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Syntax in The Merchant of Venice

Syntax Examples in The Merchant of Venice:

Act III - Scene I

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"in her coffin..."   (Act III - Scene I)

While some have read this speech as evidence that Shylock cares more about the loss of his money than the loss of his daughter, his broken syntax and focus on her being buried with the money suggests that he is more angry at Jessica than at the loss of the money. He seems to be pointing out that Jessica ran off with money caring more for it than her father. Thus, her proper punishment would be to be dead with her jewels.

"instruction..."   (Act III - Scene I)

Notice that this entire speech is a series of questions. Shylock does not want to simply tell the Christians who he is, he wants them to think through these questions and notice the flaws in their own logic. Shylock wants to use his revenge as a form of instruction.

"What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice?..."   (Act IV - Scene I)

This is an example of stichomythia, a dramatic technique in which characters rapidly exchange dialogue to build tension and emphasize anger or hatred.

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