Shakespeare. Paper 1

Shakespeare. Paper 1 - Shakespeare Plays 18 February 2008...

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Shakespeare Plays 18 February 2008 Hermia vs. Jessica William Shakespeare’s comedies can be defined as “a drama that provokes laughter at human behavior, usually involves romantic love, and usually has a happy ending.” (Boyce 119). A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Merchant of Venice fully demonstrate the definition of comedies as the audience cheers on an array of characters as they overcome the obstacles that impede them from a life of love and happiness. Two of these characters have much the same goal in mind: defy her father and create her own life. When judging successfulness based on motive, method, and conviction, it is Hermia, not Jessica, who has the ultimate success. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hermia is the daughter of an extremely stubborn Athenian man, Egeus, who cares so much about his patrimony he is willing to have his daughter sentenced to death rather than have her love, Lysander, inherit his wealth. It is her charm and beauty that seduced not only Lysander but her father’s choice, Demetrius, as well. The audience learns much of Hermia’s appeal from her envious childhood friend, Helena. “Call you me fair? That fair again unsay. Demetrius loves your fair, O happy fair! Your eyes are lodestars and your tongue’s sweet air more tuneable than lark to shepherd’s ear when wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear. Sickness is catching, O, were favor so, I catch, fair Hermia, ere I go; my ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye, my tongue should catch your tongue’s sweet melody. Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated, the rest I’ll give to be translated. O, teach me how you look and with what art you sway the motion of Demetrius’ heart” (I i 181- 193). Helena’s love for Demetrius blinds her to the fact that she is just as beautiful and charming
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as Hermia and the majority of Demetrius’ affection toward Hermia can be attributed to Egeus’ approval of him. Unusually strong-willed and independent, Hermia refuses to marry Demetrius even after her father and the Duke, Theseus, forces her to choose between Demetrius, death, or live in a convent. In The Merchant of Venice, Jessica is the daughter of Jewish, money-lender, Shylock and hates living under his rule. Jessica is in love with Lorenzo, a Christian friend of the main characters and it is undeniable that this relationship could not possibly flourish with bitter Shylock in control of both his daughter and his wealth. Jessica perhaps elicits more sympathy from the audience due to Shakespeare’s anti-Semitic undertones and his veiling of anti-Semitism with Shylock’s dislikable character. Sympathy for Jessica comes from the idea that by defying her father she is abandoning Judaism and joining the “good” side. Lorenzo speaking of Jessica, “I must needs tell thee all. She hath directed how I shall take her from her father’s house, what gold and jewels she is furnish’d with, what page’s suit she hath in readiness. If e’er the Jew her
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Shakespeare. Paper 1 - Shakespeare Plays 18 February 2008...

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