Occasionally, actually quite often if you’re me, you say things in class which get far more of a reaction than you anticipated. One of those moments came recently, when I suggested that an engagement ring was a symbol of ownership, not so different from a brand on a cow, if you thought about it.
‘Silence invaded the room’, as Steinbeck might have said.
The students were either reappraising their world-views, or they were reappraising me. It’s never easy to tell which.
Sooner or later, it’s perhaps inevitable that readers of The Merchant of Venice confront one question:is this an anti-Semitic play?In fact, lots of people seem to have a view without having seen or read the play.
Advice given so often to people who say they ‘don’t get’ Shakespeare – advice I almost always disregard, much preferring the film running in my head as I read. But there’s one time when I find reading difficult, and that’s the multi-scene act. It distracted me last time I read The Merchant of Venice, and it has done this time, too. Just don’t speak to me about Antony and Cleopatra‘s 42 scenes …
And yet, for all that there are nine scenes in Act II, there are only really two plots.