Imagine the tempest… not Shakespeare’s play itself, but the actual storm described. Do you imagine a dark, chaotic scene filled with powerful, crashing waves? Do you see sailors scurrying around, trying to keep the ship from sinking?
In the article, “The Problem of More-than-one: Friendship, Calculation, and Political Association in the Merchant of Venice” by Henry S. Turner, Turner discusses the political perspective of the play in terms of friendship, calculation and decision, and justice. He discusses the question of the relationship between friendship and democracy, and how “The Merchant of Venice” may show slight traces of modern democracy throughout the play. One point that I found particularly interesting is the idea of the quantum of friendship and how that relates to value in terms of numbers and the blurred lines from which that value comes about. This lack of clarity can be seen in the play in the recurring issues of self-interest versus love and friendship. Continue reading
Although their modern definitions are more distinct from each other, “fantasy” and “fancy” could more or less be used synonymously in Shakespeare’s era. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, both could mean “the process, and the faculty, of forming mental representations of things not present to the senses” (See definition 4a: OED – Fantasy). Yet at the same time, both words have a variety of underlying meanings that invoke a deeper understanding of Shakespeare’s social commentary. Continue reading