Early Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice & Richard III

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Choose either the passage from Richard III or the passage from The Merchant of Venice.  Each is an important speech that has been noted to some degree in class.  Write an essay in which you propose and support a clearly formulated argument about the dramatic function of the passage.  In drama speech is action.  How can the speech you have chosen be understood as an action?  To whom is the action directed?  What is the speaker doing in this speech?  How does the action that the speech performs function in the development of the play as a whole?


Passage 1:  Richard III.  The speech that begins “Was ever woman in this humor wooed?” and concludes with “Shine out, fair sun, till I have bought a glass, / That I may see my shadow as I pass” (I.ii.227-263).


Passage 2:  The Merchant of Venice.  The speech that begins “Signior Antono, many a time and oft . . .” and concludes  “. . . and for these courtesies / I’ll lend you thus much moneys” (I.iii.103-126).


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