For the research essay, I choose to go with attempting to classify Shakespeare’s, “The Merchant of Venice. This is seemly a difficult task due to the way in which it was written. Although, from my previous post last week, I already had an idea of where I would go with this play. This being, “The Merchant of Venice” is best-classified as a tragicomedy due to the roles the characters play in the plot. Much of the story is simply a romantic comedy evidenced by Bassanio and even Jessica. There are other hints of comedic elements in the way Portia goes about selecting her future husband, of one that stood out, the silver box and it’s fool’s head. “On the other hand, Shylock, the comic Jewish character who suffers an ignominious downfall, does not make us laugh (Beck, 2005)”. It would seem that the play intends to make humor from Shylock’s misfortunes but in reality, creates a strong argument for why it is a tragedy.
I used the AMU online library on finding my sources because of the way the search function for it is set up to make it easier to find what exactly I was looking for. Yet, deciding on which sources to go with was still a difficult task, as the vast options and how I wanted to go about the essay dictated my choice in articles. Nevertheless, I selected the two following:
Beck, B. (2005). The Taming of the Jew: “The Merchant of Venice” Is No Laughing Matter. Multicultural Perspectives, 7(4), 30–32. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327892mcp0704_5
Niederhoff, Burkhard. “‘When Mercy Seasons Justice’: Poetic Justice in Comedy *.” Connotations : a Journal for Critical Debate 25.2 (2015): 152–174. Web.
The first being primarily focused on how it isn’t a comedy due to the ways the play depicts the Jews. The following describing the way the story can play both comedy and tragedy.
2.) For my research paper I chose to do the gender issues surrounding Pygmalion (My Fair Lady) for many reasons. One being that I have a strong passion for gender equality, me being a female, and that the remade movie musical My Fair Lady is a film that I grew up watching and adored. Another reason is because I found The Importance of Being Ernest very negatively viewed in a feminist perspective and not many will want to read about me bashing the poor play. Thus I will spare my instructor and write on Pygmalion.
Finding resources for this topic has not been pleasant. There are not many scholars who asked the author about his views on gender equality or thoughts on the mistreatment of women during this period. There were however, writings depicting the controversy surrounding the different endings other directors gave to Shaws play. These other directors put a spin on the endings which have much “happily ever after” Cinderella theme.
I read mostly about the production and reception of the play on wiki then used the references through the library working backwards.
I was able to find two peer reviewed sources of information, the first one I found on wiki regarding excerpts from Shaw himself, his thoughts and opinions on how the play was perceived by the public, and his take on the characters as well.
Ferguson, Ann L. “the Instinct of an Artist”: Shaw and the Theatre : an Exhibition from the Bernard F. Burgunder Collection of George Bernard Shaw. Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Library, 1997. Print.
The Second one was found by pure luck, as it is mainly a guided reference in understanding Shaw and all of literature in general. It is peer reviewed and published by Cambridge University:
Harrison, K. “The Cambridge Companion to George Bernard Shaw.” Reference Reviews, vol. 13, no. 2, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Feb. 1999, pp. 28–29, doi:10.1108/rr.1922.214.171.124.93.
I have writers block at the moment as I don’t know what angle to play with gender specific roles. Apparently, Shaw, (according to one excerpt) had a feministic undertone in Pygmalion despite it being negatively a lowly woman being influenced and berated by a man who ultimately falls in love with his creation. A typical Cinderella story beginning but without the fairy tale happy ending that many a critic or audience desired. I am certain that the more research I do, the more I will be able to craft an abstract. Any suggestions are welcome and desired my fellow classmates!