Friday, February 23, 2007

Yet Again: Translating Billy, re: Acts 4 and 5


Please choose one of the following passages from Act 4, and transcribe it into everyday speech as we have done before:

Duke's speech (IV.1.ii 17-35) beginning, "Make room, and let him stand before our face."
Shylock's speech (IV.1.ii 36-63) beginning, "I have possessed your Grace of what I purpose."
Antonio's speech (IV.1.ii 71-84) begginning, "I pray you, think you question with the Jew."
Gratiano's speech (IV.1.ii 130-40) beginning, "O, be thou damned, inexecrable dog."
Bellario's letter (IV.1.ii 153-66) beginning, "Your Grace shall understand that..."
Portia's speech (IV.1.ii 190-212) beginning, "The quality of mercy is not strained."
Antonio's speech (IV.1.ii 276-93) beginning, "But little. I am armed and well prepared.--"
Portia's speech (IV.1.ii 361-78) beginning, "Tarry, Jew."

Please choose one of the following passages from Act 4, and transcribe it into everyday speech as we have done before:

Lorenzo's speech (V.1.ii 57-76) beginning, "Let's in, and their expect their coming."
Lorenzo's speech (V.1.ii 78-97) beginning, "The reason is, your spirits are attentive."
Portia's speech (V.1.ii 215-24) beginning, "If you had known the virtue of the ring."
Bassanio's speech (V.1.ii 225-38) beginning, "No, by my honor madam, by my soul."

Enjoy the weekend, be safe, see you Monday!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Michael Radford's Adaptation: The Merchant of Venice


In viewing the film adaptation of Shakespeare's play, we can better visualize the nature of character and conflict as it develops through the five acts. Also, it is important to consider how the play is interpreted through the eyes of the director. We must keep in mind the various prejudices--which is to say, preconceptions or biases--that the director has in making the movie. In other words, what issues become central to him or her in crafting an adaptation of a play written centuries earlier?

With that in mind, please answer the following questions in complete sentences:

1. What is the central issue upon which Radford focuses in adapting the play to film?

2. How is Venice portrayed; How is Belmont portrayed? What effect does this create in terms of atmosphere and dramatic function?

3. Remember what I said about the value of male friendship in Elizabethan England? In Shakespeare's time it was valued over and above the marriage bond between a man and a woman. How does Radford portray the relationship between Antonio and Bassanio in the film? Be specific in referring to instances in the movie to support your answer.

4. Shylock. How can he be considered a tragic hero? Does the film have us sympathizing with him in a spirit of both pity and fear? How does the film portray his character? Are we supposed to feel a certain way towards him? Does Portia display any sort of remorse for the way he was treated in court? If so, how does that come across in her mannerisms?

5. Portia. What's your opinion regarding her role, her character in the film? Think about the suppressed role of women during Shakespeare's time and the way her character contrasts with opression. What is her protest? How does she protest?

6. Last question: Was this an accurate re-presentation of the play? Explain.