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2/15/2019

Tennyson’ Use of Imagery in “The Lotos Eaters”



The source of Tennyson's poem "The Lotos Eaters" is an episode of Homer's Odyssey. However, in a characteristic way, Tennyson inserts in this poem the issue of the meaning of life. Usually Tennyson is used to preach the philosophy of action.

Ironically, in this particular poem, he speaks about the philosophy of


lethargy and inaction. Probably Tennyson is presenting a case of

s Tennyson puts it in Ulysses, to

strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield".




The poem begins with the description of the effect of the lotos

fruits on the mariners of Ulysses. On the midway of their long and


weary journey towards home, the mariners reach the island of the

lotos-eaters. They eat the lotos fruits and get intoxicated. In that

mood, the natural beauty of the island arrests their attention. They appreciate the island with its "slender stream", "three mountain tops" and the "charmed sunset". They are charmed by the music of the island. The music, softer than the soft petals of roses, has gentler effect on the sailors. They feel happy and sleepy. Thus, their mental state gets a change while seeing the island of cool mosses

flowers and sleep-inducing poppy.

However, after eating the lotos, their reasoning power becomes perverted and they begin to question the meaning of all human activities. The mariners observe that everything under the sun enjoys rest. Everything is born, passes a natural course and finally dies. This seems to be an automatic process. In contrast, man's life is a continual struggle. It is the struggle against hunger, disease,

suffering and death. Man's life is crushed with sorrow and still he is

thrown from one sorrow to another. The irony of human existence is

that, in. spite of being the best of the creation, man has to encounter

the worst of the struggle. They mariners sing:




“Why are we weigh'd upon with heaviness


And utterly consumed with sharp distress,

While all things else have rest from weariness”




Thus, by drawing upon a contrast between human life and all other


things on this earth, the mariners wants to rationalise their plan to

live in this island in a state of permanent rest, peace and tranquillity.

Again, the mariners think that although once they had happy

home and hearth, all had changed due to their long absence. They

would no more be welcomed by their wives and children. Or, it may

be that their properties have been looted by the naughty princes of

the island. Their glorious deeds have been futile legends. Now to go

and reclaim everything would invite only trouble. They have no more

the willpower to face trouble. This is why, they prefer to stay here in the lotos island.




In "The Lotos Eaters", Tennyson puts forward one side of the view of life. According to this view, man should not strive for higher ment and rather indulge in inaction. By putting this view in the mouth of the weary mariners, Tennyson has exposed the


emptiness of such view.  in the poem has a universal appeal. The poem is rich in its pictorial quality. Tennyson very vividly portrays the beauty of the island though many sensuous images. The language of the poem is very musical too, which is also typical of Tennyson.



2/11/2019

"The Paradise Lost" by John Milton : Summary .

https://www.freenote1.com/search/label/John%20Milton

Milton has written his own summaries of each book in the “Arguments" (argumentum in Latin means subject matter) to be found at the beginning of each book in any modern edition. Those were added by Milton between the first and second editions at the request of early readers. The whole subject, Milton says, is announced at the beginning of the poem: it will be man's disobedience and the loss of Paradise. The primary cause of all this is Satan, who had rebelled against God with a huge number of angels and had been cast out of Heaven into Hell before Adam and Eve were created.

Beginning according to the epic formula "in the midst of things,”
the epic tells first of the fallen angels in Hell. Satan informs them of a prophecy about a new creature named man and suggests that the
fallen angels call a council. A council hall, Pandemonium, is built by
magic, and Satan begins a debate on the subject of how to recover Heaven. After some discussion it is decided that Satan should go alone to find the newly created world and man. With some difficulty he flies upward, gets through Hell's gates, maintained by Sin and Death, and is directed by Chaos to the new world.
Meanwhile, God, sitting on his throne in Heaven, shows his Son the figure of Satan flying through the air, and predicts Satan's success in corrupting man. Man is created free and could stand, but will fall of his own free will. Man will be seduced by Satan; however he will be given grace, if someone in Heaven will offer to die for man's sin. The Son volunteers to die for man and the angels join together to sing His praise in hymns.

As this is happening, Satan has flown to the rim of our universe
sees in passing the Limbo of Vanity, and comes to the orb of the sun,
where he changes himself into the form of a lower angel and pretending to be enthusiastic about finding man, tricks the angel of the sun, Uriel, into giving him directions. He finds his way to Mt Niphates, within sight of Eden, and alights there Satan is almost overcome by doubts and passions as he thinks about what he wants to do, but at length he confirms himself in his evil purpose and goes into Eden. When he first sees Adam and Eve he is awestruck by their beauty but he listens to their conversation and discovers that the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge is forbidden to them. This, he decides, will be his means of seducing them.
Meanwhile, Uriel has discovered Satan's fraud and has warned Gabriel at the Gate of Paradise that some evil spirit has escaped from
Hell, and Gabriel and his fellow angels begin a search. After Adam
and Eve have said their evening prayer and gone to sleep, the angels
discover Satan at Eve's ear, tempting her in a dream. Satan is brought to Gabriel for questioning and answers him scornfully until he sees a sign from Heaven showing his destiny and he flies out of Paradise.

When Eve awakes, she tells Adam about her dream, which disturbs him, but he comforts her and they go out for their daily work. God sends Raphael to tell Adam everything necessary for him to know of his position with respect to God and to warn him of Satan's presence. Adam sees Raphael coming in the distance and goes out to welcome him, then Raphael sits down to a dinner
prepared by Eve and tells Adam of Satan's revolt and the War in Heaven. In that war the Son ultimately has had the victory and glory driving Satan and his huge army over Heaven's wall and into the
deep.

After Satan and his legions have been expelled from Heaven, Raphael says, God sends the Son to create the world in six days while the angels celebrate the act of creation in hymns.

Adam asks Raphael questions about the celestial bodies and Raphael suggests that man does not need to know as much as God. Adam, changing the subject, tells Raphael what he knows creation and his first meeting with Eve. Raphael listens, then warns Adam again and leaves.

Night falls and Satan returns to Paradise and enters the body of the serpent. Next morning, as they prepare to go to work., Eve suggests that she and Adam divide their labours and work different places in order to get more done. Adam goes against his suggestion, maintaining that the Enemy would like to find her
one, but Eve persists until he finally gives in and lets her go.

The serpent finds Eve alone and subtly flatters her at first, then convinces her that he has eaten the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge and
gained wisdom and speech. Gradually she is persuaded that he is telling the truth and she eats. Pleased with the intoxicating sensation of eating the forbidden fruit, she hesitates for a while before giving Adam her new-found knowledge, then tells him the same story the serpent told her. Out of love for her, Adam eats the fruit too, and the effects of the sin are immediately apparent: Adam and Eve discover that they are naked and they begin to quarrel and accuse one another.
The guardian angels leave Paradise after God has told them that they could not have prevented the Fall. God sends the Son to judge Adam and Eve, but He also clothes them out of pity.

At the gates of Hell, Sin and Death, by a miraculous empathy with Satan, feel that they are due to make their appearance on earth.
To make the way easier they build a broad highway or bridge over Chaos. As they prepare to go to Earth they meet Satan, proud of his success, heading back to Hell. At Pandemonium, however, where he
expects to be cheered, Satan is greeted by a universal hiss; in token of his act he and the fallen angels are made into serpents. In Heaven, God foretells the final victory of the Son over Sin and
Death, while on Earth Adam and Eve are bitterly grieving over their fate and accusing each other of their sin. Eve suggests suicide, but
Adam reminds her that her offspring (Jesus) will eventually overcome and wipe out their sin.
The Son carries the prayers of the repenting Adam and Eve up to God and intercedes for them. God accepts the prayers but sends
Michael with a band of cherubim to drive the pair out of Eden. Adam
has noticed certain signs that they will have to leave Paradise and
goes out to meet Michael when he comes. Michael takes Adam up to
high hill and prophesies what will happen to man before the Flood
brings an end to the world. Michael surveys all human history pointing out to Adam the transmission of the seed which will eventually lead to the Christ. Although the history is bleak, Adam is comforted by the promise of the seed as he descends the hill with
in a dream. He awakens Eve, who has been given the same information
in a dream, and Michael, taking them both by the hand, leads them out of Paradise (now guarded by cherubim and a fiery sword), which they will never be able to enter again

Summary of Book I:

The subject of Paradise Lost is announced at the beginning
Book I, it is "Man's first disobedience" and the consequent Paradise. Milton invokes his Muse, the same Christian source of inspiration that gave Moses the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai, to help him rise above the pagan epic poets of the past and justify the ways of God to men. The prime cause of man's fall is Satan, formerly an angel whose pride caused him to war against God and to be thrown out of Heaven and whose envy of man and desire for revenge on God caused him to deceive Eve and help bring about the fall of Adam and Eve.

Satan is seen just after he and his fellow rebel angels have been
hurled down into Hell, a place of fiery torment but no light. Chained on the burning lake, he speaks to his next highest comrade, Beelzebub lying beside him. Satan is struck by the horrible changes in Beelzebub's appearance caused by the Fall, but he still defies God and refuses to repent. He even claims to have shaken the throne of God, which we find out later is a lie (I, 105: VI, 834; VII, 585-586).
He refuses to serve God, whom he calls a tyrant. But while he boasts
in this way, the poet says, he is inwardly tortured by his own despair
Beelzebub asks Satan what they should do against God's all powerful force, and Satan answers proudly that they should do everything within their ability to pervert God's will.
Having been permitted by God to "Heap on himself damnation”,
and having been allowed to move, Satan flies by means of his wings
from the burning lake to a plain, believing he is doing so on his own
power. Surveying the doleful surroundings, Satan decides it is "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven." Although the other fallen
angels lie "grovelling and prostrate" on the lake of fire, Satan calls them to arms, addressing them by their angelic titles. They come looking like the Biblical plague of locusts.
Among them are Moloch, who later became a pagan god to whom children were sacrificed, and other heathen gods and goddesses such as Astarte, Orus, Dagon, Isis and Osiris. Belial, a lewd and grossly sexual devil, is last among them. Satan rallies them with high-sounding words and they appear to be a large and glorious army. Satan feels a huge pride in his troops of demons, which make him forget for the moment the scars he has from his earlier combat. Struggling to keep back tears of despair, he addresses them, calling
them to war, if not against God, then against God's new creation man. A council of war should be called, he says. They respond with  shout of defiance against God Mammon then leads a group of fallen angels to dig into a volcanic hill for molten metal and erect suddenly and by magic what looks like a temple, but is really Pandemonium, the capital of Hell, designed by the demonic architect, Muleiber.

With their rustling wings, the devils appear from a distance to be like a swarm of bees as they go into Pandemonium to consult over the method of war against God.

"The Easter Wings" Summary and Critical Appreciation.

Summary:
This poem celebrates. Christ's Resurrection: That is, his coming back to life on the third day after his martyrdom. At the same time the poem expresses the writer's fervent aspiration to fly upwards like a
lark in order to achieve a spiritual elevation. Man was created by God in the midst of plenty but man lost his
plentiful wealth through his own folly and became (spiritually) poor. The poet is now in that poor condition but he seeks Christ's favour to rise, like a lark, to a higher state. On this Easter Sunday the poet would like to sing a song celebrating Christ's victory symbolised by his Resurrection.
The poet refers to the sorrows of his early life and to his sickness and humiliation afterwards. But his sufferings only increased his devotion to Christ. He would, on this Easter Sunday, like to become one with Christ and share Christ's victory over death. If Christ were to  engraft new feathers in the poet's damaged wings, the poet would regain his strength and would be able to rise upwards, like a lark. In other words, with Christ's help the poet would feel spiritually uplifted.
Critical Appreciation:
The first fact to be noted about this poem is the manner in which it is
written and printed. The first line of the poem is the longest, the
second line is shorter than the first; the third line is shorter than the
third; the fourth line is shorter than the third; the fifth and the ,
sixth lines are shorter than the fourth, each consisting of only two
words. Then, the seventh line becomes longer than the fifth and the
sixth; the eighth line is longer than the seventh; the ninth line is
longer than the eighth; and the tenth line is longer than the ninth. In
other words, the lines become shorter and shorter till we are left with only two words in each of the two lines in the exact middle of the
and then the lines again become longer and longer till we reach the tenth line which is almost as long as the first. The same pattern has exactly been followed in the second stanza. Not only that; there is another remarkable fact about the poem. Its shape (with the
length of the lines first decreasing and then increasing) resembles the
wings of a bird. As we look at the printed poem, we are reminded of
the wings of an eagle or a lark. A poem of this kind belongs to the
class of poetry known as "pattern poetry" Another poem belonging
to this category is “The Altar”, the shape of which reminds us of a
of worship and suggests the “Eucharist”. These two poems by Herber are also known as "hieroglyphic poems". The word "hieroglyph” means a figure, or a device, or a sign having a hidden meaning.

The significance of the title of the poem is also noteworthy “Wings” are relevant because the poet wishes to fly upwards like a lark or an eagle. He wants to fly upwards just as Christ ascended to heaven on the third day after his crucifixion. Easter is the festival celebrating Christ's ascension. On the occasion of Easter, the poet would also like to fly upwards. In his case, the flight is, of course, not a literal one but metaphorical in the sense of a spiritual elevation or regeneration.
The basic idea of the poem is that Paradise was lost by man through
original sin and that it was regained by christ’s martyrdom. But the poem also implies that a human being can achieve the regeneration of his spiritual personality through a realisation of his sinfulness through his consequent remorse. In the case of the poet, this spiritual regeneration coincides with the commemoration of Christ's ascension to Heaven on Easter-Sunday. There is also the explicit idea that the fall of man is the essential basis of his rise or his flight; in other words spiritual regeneration or rejuvenation is possible without sinfulness which is inherent in man's nature. The thinning down and the
lengthening of the lines convey the rhythmic movement of the larks
wings, and are intended also to convey the impoverishment and
enrichment respectively of the human soul. Thus the pictorial device of the poem fits its meaning exactly. The poem serves, in its own structure and detail, as a conceit or image for what is under discussion.

In “Easter Wings”, says a critic, the two stanzas are in the shape of wings and the sense expands and contracts as the lines lengthen and shorten; the shape of the wings on the printed page may have nothing but ingenuity to recommend it, but the diminuendo and crescendo that bring it about are expressive of both the rise and fall of the lark's song and of the lark's flight, and also expressive of the fall of man and his resurrection in Christ. However, there are critics who, because of such picture-poems, think of Herbert as a poet who liked to perform poetie stunts or toy with oddities. Such critics take an uncharitable view of the matter. The poet's sincerity is unquestionable, and his devotion to God and Christ undoubtedly genuine.

2/09/2019

"The Canonization" : Summary and Critical Appreciation.

“The Canonization” : Summary and Critical Appreciation    Summary: The speaker asks his addressee to be quiet, and let him love. If the addressee cannot hold his tongue, the speaker tells him to criticise him for other shortcomings (other than his tendency to love); his palsy, his gout, his "five grey hairs," or his ruined fortune. He admonishes the addressee to look to his own mind and his own wealth and to think of his position and copy the other nobles (“Observe his Honour, or his Grace, /Or the King's real, or his stamped face/ Contemplate.”) The speaker does not care what the addressee says or does, as long as he lets him love.   The speaker asks rhetorically, "Who's injured by my love?". He says that his sighs have not drowned ships, his tears have not flooded land, his colds have not chilled spring, and the heat of his veins has not added to the list of those killed by the plague. Soldiers still find wars and lawyers still find litigious men, regardless of the emotions of the speaker and his lover.  The speaker tells his addressee to "Call us what you will," for it is love that makes them so. He says that the addressee can "Call her one, me another fly," and that they are also like candles ("tapers"), which burn by feeding upon their own selves ("and at our own cost die"). In each other, the lovers find the eagle and the dove, and together ('we two being one") they illuminate the riddle of the phoenix, for they "die and rise the same," just as the phoenix does- though unlike the phoenix, it is love that slays and resurrects them.  He says that they can die by love if they are not able to live by it, and if their legend is not fit "for tombs and hearse," it will be fit for poetry and -We'll build in sonnets pretty rooms." A well-wrought urn does as much justice to a dead man's ashes as does a gigantic tomb; and by the same token, the poems about the speaker and his lover will cause them to be "canonized," admitted to the sainthood of love. All those who hear their story will invoke the lovers, saying that countries, towns, an courts "beg from above/A pattern of your-lovel".    Critical Appreciation: Love has been an object of fun and hair-splitting with the metaphysical poets. Donne has also dealt with different moods of love and has played with its several fancies and visions. In this poem, however, he has taken a positive and serious view of love. It is a selfless and saintly affection as worthy of respect as worship. Here, we find his great devotion to Anne Moore-his beloved-though the marriage marred his career and brought him into disrepute. The main idea is that his love does not interfere with the lives of others and so why should they take exception to it. Donne's passion is physical and the lovers really believe in sexual indulgence. Their bodies become one and so do their souls, as in a religious mystery.  Donne treats physical love, as if, it were divine love. Saints are canonized for their renunciation of the world and its comforts. In the same way, the lovers have renounced the material world. The love of Donne for his beloved causes no damage or injury to the society or to the world. Other people continue to carry on their normal daily chores and duties. The lovers have lost the world but gained more in the world of each other. The lovers are, so to say, dead to the world.  They have, therefore, deserved the status of saints. They are the saints whose blessings other lovers will invoke. The lovers are devoted to each other as a saint is devoted to God. Some people may regard it as paradox of Christian Canonization, but there is no doubt that the tone of the poem is both serious and convincing.    Donne begins his argument with a friend who dissuades him from love-making. He tells him to stop his nonsensical talk and allow him to love. Let his friend regard his love as a natural or hereditary disease. Let his friend mind his own business and look after his own career and fortune.  After all, the poet's love does not cause any harm or damage does not disturb, even flow of social life. His sighs and tears have caused no offence to anyone. People are busy with their own affairs. His profession is love and so why should anyone take objection to it.  The poet deals with the secret of love. Love is an association or union of two people. Human isolation is awful; the lovers find mutual satisfaction in love. They are like flies and tapers which enjoy being consumed to extinction. Like the Phoenix, the lovers are resurrected from their ashes. Both are consumed by the fire of passion and out of consummation emanates their resurrection. Physical love is elevated to the plane of spiritual love.  The poet and his beloved are prepared to die for love if they cannot live by love. The tale of their death will form the subject of love poets. Their love will be commemorated in lyrics and sonnets. They will attain the status of saints of love. People will copy their love and regard it as a model.  Lovers will worship the poet and his beloved as the martyrs to love. Lovers will invoke the blessings of these martyred saints. Love will bring them both peace and solace. Like them other lovers will devote themselves entirely to their respective beloveds. Each will find in his beloved the whole soul of the world. The lovers will pray to God to grant them the same kind of true love which the beloved enjoyed while living in the world.   Organic imagery is a strong point of the poem. The two lovers moving around each other like flies or again consuming themselves like tapers; or again the images of the eagle and the dove- the violent one preying on the weak, and ultimately the riddle of the Phoenix indicate the whole process of love from courtship to consummation of love. Though they are two, they are one, of the neutral sex like the Phoenix. As is reborn from its ashes, the lovers are reborn (revitalised) after sexual indulgence. In fact, Donne treats physical love like divine love.  “The canonization” which leads to the lovers being regarded as the martyred saints of love will make them a model of love. The rage of love will be transformed into peace. The lovers need no mention in history-books or any monuments or inscriptions. Donne's wit is seen in his mention of the King's face-the real one in the court, the fake one on coins. The lovers eyes are the mirrors in which each sees the reflection or the image of the other. Each eye contains the whole world with its countries, towns and courts. In short, the poem shows the Craftsmanship of Donne at his best.

Summary:

The speaker asks his addressee to be quiet, and let him love. If the addressee cannot hold his tongue, the speaker tells him to criticise him for other shortcomings (other than his tendency to love); his palsy, his gout, his "five grey hairs," or his ruined fortune. He admonishes the addressee to look to his own mind and his own wealth and to think of his position and copy the other nobles (“Observe his Honour, or his Grace, /Or the King's real, or his
stamped face/ Contemplate.”) The speaker does not care what the
addressee says or does, as long as he lets him love.

The speaker asks rhetorically, "Who's injured by my love?". He says that his sighs have not drowned ships, his tears have not flooded land, his colds have not chilled spring, and the heat of his veins has not added to the list of those killed by the plague. Soldiers still find wars and lawyers still find litigious men, regardless of the emotions of the speaker and his lover.

The speaker tells his addressee to "Call us what you will," for it is love that makes them so. He says that the addressee can "Call her one, me another fly," and that they are also like candles ("tapers"), which burn by feeding upon their own selves ("and at our own cost die"). In each other, the lovers find the eagle and the dove, and together ('we two being one") they illuminate the riddle of the
phoenix, for they "die and rise the same," just as the phoenix does-
though unlike the phoenix, it is love that slays and resurrects them.

He says that they can die by love if they are not able to live by it, and if their legend is not fit "for tombs and hearse," it will be fit for poetry and -We'll build in sonnets pretty rooms." A well-wrought urn does as much justice to a dead man's ashes as does a gigantic tomb; and by the
same token, the poems about the speaker and his lover will cause them to be "canonized," admitted to the sainthood of love. All those who hear their story will invoke the lovers, saying that countries, towns, an
courts "beg from above/A pattern of your-lovel".

Critical Appreciation:

Love has been an object of fun and hair-splitting with the metaphysical poets. Donne has also dealt with different moods of love and has played with its several fancies and visions. In this poem, however, he
has taken a positive and serious view of love. It is a selfless and saintly affection as worthy of respect as worship. Here, we find his great devotion to Anne Moore-his beloved-though the marriage
marred his career and brought him into disrepute. The main idea is that his love does not interfere with the lives of others and so why should they take exception to it. Donne's passion is physical and the lovers really believe in sexual indulgence. Their bodies become one and so do their souls, as in a religious mystery.

Donne treats physical love, as if, it were divine love. Saints are
canonized for their renunciation of the world and its comforts. In the
same way, the lovers have renounced the material world. The love of Donne for his beloved causes no damage or injury to the society or to the world. Other people continue to carry on their normal daily chores and duties. The lovers have lost the world but gained more in the world of each other. The lovers are, so to say, dead to the world.
They have, therefore, deserved the status of saints. They are the saints whose blessings other lovers will invoke. The lovers are devoted to each other as a saint is devoted to God. Some people may regard it as paradox of Christian Canonization, but there is no doubt that the tone of the poem is both serious and convincing.  

Donne begins his argument with a friend who dissuades him from love-making. He tells him to stop his nonsensical talk and allow him to love. Let his friend regard his love as a natural or hereditary disease. Let his friend mind his own business and look after his own career and fortune.

After all, the poet's love does not cause any harm or damage does not disturb, even flow of social life. His sighs and tears have caused no offence to anyone. People are busy with their own affairs. His
profession is love and so why should anyone take objection to it.

The poet deals with the secret of love. Love is an association or union of two people. Human isolation is awful; the lovers find mutual
satisfaction in love. They are like flies and tapers which enjoy being
consumed to extinction. Like the Phoenix, the lovers are resurrected
from their ashes. Both are consumed by the fire of passion and out of
consummation emanates their resurrection. Physical love is elevated to the plane of spiritual love.

The poet and his beloved are prepared to die for love if they cannot live by love. The tale of their death will form the subject of love poets. Their love will be commemorated in lyrics and sonnets. They will attain the status of saints of love. People will copy their love and regard it as a model.

Lovers will worship the poet and his beloved as the martyrs to love. Lovers will invoke the blessings of these martyred saints. Love will bring them both peace and solace. Like them other lovers will devote themselves entirely to their respective beloveds. Each will find
in his beloved the whole soul of the world. The lovers will pray to God
to grant them the same kind of true love which the beloved enjoyed while living in the world.

Organic imagery is a strong point of the poem. The two lovers moving around each other like flies or again consuming themselves like tapers; or again the images of the eagle and the dove- the violent one preying on the weak, and ultimately the riddle of the Phoenix indicate the whole process of love from courtship to consummation of love. Though they are two, they are one, of the neutral sex like the Phoenix. As is reborn from its ashes, the lovers are reborn (revitalised) after sexual indulgence. In fact, Donne treats physical love like divine love.
“The canonization” which leads to the lovers being regarded as the
martyred saints of love will make them a model of love. The rage of love will be transformed into peace. The lovers need no mention in history-books or any monuments or inscriptions. Donne's wit is seen in his mention of the King's face-the real one in the court, the fake one
on coins. The lovers eyes are the mirrors in which each sees the
reflection or the image of the other. Each eye contains the whole world
with its countries, towns and courts. In short, the poem shows the
Craftsmanship of Donne at his best.

2/06/2019

"The Merchant of Venice" is a comedy of incidents.

1, "The Merchant of Venice is a comedy of incidents and not of characters." -Discuss.   A study of the history of English comedy shows that two comedies have always existed. They are 'comedies of incidents’ and 'comedies of characters'. The distinction is based on the fact that in the former kind the interest of the play arises out of the complex of successive events or incident which are the results of various characters; and in the latter the main interest lies in the various characters of the play and the incidents are of importance only to illustrate the characters.  “The Merchant of Venice” is a romance, a sort of fairy tale. As such the incidents and situations in the play are highly arresting and wonderful. The two main stories in the play-the Bond-story and the Casket-story are essentially romantic and almost legendary. Who has ever heard of a bond that lays down that the debtor shall have to pay an interest of a pound of flesh to be cut off from any part of his body at the creditor's will, if the bond is forfeited?. Who has ever heard that the marriage of a beautiful, accomplished and rich heiress is made dependent on the lottery of caskets devised by the dead father? These are oriental romances, outside the pale of real life. The sub-plots-the Lorenzo-Jessica episode and the Ring-episode-are of a piece with the main plot. It may be noted that these two are Shakespeare's own inventions and owe nothing to the so-called 'sources'. With a great skill the dramatist has woven together these various stories into a coherent whole. As a result we find some of the most vivid and arresting scenes and incidents in the play-Antonio's signing the fatal bond, the three caskets scenes, the flight of Jessica with Lorenzo, the scene where Tubal tortures' Shylock with news of Jessica, the crowning glory of the Trial Scene, the moonlight scene between the lovers Lorenzo and Jessica and lastly the comedy of the rings.  The beauty of these scenes and situations is superb and has made them memorable for generations. The play is no doubt rich in incidents and the 'plotting of the play is admirable”.  But the chief interest of “The Merchant of Venice” lies in characterisation. The incidents that form the plot reveal the characters. They provide occasions for the revelation of characters. The value of the Bond-story and the Casket-story lies less in the way in which they have been presented than in their successful depicting the intricate personalities of Shylock and Portia. The underplot of Lorenzo and Jessica is dramatically significant in so far as it urges Shylock on to revenge and create his mental collapse. The incident of the rings has its importance not as an incidence but because it gives an additional glimpse of Portia's brilliance and liveliness. Shylock and Portia are vividly portrayed with their varied aspects. It has a variety of characters-and they are individualised.   It has been rightly said that “The Merchant of Venice” is the first complete play in which character takes precedence over plot.

A study of the history of English comedy shows that two comedies have always existed. They are 'comedies of incidents’ and 'comedies of characters'. The distinction is based on the fact that in the former kind the interest of the play arises out of the complex of successive events or incident which are the results of various characters; and in the latter the main interest lies in the various characters of the play and the incidents are of importance only to illustrate the characters.

“The Merchant of Venice” is a romance, a sort of fairy tale. As such
the incidents and situations in the play are highly arresting and
wonderful. The two main stories in the play-the Bond-story and the
Casket-story are essentially romantic and almost legendary. Who has
ever heard of a bond that lays down that the debtor shall have to pay
an interest of a pound of flesh to be cut off from any part of his body
at the creditor's will, if the bond is forfeited?. Who has ever heard that
the marriage of a beautiful, accomplished and rich heiress is made dependent on the lottery of caskets devised by the dead father? These are oriental romances, outside the pale of real life. The sub-plots-the
Lorenzo-Jessica episode and the Ring-episode-are of a piece with
the main plot. It may be noted that these two are Shakespeare's own
inventions and owe nothing to the so-called 'sources'. With a great
skill the dramatist has woven together these various stories into a
coherent whole. As a result we find some of the most vivid and arresting scenes and incidents in the play-Antonio's signing the fatal
bond, the three caskets scenes, the flight of Jessica with Lorenzo, the
scene where Tubal tortures' Shylock with news of Jessica, the crowning glory of the Trial Scene, the moonlight scene between the lovers Lorenzo and Jessica and lastly the comedy of the rings.
The beauty of these scenes and situations is superb and has made them memorable for generations. The play is no doubt rich in incidents
and the 'plotting of the play is admirable”.

But the chief interest of “The Merchant of Venice” lies in
characterisation. The incidents that form the plot reveal the characters. They provide occasions for the revelation of characters.
The value of the Bond-story and the Casket-story lies less in the way
in which they have been presented than in their successful depicting the intricate personalities of Shylock and Portia. The underplot of Lorenzo and Jessica is dramatically significant in so far as it urges Shylock on to revenge and create his mental collapse. The incident of the rings has its importance not as an incidence but because it gives an additional glimpse of Portia's brilliance and liveliness. Shylock and Portia are vividly portrayed with their varied aspects. It has a variety of characters-and they are individualised.

It has been rightly said that “The Merchant of Venice” is the first
complete play in which character takes precedence over plot.