s speech she puts a lot of emphasis on the fact that “the quality of mercy is not strained” meaning that mercy should be given freely and is “an attribute of that God himself” this shows that Christians believe that when mercy is given freely without having to be asked for means you become a better man and she suggests to shylock that if you give mercy to Antonio you become merciful and therefore become closer to a Christian. She also implies that Christians are always merciful therefore they are more godly beings than any Jewish person. The language Portia use to put across this point is very poetic which personifies the belief in Christians that they are higher and better than the Jews in every way.
A way Shakespeare makes Shylocks seem atavistic is by using iambic pentameter to make his language quick, snappy and straight to the point. After Portia finishes her speech shylock snaps back saying “I crave the law” showing he is not interested in using poetic language and being merciful he just wants “the forfeit of my bond” this shows he just wants Antonio’s death because he has lost everything that he once had and has nothing else to lose. This use of iambic pentameter means that Shakespeare can carry the argument without having loads of breaks before each speaker starts speaking which makes the play more interesting to listen to for the audience.
When Bassanio starts pealing for Antonio’s life he uses prosaic language...

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