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Merchant of Venice - 1

  • Date Submitted: 10/01/2012 05:08 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 65.9 
  • Words: 654
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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 look small and weak; however, in the 1996 version the camera angle is made to make Shylock look powerful and evil. In the 2004 adaptation the camera points down at Shylock when he says the words, “I am content”, page 199. The lighting and music also make a big difference. In both adaptations the room is fairly dark, with only light creeping in from the small windows. The music changes to fit a sad moment. For example, when Antonio and Bassanio have their ‘final words’. The music also changes when the the court case is flipped on its head and Shylock is now the one facing a penalty.

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...


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