The character of Shylock is that of a Jewish money lender who has been mistreated and misunderstood by the Christian community, particularly by the character Antonio. Shylock’s character stands out because in spite of his ridiculous demand at extracting revenge from Antonio, his character appears to have a great deal of depth. As the plot unfolds, the audience cannot help but feel sad of him as Shylock is a person who has been stereotyped and hurt by his daughter’s betrayal. According to Burnett et al. although the character of Shylock appears only in five out of nineteen scenes in the play, it is his role that captures the most attention. Al Pacino’s execution of the character is as close to perfection as any actor in today’s times could possibly achieve. The character appears to be an individual with an unkempt beard, who walks with a slight limp. Shylock’s role is that of a Jew, whose character can display a variation of emotions and impeccable dialogue delivery. Much Ado about Nothing cast comprises of a lot of big names that include Oscar winners Emma Thompson and Denzel Washington as Don Pedro, lead villain. The character of Don Pedro is that of the Prince of Aragon, of all the characters in the film, his appears to be most unpredictable. Unlike Shylock’s character that the audience ends up sympathizing with, in spite of the good intentions of Don Pedro, his character fails to attract positive attention. This character is that of a noble man who meddles in the love lives of two other characters in the film. Although the character appears to interfere with good intentions for his friend, the character ends up appearing as manipulative and one that exploits his authority. Although Denzel is a marvelous actor ad executed the lines well, in my opinion this role was not meant for him. Two Historical and Cinematic Adaptations We would consider the two different versions of the same play by Shakespeare “Merchant of Venice”. Michael Radford’s directorial eye tries to capture the Venetian setting of the sixteenth century. The film depicts the historically beautiful and watery landscape of Venice; the setting depicts brothels and courtesans as the integral part of the entertainment of the Christian society (Pittman, 2007). The film depicts a very racist society, where there are gates in the city to separate the Jews from the Christians who cannot cordially coexist. It is also noticeable that the director wants to identify Shylock as someone who is very particular about finances. He lays slight emphasis on this, when Shylock puts on his glasses while reading ledgers or calculating finances, which is does not appear to have use of in any other scenes. Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado about Nothing is focused more towards generalization, where costumes, sets and props could belong to any period from 1700 to 1900s. The director has attempted to provide a fairy-tale setting to the film, which was shot in Tuscany Italy with her magical landscape which has not been touch by the modernization for present times (Kenneth Branagh). Two points of view in the Film Michael Radford in his interview with Cynthia Fuchs promoted his movie by suggesting that “… you have the capacity in movies to bring things alive in ways you just can't in the theater.” The main point of view propagated in the film is the utter mockery of the double standards of the Venetian society of the time in a humorous fashion. The stereotyping of Jews can be
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This article forms a cinematic comparison of main characters, creative execution and sequences in the cinematic adaptation of Shakespeare’s play Much Ado About Nothing…
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