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Everyone seems to agree that the court or trial scene(Act 4,scene 1) is the most exciting or dramatically stimulating scene. One reason is that four hundred years ago both Antonio's and Shylock's life would be in danger and as the play is fiction, we don't know what the author has in mind. The first scene is key as the subject is Antonio's "sadness." As Professor Bevington(Bantom edition,1988) put it, "The question is haunting: What is the matter?" As we have seen, the first line, "In sooth, I know not why I am so sad," recalls Romeo's first scene in ROMEO AND JULIET and also in ROM the Prince's command at the end of that play: "Go hence to have more talk of these sad things"(ROM5.3). Jessica's elopement(2.6) is key as it seems to affect Shylock greatly and it is possible that Antonio and Bassanio may have aided Lorenzo and Jessica in their escapade.
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