By Elliot Krieger
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Extra resources for A Marxist Study of Shakespeare’s Comedies
Because the Venetians, however, treat all wealth as inorganic, barren, strictly material (and therefore, they argue, wealth should not accumulate interest, or breed, I. iii. 94- 6, I 345), the principles of mercy, if applied in Venice as a moral sanction, would necessitate actual material sacrifice. As a result, mercy, like hazarding all in Belmont, becomes a detached concept, separated from the financial operations that constitute the social life of Venice. As an ideal isolated from the economic forces of Venice, mercy superimposes a system of absolute wealth upon the limited and unstable economic resources of Venice.
I. 132-4) The lovers are so aware oflanguage that they have no awareness of one another. Hermia and Lysander spend most of the first scene 44 A Marxist Study of Shakespeare's Comedies talking at cross-purposes: Lysander inverts Hermia's stoical argument ("Then let us teach our trial patience", I 52) into an invitation to run away ("A good persuasion; therefore hear me, Hermia ... Steal forth thy father's house to-morrow night"' I 56; I64): Lysander takes Hermia's assurance "by all the vows that ever men have broke" (I75) as a "promise" (I79).
There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee" (160- 1). The perceptual opposition between the two men, using dowager as a verbal bridge, crosses into a political opposition: Lysander proposes a liberating world, discontinuous with the laws of Theseus's dukedom; in Lysander's world one's social and familial superiors would accumulate wealth in order to bestow it, and elders would sanction rather than oppose his subjective decisions. In short, Lysander envisions a second world in which he and Hermia will be accepted by a benevolent, nurturing society.
A Marxist Study of Shakespeare’s Comedies by Elliot Krieger