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The House of the Three Caskets

The House of the Three Caskets

Chapter:
(p.29) Chapter Four The House of the Three Caskets
Source:
Shylock Is Shakespeare
Author(s):
Kenneth Gross
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226309927.003.0004

This chapter discusses how the quality of Shylock's presence in The Merchant of Venice depends on Belmont's being a place that excludes him, a place where he is indeed scarcely mentioned, and then never by name. Shylock's money funds Bassanio's voyage to Belmont in quest for his bride, and it is from Belmont in turn that Portia journeys to Venice to save Antonio. Shakespeare's Belmont has something about it at once dangerous and vaguely tacky. It's as if it housed brilliant children who toy with a nuclear reactor, or who forget that their imaginary palace is built of rags, bits of wood and paint, and plaster, everything found by accident, by chance, put together like a stage set.

Keywords:   Shylock, The Merchant of Venice, Belmont, Shakespeare

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