What is a dramatic device used in Act IV, Scene 1 of The Merchant of Venice?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act IV, Scene 1 of The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare prominently uses the dramatic device of contrasts to starkly draw the picture of the horror and bassness of Shylock's intended action. Shylock starts a series of contrasts with his speech in which he says:

Some men there are love not a gaping pig;
Some, that are mad if they behold a cat;
And others, when the bagpipe sings i' the nose, . . .

Antonio takes up the device of contrasts in his speech to Bassanio begging him not to try to reason with Shylock. Antonio's contrasts start:

You may as well go stand upon the beach
And bid the main flood bate his usual height;
You may as well use question with the wolf
Why he hath made the ewe bleat for the lamb; . .

Antonio takes up the device of contrasts again in his rejoinder to the Duke in his speech that starts: "You have among you many a purchased slave, / Which, like your asses and your dogs and mules,  . . .."

Shakespeare uses another dramatic device, that of surprise when he introduces the surprise presence of Belthasar, who is Portia in disguise. Surprise is a dramatic device used to provide an unexpected twist in the plot. Contrast is a dramatic device used to arouse strong emotions by painting opposition that gives emphasis or clarity.

shoonya | Student

Dear Nataliya, whenever a play is composed, the playwright always uses one thing that is resemblance of reality or in Aristotalian word, ''life imitation''. Basically each scene has its own device to augment the story with making links in a ptrogressive way to shape it.

Regarding The Merchant of Venice, the asked act and scene holds ''court scene'' where no one knows the ressult of that bond claimed by shylock. The main device used by shakespeare is creating ''intense interest'' among spectators. The beauty of the play lies in this act and scene where public mental pressure comes on its acme and finally becomes normal in a happy mood; and from here the condition turns in comedy. U may also say this was dramatic relief for the audience.



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The Merchant of Venice

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