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In Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice," what literary devices can be found in the...

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knighthex5411 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 25, 2013 at 9:32 AM via web

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In Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice," what literary devices can be found in the following quote?

"Clamber not you up to the casements then,
Nor thrust your head into the public street
To gaze on Christian fools with varnished faces" (II.v.32-34).


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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted August 29, 2013 at 3:45 PM (Answer #1)

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In the above-mentioned quote, Shylock is speaking to his daughter Jessica about a masque, or party that will be going on that night. He advises her not to go and be apart of the Christian festival. The quote is only part of the full advice that the father gives to his daughter. The devices used, however include inverted sentence structure, "clamber not," and "nor thrust your head" where the verb is placed at the beginning of the sentence with the subject following thereafter; a metaphor about what the "fools" look like when they are out partying in masks, that being "varnished faces"; and the description of childlike foolishness if Jessica were to run into the streets to check out the party. Behind the metaphors and poetic rhythm of what Shylock says here, though, is the tone of voice that possibly accompanies them. Such tone portrays Shylock's own prejudice and biases against Christians.

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