Today we read up to page 119 in The Merchant of Venice. After this, we discussed Shakespeare’s definition of comedy (marriage and confusion) and tragedy (usually involving death). The Merchant of Venice is sometimes referred to as a tragicomedy, which means it combines both genres. Maybe you’ve already read some things that may look outwardly funny when put into Shakespeare’s time, but maybe, when you look again, they aren’t so funny? We are going to see this more throughout the play.
We are tracking examples of these genres in a Venn diagram. Our Venn diagram is made up of 2 circles. Our circle on the left is “trag” or the tragic elements of the play. Our circle on the right is the comic elements. The space in the middle is for tragicomedy, which are the parts that combine both. We will fill in the middle a little later on.