Jessica (The Merchant of Venice) - Wikipedia
The differences between Judaism and Christianity in the play are shown through Jessica's relationships with Shylock and Lorenzo. The father daughter. Jessica and Lorenzo have a relationship that differs significantly from the other relationships in the story. The key difference lies in the ex-societal nature of their . by contrast the exemplary relationship of Portia and Bassanio: "The relation- ship of Jessica and Lorenzo to the primary lovers, Portia and Bassanio, consis- .. marriage and conversion of one young woman whose most admirable goals.
Act 5, Scene 1—the final scene of the play, and following on from the courtroom scene in Act 4—opens with Jessica and Lorenzo strolling in the gardens of Belmont. They exchange romantic metaphors, invoking in turn characters from classical literature: No sooner has Stephano informed them that Portia and Nerissa will soon arrive than Gobbo comes with the same news for Bassanio and Gratiano.
They decide to await the arrivals in the gardens, and ask Stephano to fetch his instrument and play for them. The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils; — Lorenzo, The Merchant of Venice  Portia and Nerissa enter, followed shortly by Bassanio, Antonio, and Gratiano.
Lorenzo and Jessica’s Relationship  – Just Jo
After they are all reunited, Nerissa hands Lorenzo a deed of gift from Shylock, won in the trial, giving Jessica all of his wealth upon his death. Fled with a Christian! O, my Christian ducats! In this version it is Munday's Jessica analogue, Brisana, who pleads the case first in the courtroom scene, followed by Cornelia, the Portia analogue.
Lorenzo and Jessica’s Relationship [2.4-2.6]
The Christian in love with a Jewess appears frequently in exemplum from the 13th to the 15th century. However, in this story the Christian lover flees alone with the treasure. His daughter, Floripas, proceeds to murder her governess for refusing to help feed the prisoners; bashes the jailer's head in with his keychain when he refuses to let her see the prisoners; manipulates her father into giving her responsibility for them; brings them to her tower, and treats them as royalty; does the same for the remaining ten of the Twelve Peers when they are captured too; helps the Peers murder Sir Lucafere, King of Baldas when he surprises them; urges the Peers to attack her father and his knights at supper to cover up the murder; when her father escapes and attacks the Peers in her tower, she assists in the defence; then she converts to Christianity and is betrothed to Guy of Burgundy; and finally, she and her brother, Fierabras decide that there is no point trying to convert their father to Christianity so he should be executed instead.
The reason for the cruelty of the Sultan's two children is quite obvious. In the romances there are two sides: Once Floripas and Ferumbras had joined the 'good' side, they had to become implacable enemies of the Sultan. There was no question of filial duty or filial love; one was either a Saracen or a Christian, and that was all there was to it.
There is not any other moral standard for the characters. Religion, race, and gender[ edit ] Critical history[ edit ] Literary critics have historically viewed the character negatively, highlighting her theft of her father's gold, her betrayal of his trust, and her apparently selfish motivations and aimless behaviour.
In her survey, "In Defense of Jessica: In the interim between the signing of the bond and its falling due this daughter, this Jessica, has wickedly and most unfilially betrayed him. Quite without heart, on worse than an animal instinct—pilfering to be carnal—she betrays her father to be a light-of-lucre carefully weighted with her sire's ducats.
In such a reading Jessica's actions amount to abandoning her father and betraying him to his enemies. She was still viewed as inhabiting primarily negative values, in contrast with the positive values associated with Portia, Bassanio, and Antonio.
The relationship of Jessica and Lorenzo to the primary lovers, Portia and Bassanio, consistently is contrastive and negative: Slights highlights comedies where children rebel against a miserly father, or romances where daughters defy a repressive father for love. These conventions would be familiar for both Shakespeare and an Elizabethan theatre audience, and, indeed, modern audiences tend to accept Jessica's actions as natural within the context of the plot.
Her escape from Shylock's repressive household to Belmont a quest for freedom, and from misfortune to happiness. Similarly, in Salernitano's 14th novella, the daughter makes off with her father's money, to the same effect.
It ranks him with the miserly fathers in Elizabethan and classical comedies, who are only fit to be dupes of their children …. The first critical notice of Jessica in the 18th century was made by William Warburtonwho commented on the line in Act 5, Scene 1: This changed the meaning, as an acerbic Malone points out: I should not have attempted to explain so easy a passage, if the ignorant editor of the second folio, thinking probably that the word get must necessarily mean beget, had not altered the text, and substituted did in the place of do, the reading of all the old and authentick editions; in which he has been copied by every subsequent editor.
Launcelot is not talking about Jessica's father, but about her future husband.
I am aware that, in a subsequent scene, he says to Jessica, 'Marry, you may partly hope your father got you not;' but he is now on another subject. Malone's position turned out to be somewhat controversial. In his revised edition in[d] multiple notes appeared in response.
The first, by George Steevensoffers an alternate reading of the passage: Malone, however, supposes him to mean only—carry thee away from thy father's house. Malone charges the editor of the second folio so strongly with ignorance, I have no doubt but that did is the true reading, as it is clearly better sense than that which he has adopted.
Launcelot does not mean to foretell the fate of Jessica, but judges, from her lovely disposition, that she must have been begotten by a christian, not by such a brute as Shylock: At further issue was Malone's tarring of all the previous editors with the same brush, for which Steevens was particularly sore.
Malone's response was simply that "In answer to Mr. Steevens, I have to state that I printed this play inand that Mr. When Jessica runs away from home to marry, a conversation is sparked between Lorenzo and his friend Gratiano. They have a conversation about why it is that Lorenzo loves Jessica.
On the opposite end of the argument, the play has Shylock and his response to Jessica running away, getting married, and selling her mothers wedding ring. Thou torturest me, Tubal: I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys. Shylock is upset that his daughter would waste away her precious materials for something as foolish as a monkey. After Jessica marries Lorenzo, her life is literally transformed from a Jew to a Christian overnight.
Through her final actions of the play, the audience can see how different her two worlds are.
Her life with Lorenzo is one full of carefree fun and no material possessions. While her life with her father was one full of rules and restrictions.
Once Jessica enters into this relationship with Lorenzo, the notion of what it means to be a Christian and what it means to be a Jew is questioned. The Jewish people in this play are portrayed through Jessica and Shylock as being an old worldview of life. While on the other hand, Lorenzo represents the New Testament, Christian view of the world where people are much more about living carefree and denouncing material possessions.
When Jessica marries Lorenzo and becomes a Christian through marriage she also brings up another question about religion and what makes a person a Jew. Jessica is a Jew by birth but converts to Christianity through marriage. This brings about the question of is it birth or decision that makes a person a certain religion.
Lancelot first brings this about when he claims that Jessica is damned because she was born Jewish in that he is referring to the fact that there is nothing she can do to undo being Jewish.