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Merchant Of Venice 1 Essay

676 words - 3 pages

Two recent adaptations of The Merchant of Venice are portrayed very differently, especially in Act 4 Scene 1. The two versions use camera angles, lighting and music in different ways. For example, in the latest version the camera is pointed down at Shylock to make him seem small. In the 2004 version we are supposed to have some sympathy for shylock but in the 1996 version it is quite the opposite. Even the crowd acts differently. In the latest movie the crowd are quite loud. As Shylock exits the courtroom he is spat on and his hat, swiped off his head. In the 1996 version,however, the crowd are quite respectful and quiet. The 2004 and 1996 adaptations of The Merchant are very different in the way they are presented.

In The Merchant, camera angles, lighting and music are a big part of the movie, especially in Act 4 Scene 1. The camera in the 2004 version is pointed down at Shylock, to make him ...view middle of the document...

Shylock is portrayed very differently by the two directors. Bob Peck’s Shylock in the 1996 Thames production is portrayed as distinctly more evil and cold-hearted than the Shylock played by Al Pacino in the 2004 film adaptation. This results in the audience feeling little sympathy for the Jew’s sad plight. By contrast, Pacino is often captured in moments of nostalgia and obvious paternal love for his lost Jessica, giving Shylock a human side that resonates with the audience. Peck’s deep voice is devil-like whereas Pacino’s softer, sweeter-pitched moments and, at other times, impassioned cries for his beloved Jessica position the audience to feel sympathy for the persecuted Jew. “Nay, take my life and all; pardon not that: you take my house, when you do take the prop that doth sustain my house; you take my life when you do take the means whereby I live.” That is an example of a line that the two shylocks say very differently. Pacino’s Shylock is much softer and is begging the Duke to not be so harsh. Bob Peck’s Shylock has a very cold,icy voice who seems very angry.

The crowd plays an enormous role in the scene, creating the atmosphere of the room. In the 2004 version the atmosphere is very tense and nerve-racking. The crowd is also very loud and are protesting at the claims of taking Antonio’s pound of flesh. Gratiano, Bassanio and the crowd are angry and are spraying Shylock, whereas in Bob Peck’s 1996 Thames production, the crowd is hushed. The atmosphere, again, is tense and nerve-racking but the volume is slightly more quiet... most of the time. The crowd really do set the scene.

The audiences reaction will vary and may not be as Shakespeare intended, whether it is a line said by Shylock or the way a character reacts. The camera angles, lighting and music are all very important and add a lot to a scene. They can change the perspective of a situation. These all play a major role in Act 4 Scene 1 and so does the crowd. The crowd set the atmosphere of the room and can change a situation dramatically. Scenes can be portrayed in many different ways and audiences are positioned to see them accordingly.

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