Welcome Period 1!

August 25th, 2011

The Merchant of Venice Blog Discussion

1.  Provide a passage from Acts 1 to 3 (scenes 1 or 2) that intrigued you and is one that you feel is discussion worthy.

2.  Provide your opinion about the passage in addition to an analysis.  Avoid summary–go one step further and truly analyze the characters and scene.  Be sure to include the act, scene, and line number (ex: 2.2.15) as well as the name of the speaker.

3.  Come up with a discussion question to ask about the play so far.  It could either relate to your passage included for number 1, or it could be completely separate.

4.  Respond to your group members’ posts.

5.  Be sure to click on “Allow Comments” before you post.

6.  To create a post, type in wp-admin at the end of the URL.  Click on “My Blogs” and go to “Wolfe Honors English 9.”  Click on “Add New” under the Post heading.


November 16th, 2011

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Maggie: Shylock’s Speech

November 15th, 2011

Act III  scene I

page 111  line 43

“He’s laughed at my losses , made fun of my earnings, humiliated my race,thwarted my deals, turned my friends against me, riled up my enemies- and why? Because I’m a Jew. Doesn’t a Jew have eyes? Doesn’t a Jew have hands, bodily organs, a human shape, five senses, feelings and passions? Doesn’t a Jew eat the same food, get hurt with the same weapons, get sick with the same diseases, get healed with the same medicine, and warm up in the summer and cool off in the winter just like a Christian? If you prick us with a pin, don’t we bleed? If you tickle us don’t we laugh? If you poison us, don’t we die? And if you treat us badly, won’t we try to get revenge? if we’re like you in everything else, we’ll resemble you in that respect. If a Jew offends a Christian, what’s the Christian’s kind and gentle reaction? Revenge. If a Christian offends a Jew, what punishment will he come up with if he follows the Christian example? Of course, the same thing – revenge! I’ll treat you as badly as you Christians taught me to- and you’ll be lucky if I don’t outdo my teachers.”

When Shyl0ck delivers his speech to Salarino, he makes a very good point. That point would be that Jews are essentially exactly like Christians except they have have different beliefs.Even though there is a minor difference between the two religions, both groups seek revenge upon the other. In my opinion, Shylock has a very strong argument that I agree with. I agree with it because pretty much all people are the same in the sense that we all experience the same emotions, and we all physically feel the same thing. Just because people have different beliefs and ways of thinking doesn’t give us an excuse to physically or mentally harm one another.

Discussion Question: The message Shakespeare was trying to convey to his audience was quite clear, after the audience heard this do you think their opinions on Jews changed? Or did they stay the same?

Antonio going to Shylock for help

November 15th, 2011

Act 1 Scene Three Lines 126-133

“I am as like to call thee so again

To spet on thee again, to spurn thee too.

If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not

As to thy friends, for when did friendship take

A breed for barren metal of his friend?

But lend it rather to thine enemy,

Who, if he break, thou mayest with better face

Exact the penalty.”

I find this entire scene very interesting but this quote from Antonio really confuses me. I do not understand why Antonio went to Shylock for money out of all the people he could have gone to. He hates Shylock and Shylock obviously hates him so why on Earth would he go to borrow money from the person who hates him most?

Bassanio’s speech on beauty

November 14th, 2011

Page 124. Lines 73-101. Bassanio is speaking.

“So may the outward shows be the least themselves. The world is still deceived with ornament. In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt but, being seasoned with a gracious voice, obscures the show of evil? In religion, what damned error, but some sober brow will bless it and approve it with a text, hiding the grossness with fair ornament? There is no vice so simple but assumes some mark of virtue on his outward parts. How many cowards whose hearts are all false as stairs of sand wear yet upon their chins the beards of Hercules and frowning Mars, who, inward searched, have livers as white as milk, and these assume but valor’s excrement to render them redoubted. Look on beauty, and you shall see ’tis purchased by the weight, which therein works a miracle in nature, making them lightest that wear most of it. So are those crisped snaky golden locks which maketh such wanton gambols with the wind, upon supposed fairness, often known to be the dowry of a second head, the skull that bred them in the sepulcher. Thus ornament is but the gulied shore to a most dangerous sea, the beauteous scarf veiling an Indian beauty- in a word, the seeming truth which cunning times put on to entrap the wisest.”

This passage improved my opinion of Bassanio. This shows he does not judge people on their looks and he loves Portia for more than her beauty. The message of this whole passage is the outside appearance does not matter. Bassanio says any women can be beautiful with makeup and wigs, but then they are not respected. This whole passage is to show Portia that Bassanio cares about her for more than her looks. Do you believe Bassanio really loves Portia?

Jenna Bush Post #1

November 14th, 2011

Shylock: “To bait fish withal. If it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me and my hindred me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies–and what’s his reason? I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me I willl execute – and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.” (act 3 scene 1 lines 43-61)

In this passage, Skylock is discussing his revenge on Antonio. Even though Shylock was hurt by this Christian, I believe his is plan for payback is too harsh. Even if you are hurt or discriminated against, death should never be a consequence for the ally. As Shylock continues, I believe Shakespeare begins to feel sorry for Shylock and other Jews. Shylock says how much he is made fun of just because of him religion. Do you believe Shakespeare feels sorry for Shylock, or does he consider a villain because of his plan for revenge against Antonio? What message was Shakespeare trying to convey when he wrote about the treatment of Jews VS. Christians?

Is It Real Love? (Kaelin Caloiaro)

November 14th, 2011

Act 1, Scene 1, Page 15, Lines 161-176

Bassanio: “There is a girl in Belmont, who’s inherited a huge amount of money, and she’s beautiful – even better – she’s a good person…Her name is Portia. She’s as rich as that famous Roman heroine Portia… Her wealth is world famous…I know I can win her!”
Bassanio wants to go to her to get married. I think the real reason that he wants to marry her is for her money. Bassanio is in so much debt to many people, he doesn’t know what to do. Marrying Portia is a good way to get money quick and pay back all the debt. In the passage above he only once mentions her being beautiful and nice, but many times he says that she is rich and has a lot of money. Also, once they are married, he get the letter and right away he gets money to save Antonio. The fact that Bassanio mentions that she’s a good person leads me to believe that he knows Portia will give him the money.

What do you think is the real reason Bassanio wants to get married?

Shylock and Tubal

November 13th, 2011


Yes, other men have ill luck too. Antonio, as I heard in Genoa-


What, what, what? Ill luck, ill luck?


Hath an argosy cast away coming from Tripolis.


I thank God, I thank God! Is ‘t true, is ‘t true?


I spoke with some of the sailors that escaped from the wrack.


I thank thee Tubal. Good news, good news! Ha, ha, heard in Genoa.


Your daughter spent in Geno, as I heard, in one night fourscore ducats.


Thou stickest a dagger in me. I shall never see my gold again. Fourscore ducats

in a sitting! Fourscore ducats!


There came divers of Antonio’s creditors in my company to Venice that swear

he can not help but break.


I am very glad of it. I’ll plague him. I’ll torture him. I am glad of it.


one of them showed me a ring that he had of your daughter for a monkey.


Out upon her! Thou torturest me, Tubal. It was my turquoise. I had it of leah

when I was a bachelor. I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys.


But Antonio is certainly undone.


Nay, that’s true, that’s very true. Go, Tubal, fee me an officer. Bespeak him a

fortnight before.-I will have the heart of him if he forfeit, for were he out of

Venice I can make what merchandise I will.-Go, go, Tubal, and meet me at our

synagogue.  Go, good Tubal. At our synagogue, Tubal.

This is mainly about how Shylock finds that Antonio loses his ship but he loses his daughter. I think it is ironic how Shylock is so proud to admit the loss of Antonio, but yet broken about the loss of his own daughter and stolen ducats. So now both men are equally at loss and are now trying to recover, but Antonio may not be able to. As for Shylock, he has to try to get his daughter and ducats back. So now, what do you think Shylock will do as a result?

Alli Mentch

November 13th, 2011

In Act 3 scene 1 line 73 Shylock says,” I never felt it until now-Two thousand ducats in that, and other precious, precious jewels. I would my daughter were dead at my foot and the jewels in her ear! Would she were hearsed at my foot and the ducats in her coffin! No news of them? Why, so. And I know not what’s spent in the search. Why thou, loss upon loss! The thief gone with so much, and so much to find the thief-and no satisfaction, no revenge.” Shylock wishes his daughter is dead because she stole his jewels and duccats. This shows that Shylock is greedy and concerned about material things. He would rather have his daughter dead and have all of his money back then see Jessica again and loose all of his money. The Christians hate Shylock because he charges interest and he is a Jew but why does his daughter hate him? This passage shows that Jessica and Shylock have a conflict between them because she decided to run away with a Christian and steal her father’s money.

Discussion Question: What does Bassanio’s choice when he picks the lead box show about his personality?

Matthew Douglas

November 13th, 2011

Act 1 Scene 2 lines 3-8

Nerissa conversing with Portia


“You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were in the same abundance as your good fortunes are.  And yet for aught I see, they are as sick that surfeit would too much as they starved with nothing.  It is no mean happiness, therefor, to be seated in the mean.  Superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, but competency lives longer.”

Nerissa seems naive about people who have no money and how they struggle just to get by.  Nerissa is a maid and may be happier than Portia and may be speaking about her own life experience and observations when stating that people who have an abundance of money grow older more quickly.  Nerissa must believe that wealth brings on more problems causing them stress (shortening lifespan) and people with a middle income have fewer problems.

Is Nerissa’s belief about wealth true for the time period?  Is this belief true in today’s world?

Sloane Hauck post #1

November 13th, 2011

SHYLOCK: “To bait fish withal. If it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated my enemies-and what is his reason? I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian?…” (Act 3, Scence 1, line 43-61)

When Shakespeare wrote this passage, I believe that he is definitely “siding” with the Jews during this time period. This play was written when Jews were exiled and discriminated against in Italy, and in my opinion, this passage shows just how strongly against it Shakespeare was. At the point when you’re reading this passage, we are supposed to feel bad for Shylock. Although at some points Shakespeare makes the readers feel like  Shylock is the villain, this passage  changed my feelings completely. Shylock explains many reasons as to why Jews are the same as any other religon or person, since he is only descriminated against because he is a Jew. Jews do the same things, eat the same things, get hurt by the same things, use the same things, get sick by the same things, and many more, just as any other person. 

Do you think when Shakespeare wrote this he wanted readers to analize a deeper meaning rather than just an early literary work?