Cover: Love Calls Us to the Things of This World in PAPERBACK

LeBaron Russell Briggs Prize Honors Essays in English 1981

Love Calls Us to the Things of This World

The Return to Belmont in The Merchant of Venice

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PAPERBACK

$4.50 • £3.95 • €4.10

ISBN 9780674539228

Publication: June 1982

Short

If The Merchant of Venice is in one sense the tragedy of the Outsider, it is also the comedy of the Insiders. This work scrutinizes the values of the Insiders as they are embodied in the joyous return to Belmont in the last act of the play. An analysis of the structure of the Belmont scenes, and of Shakespeare’s use of his sources, contributes to the understanding of the real nature of the Christian world of Merchant and of the Christians who inhabit it. Conceived as a part of a larger study of the problem of gifts and giving in Shakespeare’s plays, this work examines the various forms of giving in Merchant, seeking to discover whether the ideal of Charity exists in the play. Observing the tension the gift creates between spiritual ideals and physical desires, this essay considers whether Charity is among the values left outside the boundaries of Belmont.