Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Face of MammonThe Matter of Money in English Renaissance Literature$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

David Landreth

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199773299

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199773299.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 01 December 2021

Dismembering the Ducat in The Merchant of Venice

Dismembering the Ducat in The Merchant of Venice

(p.150) Chapter Three Dismembering the Ducat in The Merchant of Venice
The Face of Mammon

David Landreth

Oxford University Press

Everyone knows that The Merchant of Venice is all about money, but if the characters of the play know it too, they do their best to avoid saying so. This chapter examines the variety of ways in which the play's characters seek to articulate extramonetary values for the objects of their desires, and so disavow the centrality of the three thousand ducats through which their desires contend. The mechanism of disavowal is that of dividing and regrouping the play's central problematic into not only different problems, but different kinds of problem: the twofold dilemma (as between justice and mercy, or Jew and Christian), the unitary mystery of the self to the self, the triplicate riddle of the three caskets. In the play's cynical assessment of the relation of its individuals to its society, self-knowledge is willfully mystified in order to validate the institution that, by its own consensual disavowal, holds the Venetian commonwealth together: its money.

Keywords:   Shakespeare, William. Merchant of Venice, Disavowal, Riddle, mystery, dilemma

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .