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Redistributing Complicities in an Age of Digital Production: Michael Radford's Film Version of <i>The Merchant of Venice</i>

Nina Levine and David Lee Miller

in A Touch More Rare

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780823230303
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241071 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823230303.003.0006
Redistributing Complicities in an Age of Digital Production: Michael Radford's Film Version of The Merchant of Venice

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In Harold Bloom's chapter in The Merchant of Venice in Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, he claims that “the ontological weight of Shylock, from his first appearance through his last, places him as a representation of reality far distaining every other character in the play.” Although Shylock's affect also shifts from scene to scene, it does so in a narrower compass and more expressly motivated manner. Multivalency is imposed on Shylock in Radford's interpolated scenes, each of which supplies Shylock's single-mindedness with a context that both seeks to explain and forgive it. The film's mining of different genre conventions is even more apparent on the level of tone than it is on that of fashion or cosmetics, most notably in scenes that neither Jeremy Irons's Antonio nor Al Pacino's Shylock weigh down with their old-world gravitas.

Keywords: Harold Bloom; The Merchant of Venice; Shylock; Michael Radford; Jeremy Irons; Antonio; Al Pacino; multivalency

Chapter.  3947 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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