"Good Night, Good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow."
with Shylock stowed safely offstage, Shakespeare returns to the comedic aspects of his play by William Shakespeare,
with Shylock stowed safely offstage, Shakespeare returns to the comedic aspects of his play. He lightens the mood with a harmless exchange of rings that serves to reunite the lovers, and he brings Antonio’s lost ships back to port. Because Shylock has been such a large, powerful presence in the play, and because his decimation at the hands of the Venetians is profoundly disturbing, the comedy in
never fully escapes the shadow of the troublesome issues that precede it. The lovers’ happiness, then, is most likely little more than a brief passing moment. This passage can be read as a meditation on the transitory nature of the comforts one finds in a wearisome world. Lorenzo, ordering music to celebrate Portia’s homecoming, reflects that music has the power to change a man’s nature. Much like a wild beast that can be tamed by the sound of a trumpet, a man can be transformed into something less “stockish, hard, and full of rage” (V.i.80). As the Venetians, all of whom have exercised “treasons, strategems, and spoils” of one kind or another throughout the play, congregate at Belmont, we imagine them as kinder and happier than they have otherwise been, but we also know that the music of Belmont will not likely survive on the streets of Venice Belmont