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Appearance and Reality

Blood and Humanity

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In the Merchant of Venice, the Prince of Morocco’s “And let us make incision for your love To prove whose blood is reddest, his or mine,” introduces the theme of superficial differences masking intrinsic similarities, the most intrinsic being that we share a common humanity. It foreshadows Shylock’s “If you prick us, do we not bleed” 
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Appearance and Prejudice

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One of Shakespeare’s most frequent themes is appearance versus reality. This theme manifests itself in different ways for different purposes. In Merchant of Venice (2.2.181), Bassanio says to Gratiano:

Thou art too wild, too rude and bold of voice—
Parts that become thee happily enough,
And in such eyes as ours appear not faults.
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Appearance and Deception

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A recurring theme in many of Shakespeare’s plays, and central to Much Ado About Nothing, explores how easily people are deceived not just by the false testimony of others but even by their own senses. Claudio, believing he was deceived by Don John, learned to place no trust in the words of others. With “Let every eye negotiate for itself,”
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I thought the King had more affected the Duke

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Kent
I thought the King had more affected the Duke
of Albany than Cornwall.
Gloucester
It did always seem so to us, but now in
the division of the kingdom, it appears not which
of the dukes he values most, for equalities are so
weighed that curiosity in neither can make choice
of either’s moiety.
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Source:
Act 1
Scene 1
Line 1

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Connected Notes:
Lear: Act One Scene One

Say not “treasonous.”

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Norfolk
Say not “treasonous.”
Buckingham
To th’ King I’ll say ’t, and make my vouch as strong
As shore of rock.Hyperbaton & Simile

This holy fox,
Or wolf, or both—for he is equal rav’nous
As he is subtle, and as prone to mischief
As able to perform ’t

Attend.
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Let me choose, For as I am, I live upon the rack

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Bassanio
Let me choose,
For as I am, I live upon the rack.
Portia
Upon the rack, Bassanio? Then confess
What treason there is mingled with your love.
Bassanio
None but that ugly treason of mistrust,
Which makes me fear th’ enjoying of my love.
There may as well be amity and life
‘Tween snow and fire,
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I have deceived even your very eyes

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I have deceived even your very eyes. What your wisdoms could not discover, these shallow fools have brought to light.Irony
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Source:
Act 5
Scene 1
Line 242

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Appearance and Deception