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『ヴェニスの商人』 : 贈与のトポス

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Title: 『ヴェニスの商人』 : 贈与のトポス
Other Titles: The Merchant of Venice : The Topos of Gift-Giving
Authors: 小川, 泰寛1 Browse this author
Authors(alt): Ogawa, Yasuhiro1
Issue Date: 14-Dec-2007
Publisher: 北海道大学大学院メディア・コミュニケーション研究院
Journal Title: メディア・コミュニケーション研究
Journal Title(alt): Media and Communication Studies
Volume: 53
Start Page: 27
End Page: 67
Abstract: It is not necessarily noticed that although Shylock is legally entitled to the return of the principal of 3,000 ducats, eventually he is deprived of its right by Portia in the pound-of-flesh court who insists that he refused to accept it, which careful perusal of the text does not validate. Antonio is thus exempted from the debt; this virtually means that Shylock’s principal has been transferred to him. Apparently, this proceeding ushers in the subsequent disposal of Shylock’s property, one half of which is granted to Antonio with the other half being confiscated to the state of Venice. Curiously enough, Antonio instantly declares that he will give untouched the entire lot to Lorenzo, whom he expressly describes as having recently stolen Shylock’s daughter, Jessica. He provides for the donation taking effect only when Shylock dies, which specific stipulation turns the gift-giving into something like bequeathal that Antonio performs vicariously. On account of Antonio’s mediation, the other portion of Shylock’s wealth is reallocated to Shylock himself. However, Antonio deliberately makes him leave the said share as a fortune to Jessica and Lorenzo who eloped robbing him of ducats and jewels. Taking these circumstances into consideration, it is no exaggeration to say that Shylock’s enforced testation proves to be something like seizure of his property committed by the Venetian court. The metaphorical spoliation is seemingly associated with the literal thievery by the couple. Incidentally, in both cases bounty drops down from above. Shylock’s legacy is referred to by Lorenzo as Biblical manna. Jessica throws down a casket of treasure at him. Among the stolen valuables was Shylock’s ring, his deceased wife’s cherished remembrance. Jessica goes so far as to exchange it for a monkey. In this degrading transaction something pricelessly or even transcendentally precious is made tantamount to something apparently nugatory. Her blatant misdemeanor may be said to be a symbolic one in that the negotiation could possibly involve her desperate but doomed endeavor to free herself from the fate of her Jewishness that the ring emblematizes; indeed, it is rather unlikely that her newly acquired status as a Christian wife to a Christian Venetian husband will mitigate her alienation.
Type: bulletin (article)
Appears in Collections:メディア・コミュニケーション研究 = Media and Communication Studies > 53

Submitter: 小川 泰寛

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