The Merchant of Venice essay revision sheet



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The Merchant of Venice essay revision sheet
In our unit on the play, we looked at the storyline involving Antonio and Shylock, and their relationship. Through these characters, we learnt about the theme of revenge versus mercy, but we also learn about the effects that prejudice can have on someone. By focusing your study on these two characters you can answer a wide range of essay questions. See the table below which has brief introductions and topic sentences for a range of questions and body paragraphs.
Two key tips:

  1. YOU MUST NOT LEARN ESSAYS OFF BY HEART – for instance, an “important” theme would be discussed differently from an “inspiring” theme, so you need to adapt what you know to the essay question, not make a question fit an essay you already have in your head.

  2. DO NOT REPEAT INFORMATION/EXAMPLES BETWEEN PARAGRAPHS







Describe at least ONE significant relationship in the text(s).

Explain why this relationship was significant in the text(s).

Describe at least ONE situation or event that shocked or surprised you in the text(s).

Explain how this situation or event helped you understand an idea(s) in the text(s).

Describe at least ONE idea in the text(s) that you found interesting.

Explain why the idea(s) was interesting.

Describe an important conflict in a text. Explain why this conflict was important.

Introduction

An important relationship in The Merchant of Venice is the relationship between the merchant Antonio and the Jewish moneylender Shylock. They are enemies and their relationship is significant in the text because their actions towards each other teach us about the important themes of mercy and revenge.

An event that shocked me in The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare was when Shylock asked Antonio for a pound of flesh. This event helped me understand the ideas of prejudice and revenge, because it shows how being bullied can push someone to do something horrible.

An interesting idea in The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare is revenge versus mercy. This idea is interesting because it shows how being bullied can make people want revenge and that even if someone wants to hurt you it is important to show mercy.

An important conflict in The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare is the conflict between Antonio and Shylock. This conflict is based on religion and the practice of money-lending, or usury. It is important because it helps us understand the theme of revenge versus mercy.

Topic sentence for body paragraph one
(Answer the DESCRIBE PART OF THE QUESTION)

Antonio and Shylock’s relationship is very negative.

What else I would put in this paragraph:


Shylock asks for the pound of flesh because Bassanio comes to ask him for a loan.
What else I would put in this paragraph:

Shylock plans to get revenge on Antonio when he realises Bassanio and Antonio need his money.
What else I would put in this paragraph:

In the play, all of the characters apart from Shylock are Christian.

What else I would put in this paragraph:


Topic sentence body paragraph two (Give one point which helps answer the EXPLAIN PART OF THE QUESTION)

The first reason why the relationship is significant is because it shows the idea of revenge.

What evidence I would put in this paragraph:


This event shows me how unhappy a victim of prejudice can be.


What evidence I would put in this paragraph:


This idea is interesting because it shows how far someone will go to hurt someone who has been cruel to them.
What evidence I would put in this paragraph:


The conflict between these two characters is important because Antonio’s dislike of Shylock pushes Shylock to try and get revenge.
What evidence I would put in this paragraph:


Topic sentence body paragraph three (Give another point which helps answer the EXPLAIN PART OF THE QUESTION)

The relationship is also significant because Antonio and Shylock’s actions towards one another help us understand the theme of mercy.
What evidence I would put in this paragraph:



Another idea this event helps me understand is revenge.


What evidence I would put in this paragraph:


Revenge versus mercy is also interesting because it shows that it is better to forgive someone than try to hurt them.
What evidence I would put in this paragraph:


Another reason why the conflict is important is because it shows us what can happen if someone is not merciful towards their enemy.
What evidence I would put in this paragraph:



Revision activity

  1. Look back over your MoV notes and worksheets.

  2. From these, add examples and quotes into the various body paragraph boxes above so you have complete essay plans.

  3. Write a timed practice essay on one of the questions (get your parents to time you for 50 minutes) and read over it to check accuracy and relevance to the question.


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