Merchant Of Venice Essay: Refuting The Critics

836 words - 3 pages

In The Jew of Venice, Granville takes up and refutes the principal "subversions,"

in The Merchant of Venice that modern and postmodern critics have imposed

upon on the play.  Without its’ alleged contradictions, the play has a tight formalist

structural unity, it focuses on an essentialist Platonic idea, and, resolving all

conflicts, it ends in closure. 

            On the topic of Antonio's sadness, Granville picks up a clue that to my

knowledge no modern critic has noticed.  In his "methodizing" process, he

moved Antonio's play-opening line--"I know not why I am so sad"--to Bassan-

io's feast, between the toasts and the masque, and merged it with Jessica's

fifth act misgiving--"I am never merry when I hear sweet music" (5.1.69).

Listening to the music at his friend's feast, Granville's Antonio laments,

 

                                   O Bassanio!

          There sits a heaviness upon my heart

          Which wine cannot remove:  I know not

          But music ever makes me thus. (2.2.35-38)

 

Lorenzo's comforting answer to Jessica in act 5 of Shakespeare's play then

becomes Bassanio's comforting answer to Antonio act 2 of Granville's:

          The reason is, your spirits are attentive:

          For do but note, a wild and wanton herd

          Or race of youthful [skittish] and unhandled colts

          Fetching mad bounds, bellowing and neighing loud,

          If they but hear by [per]chance a trumpet sound,

          Or any air of music touch their ears,

          You strait perceive 'em make a mutual stand,

          Their savage eyes turned to attentive gaze,

          By the soft power of music.  Therefore the poet

          Did feign that Orpheus melted stones and rocks;

          For what so hard, so stubborn, or so fierce,

          But music for the time doth change its nature.

          The man, who has not music in his soul,

...

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