Merchant of Venice

It’s a pretty open assignment as long as it follows the details I’ve provided (also one inch margins). I’ve indicated that it requires 3 sources (one of them is the play itself) but there is NO HARD NUMBER on the sources required or what version of Othello and Merchant of Venice they prefer us to use as long as we cite what version we used. If the assignment is strong enough with only 2  then that is also satisfactory. I yield to your judgement on that. But no less than 2 (one of them is the play itself) I’ll include the full instructions of the essay but don’t be intimidated by the length, it’s not a difficult paper for anyone well familiarized with the plays.  PART 1: Optional Prompts   Both The Merchant of Venice and Othello are plays that use economic language as a metaphor for interpersonal problems and relationships. From Shylock’s grief-stricken cry, “My daughter, O my ducats, O my daughter!” (2.8.15) to Iago’s sexually-charge command, “Put money in thy purse” (1.3.382) ideas of value, authority, gender, identity, and power are expressed in the language of economics. In this prompt, choose an economic motif, phrase, or word to follow throughout the text, carefully close reading the moments in which it appears. From this analysis, make an argument about how your reading changes an assumption we have about the themes or effect of the play(s).   Shylock’s speech that asks “Hath not a Jew eyes?” (3.1.71-72) is one of the most powerful moments in The Merchant of Venice. It reappears in the final scenes of Othello, when Emilia insists “I do think it is their husbands’ faults / If wives do fall” (4.3.97-115). In this prompt, consider how one or both of these passages affects the way we read the play, carefully close reading the passage and other moments that give it context. From this analysis, make an argument about the purpose of the passages that challenges an assumption we may have about the themes or effect of the play(s).      Detective work! From apomnemonsysis to synechdoche, the art of rhetoric is enormously important to early modern literature. For this prompt, choose a passage from The Merchant of Venice or Othello that you think is especially important or poetic. Close read the passage, taking note of all the literary devices you can find within it. With those on hand, peruse Henry Peacham’s Garden of Eloquence (1593, link below) to discover their early modern names and usages. Having learned some awesome new terms, craft an argument about how one or two of these devices work in the play, and how they support, complicate, or undermine a major theme or character.           NB: Peacham’s Garden of Eloquence is a classic rhetorical handbook defining the terms of the ars rhetorica in Shakespeare’s day. It’s available online here:  http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/collection?collection=Perseus%3Acollection%3APeachum_Garden (Links to an external site.). It might seem daunting but the work of trying to find what you’ve noticed in Shakespeare’s text, what it was called in Peacham, and where it might be found there, is part of the fun! (There’s also a search bar.)    “Fair” is a word that appears 43 times in The Merchant of Venice, but never in the trial scene. With its treble meanings of beauty, lightness, and justice, we might consider how the play uses this word to illuminate the hypocrisies of the ruling class. In this prompt, choose a keyword or passage of wordplay to explore throughout either The Merchant of Venice or Othello. Use the Oxford English Dictionary to examine how the word was used in Shakespeare’s period. Carefully close read some key moments in which this word or perhaps one of its synonyms appears. From this analysis, make an argument about how your reading of this keyword or wordplay changes an assumption we have about the themes or effect of the play(s).

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