Stained by Love
A guy and his girlfriend are enjoying soft drinks
and discussing the book they just finished reading
for a class assignment when the guy thought
it would be funny to shove a couple of the Cheetos
he was munching on up the nostrils of his nose.
She starts to laugh but then suddenly realizes
that laughing and drinking at the same time
can be a painful experience.
The laughter was the comedy he expected,
but the pain the girl felt as the soft drink
went up her nose was the reality,
and suddenly for her, there was nothing
more to laugh about.
Whether he laughs, or she cries,
it all depends on their point of view.
Some people like to eat Cheetos
and maybe even stick them up their nose.
They like the dusty, cheesy, crunchy craziness of them.
Then there are people that hate Cheetos
no matter how you try to force them to like them.
They just don’t like the texture or the taste.
The same can be said for story The Merchant of Venice
by William Shakespeare.
The plot starts with the simple concept
of a guy that wants to impress a girl.
It continues with a messy serious of cover-ups
as the guy tries to get the girl,
and finally ends with
(act surprised here)
the guy gets the girl
Some people think it is a great comedy
and try to get other people to try it and like it,
but this story is not the comedy
that some people think it is.
Money, deception, and greed
all make this story a tragedy
that is difficult to swallow.
One of the first things that can cause
the reader to gag is the idea that people
can be bought like a bag of Cheetos.
Bassanio asks money from his friend, Antonio,
so that he can join the other men
who court Portia, “O my Antonio,
had I but the means to hold a rival place
with one of them…”
Bassanio asks Shylock for three thousand ducats,
enough to last him three months.
He is willing to bind Antonio,
not himself, to the debt. His payback price
might be a pound of Antonio’s flesh.
Later when he is with Portia and asking
to take the test of choosing which casket
contains her image that will allow her to wed him,
he says, “But let me to my fortune…”
which might imply that she is his fortune.
He continues and adds, “Look on beauty,
and you shall see ’tis purchased by the weight.”
Shortly after Bassanio’s friend, Gratiano,
greets Salerio with these words,
“I know he (Antonio) will be glad of our success.
We are the Jasons, we have won the Fleece.”
He is comparing Portia to the golden fleece
taken by Jason and the Argonauts.
Only then does Bassanio reveal to Portia
that he was pretending to be wealthy,
“When I did first impart my love to you,
I freely told you all the wealth I had…
my state was nothing,
I should then have told you.”
To settle the debt, Portia offers
to pay twenty times the price
to rid her love of his debt and says,
“Since you are dear bought,
I will love you dear…How little is the cost
I have bestowed in purchasing
the semblance of my soul.”
Portia spent a great deal on one man,
which is bad enough, but it is tragic
when people like Lancelet say,
“alas, fifteen wives is nothing.”
Nothing is more painful than milk up your nose,
unless it is the consequences of deception.
Bassanio pretended to be wealthy
to win love and his friend is left to pay the debt.
Lancelet enjoys taunting his father
as he pretends not to be his son.
Gobbo says, “I am sure you are not Lancelet my son,”
and Lancelet replies, “Pray you,
let’s have no more fooling about it, …”
Jessica pretends to be a boy as she steals from her father
and runs away with her lover.
Portia and Nerissa disguise themselves
and even their new husbands are unable to recognize them
and pay the price of their new wedding rings.
It is distasteful to think that the two men
are completely unable to recognize their new wives.
How much could they have loved these women
if they can’t even recognize their voices or actions?
So if a guy wants to impress his girlfriend,
he should not spend his $5.99 hard earned money
to buy a tragic copy of The Merchant of Venice
by William Shakespeare at Borders,
but instead look online for a free way
to help her get dusty, orange Cheeto stains
off her new white t-shirt.