In connection with mercy and generosity, The Merchant of Venice also explores love and friendship between its characters. Barabas’ self-serving deception and superficiality are identical to Shylock’s. There be land rats and water rats, water thieves and land thieves — I mean pirates — and then there is the peril of waters, winds, and rocks” (I.iii.25). Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions — fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? New York: Random House. Shylock is devastated when his daughter leaves him to marry a Christian, he regards her as little more than one of his possession, just has he regards jewels and ducats. Betrayal is something that comes from deep inside human nature – a phenomenon that underlies all the unpleasant things that human beings do to each other. 13 Terms. In those times, a servant was not supposed to leave his master as it was considered betrayal. Shylock believes the Venetians are hypocrites because of their slave ownership. The Merchant of Venice Question: The Merchant of Venice was a play about a Jewish moneylender who plots to cut off a pound of flesh from a Merchant whom he has a history with. This will be the fodder for much discussion and argument for years to come. The Christian characters certainly viewthe matter this way. Explore the different themes within William Shakespeare's comedic play, The Merchant of Venice.Themes are central to understanding The Merchant of Venice as a play and identifying Shakespeare's social and political commentary.. The continued bloodshed in the Middle East, the ongoing struggle for racial equality in Africa, religious strife in Northern Ireland and the continued practice of genocide in the world suggest otherwise. (I.iii.61). The devil is defeated, not because he has no right to demand a penalty, but because he does not know the penalty has been already suffered” (Auden, p. 227). She also marries Lorenzo, a Christian, and the... Our experts can answer your tough homework and study questions. The main themes that take place in Venice are hatred, religious intolerance, revenge, greed and prejudice. Images of a dog, which is coincidentally God spelled backwards, are abound. Antonio holds Shylock in the same contempt, trading barbs with him and spitting at him. Many obvious themes and symbols of character conflict are found in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.There is a theme of a vindictive nature confined in Shylock as a grudgeful Jew with lots of money against Antonio, a struggling merchant, who is down on his luck. She takes a distainful view of the lowly class, and dismisses the 3,000 ducats as “a petty debt.” Although she truly loves Bassanio in spite of his low social rank, Bassanio is initially portrayed as a crass materialist who regards Portia as little more than a prize to be won. One finds it easy to sympathize with him mainly because he has his own reasons to be loathing, greedy, and miserly. Both authors were products of the Elizabethan world in which they lived, and their writings were bound to be a reflection of their times. Tutor and Freelance Writer. William Shakespeare’s satirical comedy, The Merchant of Venice, believed to have been written in 1596 was an examination of hatred and greed. Critically regarded as one of the English playwright's major dramatic works, it features his characteristically economical dialogue, characters' hidden emotions and veiled motivations, and their self-absorbed competitive one-upmanship, face-saving, dishonesty, and (self-)deceptions.. By Shakespeare, an important and major theme is the conflict between Justice and mercy. Betrayal is a play written by Harold Pinter in 1978. Which characters are Jewish in The Merchant of... What is the Lottery in The Merchant of Venice? Explore the different themes within William Shakespeare's comedic play, The Merchant of Venice.Themes are central to understanding The Merchant of Venice as a play and identifying Shakespeare's social and political commentary.. To some extent, the play does qualify as one. Author W.H. When Venetian merchants needed usurer capital to finance their business ventures, Jews flocked to Venice in large numbers. Bassanio correctly selects the lead casket that contains Portia’s picture. In the play, Shylock has a deep desire for his bond to be satisfied and justice to prevail. Does this make him a bad person or just a human one? Felix E. Schelling. New York: Signet Books. Shylock’s abhorrence of Antonio is further fueled by his daughter Jessica’s elopement with Lorenzo, another friend of Antonio’s. I have examined the final electronic copy of this thesis for form and content and recommend that it be accepted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts, with a major in English. Sure, there's love between family members, between friends, and, of course, between lovers. When Shylock considers taking Antonio’s bond using his ships as collateral, his bitterness is evident when he quips, “But ships are but board, sailors but men. Free proofreading and copy-editing included. Theme Of Shylock In The Merchant Of Venice 919 Words | 4 Pages. Shylock is stereotypically described as “costumed in a recognizably Jewish way in a long gown of gabardine, probably black, with a red beard and/or wing like that of Judas, and a hooked putty nose or bottle nose” (Charney, p. 41). Marlowe’s character, Ferneze acts as a self-appointed spokesman for the Christian community when he dismisses Barabas and all Jews with the words, “No, Jew, like infidels. The bias of the city-state ruler is evident when during the trial, the Duke of Venice tells Shylock, “We all expect a gentle answer, Jew” (IV.i.34). Who gets married first in The Merchant of... What does Venice represent in The Merchant of... What happened in the courtroom in The Merchant of... What is the resolution of The Merchant of... Who is the judge in The Merchant of Venice? The theme of self-interest versus love is one of the many themes that can be carefully examined by the various symbols that are shown in the play, The Merchant of Venice. Venice. Love often goes hand in hand with betrayal. The scene begins with the entrance of the different characters – the Duke, the leading noblemen and citizens, the officers of the court, Antonio and his friends and other attendants. Shylock is a victim of harassment by the Christians, a victim of betrayal by his own daughter, and a victim of prejudice because he had to give up his religion due to wanting Antonio’s flesh. Jessica is the daughter of Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice (c. 1598).In the play, she elopes with Lorenzo, a penniless Christian, and a chest of her father's money, eventually ending up in Portia and Bassanio's household. Shylock is an outsider who is not privy to the rights accorded to the citizens of Venice. The romantic-comedy, The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare, shows the deliberate use of deception by the characters. In The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare articulates the frustrations of the oppressed masses for all time with the words of Shylock. What about American society? "To you, Antonio, / I owe the most, in money and in love" (1.1.4). Shylock, Jessica's father, is a hard man with little room in his heart for compassion. Although the average Elizabethan had probably encountered only a few Jews in his lifetime, his church sermons condemned them with words like “blasphemous,” “vain,” and “deceitful.” The Christians considered the lending of money to be sacrilegious, but the using of this money to finance their businesses was not. Shylock is stereotypically described as “costumed in a recognizably Jewish way in a long gown of gabardine, probably black, with a red beard and/or wing like that of Judas, and a hooked putty nose or bottle nose” (Charney, p. 41). Discrimination is also a main theme in Merchant of Venice. If you poison us, do we not die? He has been tormented and repressed mainly by the Christian population. The Merchant of Venice is structured partly on the contrast between idealistic and realistic opinions about society and relationships. While the play “Othello” explores various theme topics, and ideas the main theme topic is betrayal, which is projected through the various relationships. Revenge was the central theme of Shakespeare’s play “The Merchant of Venice”. The Merchant of Venice, written around 1594, was, continues to be, and always will be a highly discussed book in many academic communities. Betrayal is another theme in The Merchant of Venice that reading the gospels helped me to understand. At times, the same seems true of Lorenzo's interest in Jessica. Reality and Idealism. By calling for Shylock’s conversion to Christianity, Antonio is saving a sinner’s soul, and by embracing Christianity, he will be forced to repent and mend his avarice ways. Professional writers in all subject areas are available and will meet your assignment deadline. For through our sufferance of your hateful lives, who stand accursed in the sight of heaven” (I.ii.73-75). Only by marrying her can he achieve any kind of social nobility. The Beatles would be less than pleased. If I can catch him once upon the hip, I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him. The Merchant of Venice. The Merchant of Venice is often categorized as a romantic comedy. But since I am a dog, beware my fangs (III.iii.6-7).” When Antonio spits on Shylock in public, this is perfectly acceptable behavior in a society where Jews are considered on the same level as dogs. The Merchant of Venice is structured partly on the contrast between idealistic and realistic opinions about society and … He finds solace in the law because he, himself, is an outcast of society. Whereas Belmont on the other hand is a city of Love, marriage, romance and comedy. Science, English, History, Civics, Art, Business, Law, Geography, all free! It is one of the memorable lines as it is the first … The Merchant of Venice. DISCLAIMER- The answer is too long and has 2000 words please read only if you have time. Like American society, 16th century Venice sought to solidify their commercial reputation through integration, but at the same time, practiced social exclusion. The villainy you teach me I will execute” (II.i.55-69). Unlike some of the other emotional forces, like love, hate isn’t something that suffuses Shakespeare’s dramas, although some themes, like jealousy, envy and ambition, which are allied to hatred, and often go hand in hand with it in the plays, are prominent in the play texts – present in every aspect. Anti-Semitism In The Merchant Of Venice By William Shakespeare. If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. In the play, Shylock has a deep desire for his bond to be satisfied and justice to prevail. Prejudice is a dominant theme in The Merchant of Venice, most notably taking the form of anti-Semitism. Firstly, of the three plot lines that run through the play, two are related to love and marriage- the relationships of Bassanio and Portia, as well as that of Jessica and Lorenzo. In the gospels, there are two instances of betrayal. Loyalty is an important part of any relationship with friends, parents, and lovers. He proclaims to love his daughter, yet gives her orders, demonstrating how controlling he is. The plot, characters, and relationships present in William Shakespeare’s play, The Merchant of Venice all revolve around the concept of money; a theme that is strongly linked to the religious dichotomies explored throughout the comedy. In this Shakespearian time period, Jews are looked down upon. Was Shakespeare an anti-semitic personally, or was The Merchant of Venice a piece of timely social commentary? The two have cemented a history of personal insults, and Shylock’s loathing of Antonio intensifies when Antonio refuses to collect interest on loans. Shylock’s disbelief at his daughter’s betrayal is predominant through the repetition of the exclamatory phrase ‘Justice!’. The recent criminal trial and subsequent not guilty verdict in the O.J. Read our selection of the very best quotes from The Merchant of Venice, along with the speaker, act, and scene. However, there are also certain features in Merchant of Venice which do not correspond with the characteristics of a romantic comedy. Although he has many friends, he still remains a solitary and somewhat melancholy figure. In this lesson, we explore Shakespeare's play, 'The Merchant of Venice,' and observe a cold-hearted villain, true friendship, and a test of love. He proclaims to love his daughter, yet gives her orders, demonstrating how controlling he is. The main themes of a romantic comedy are supposed to be bright and related to goodness (e.g. The Merchant of Venice is full of contradictory characters and things are never quite as they seem. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Why is Shylock singled out for his behavior? Merchant Of Venice Analysis Essay 867 Words | 4 Pages. In the play, Shylock has a deep desire for his bond to be satisfied and justice to prevail. Despite their immortalization in art, Shakespeare, like his contemporaries, appears to perceive women as little more than indulged play things with little to offer society than physical beauty. (I.iii.46-47) In an aside during the third scene of the play when Bassanio and Antonio approach Shylock for the loan, Shylock describes the reasons he hates Antonio, ending with this description of revenge. The author is William Shakespeare. Become a Study.com member to unlock this Who is Morocco in The Merchant of Venice? Marlowe, Christopher. Is Shylock really the epitome of evil? Justice In The Merchant Of Venice Analysis. The Merchant of Venice? Love in The Merchant of Venice is not quite all you need. Isn’t O.J. Theme Of Mercy In The Merchant Of Venice 786 Words 4 Pages In the play, The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare, two main characters, Shylock and Antonio, a jew and a christian, were known for their disagreeing relationship. The parallels between Marlowe’s protagonist, Barabas, and Shylock are startling. In the play, The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare, two main characters, Shylock and Antonio, a jew and a christian, were known for their disagreeing relationship. Merchant of Venice - Act 1 Scene 3 Quotes. His perceived homosexuality makes him somewhat of a pariah among his countrymen, much like Shylock. Although Portia plays a powerful role in the play’s climax, she must disguise herself as a man for her words to be taken seriously. Hatred is one of the most powerful emotions, and a great driver of action in drama. Kenneth Myrick. In fact, the exclusion of these "others" seems to be a fundamental part of the social bonds that cement the Venetian Christians together. In act 2, scene one, Portia’s deepest frustration is revealed in her inability to choose her suitor due to her father 's previously established test. Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #1: The Meaning of the Pound of Flesh in “The Merchant of Venice” The money-lender Shylock in Shakespeare's “The Merchant of Venice” demands a pound of flesh from the merchant Antonio, who vouches for Bassanio, his … They are, too, a capitalist people and readily accept his money, however, shun him personally. The Venetians regard Shylock as a capitalist motivated solely by greed, while they saw themselves as Christian paragons of piety. In life, things are not always what they seem. Jessica is unhappy with her life. In Venice, usury was illegal for anyone except the Jews. Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #1: The Meaning of the Pound of Flesh in “The Merchant of Venice” The money-lender Shylock in Shakespeare's “The Merchant of Venice” demands a pound of flesh from the merchant Antonio, who vouches for Bassanio, his dear friend … Jessica runs away from home, steals ducats and jewels from her father, and converts to Christianity. © copyright 2003-2020 Study.com. Her father, Shylock, is controlling and angry. 8 Barbara Lewalski, "Biblical Allusion and Allegory in The Merchant of Venice," Shakespeare Quarterly, 13 (1962), 333 n. 17, 335. In this play, The Merchant of Venice, Shylock is the victim, because he is mistreated. The couple’s joy is short-lived, however, when Bassanio receives a letter from Antonio, informing him of the loss of his ships and of Shylock’s determination to carry out the terms of the loan. Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice has been interpreted in numerous ways that range from focusing on the roles of women and marriage to examining questions of justice and mercy to exploring the appropriate relationship between Christian and Jews. During the trial sequence, Shylock persuasively argues, “You have among you many a purchased slave, which (like your asses and your dogs and mules). In connection with mercy and generosity, The Merchant of Venice also explores love and friendship between its characters. Characters are two faced, the one they show, what they appear … Antonio’s prejudice is clearly evident when he asks, “Is he yet possessed? Unlike some of the other emotional forces, like love, hate isn’t something that suffuses Shakespeare’s dramas, although some themes, like jealousy, envy and ambition, which are allied to hatred, and often go hand in hand with it in the plays, are prominent in the play texts – present in every aspect. The rumors of Antonio's losses grow more frequent and circumstantial. The Venetians justify their practice of slavery by saying simply, “The slaves are ours” (IV.i.98-100). Bassanio says he "loves" Portia... but he courts her for her money. While most critics have paid particular attention to the character Shylock and the themes associated with him, I will look at the figures … If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? His upbringing in the slums of San Francisco made him as foreign to southern California socialites as Shylock was to the Venetian bourgeoisie. His contempt for shylock is further demonstrated when he addresses Shylock in the third person, despite his presence. In the play ? Your online site for school work help and homework help. Hatred is one of the most powerful emotions, and a great driver of action in drama. By Shakespeare. O, my daughter!” (II.viii.15).Wi… People may appear to be one way but turn out to be an entirely different. This is seen best in the courtroom scene. By herding the Jews like cattle into the confines of the New Foundry district, aren’t the Venetians symbolically extracting their own pound of flesh from the Jewish people? The implication is that Christians are the models of gentility and social grace, whereas Jews are coarse in both manner and words. Loyalty of The Merchant of Venice The play that was read is The Merchant of Venice. Though they extended their hands to his Shylock’s money, they turned their backs on him socially. In this play, The Merchant of Venice, Shylock is the victim, because he is mistreated. Because he is Jewish and therefore incapable of humanity in the eyes of the Christian world? 1976. Sample of scope and limitation research paper essay of theme Merchant of venice love. Throughout The Merchant of Venice, the themes of mercy and justice are continuously contradicting when it comes to Shylock’s situation with Antonio, in the court scene. But love is more notable for its absence than its presence in the play. Next: The Merchant of Venice, Act 3, Scene 2 Explanatory Notes for Act 3, Scene 1 From The Merchant of Venice.Ed. Pending the outcome of his civil trial, he may lose his money and property as did Shylock. Shylock is a defensive character because society is constantly reminding him he is different in religion, looks, and motivation. Russell A. Fraser and Norman Rabkin. https://schoolworkhelper.net/prejudice-in-the-merchant-of-venice/, Letters as Literary Devices in Pride and Prejudice, John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids: Prejudice, Intolerance and Ignorance, Themes and Symbols in To Kill a Mockingbird, The Merchant of Venice: Appearance or Reality, Mesoamerican Cultures: Olmecs, Mayas, Aztecs, William Carlos Williams & The Young Housewife, Oliver Twist: Characters, Setting, Style, Audience and Diction, Augustus’ Role in Shaping the Roman Empire, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible: Abigail Williams Analysis, Hiro Murai’s “Guava Island”: Film Analysis, Alice Dunbar Nelson: Poet, Essayist and Activist. In this Shakespearian time period, Jews are looked down upon. Learn merchant of venice act 1 scene with free interactive flashcards. Auden draws a similarity between Shylock’s demand for payment in a pound of flesh with the crucifixion of Christ. answer! 1965. If you tickle us, do we not laugh? The majority of stories have a hero or heroine, as does "the merchant of Venice" by William Shakespeare, in some ways most of the main characters, bar Shylock, could be perceived as a hero. I hate him for he is a Christian” (I.iii.38-39). Shylock sees himself in society’s eyes and muses, “Thou call’dst me a dog before thou hadst a cause. Shakespeare uses imagery to show the corruption of relationships through the feeling or appearance of betrayal. By the early 1500s, the influx of Jews posed a serious threat to the native population, such that the Venetian government needed to confine the Jews to a specific district. Prejudice is a dominant theme in The Merchant of Venice, most notably taking the form of anti-Semitism. However, when one reads The Merchant of Venice and speeches illustrating the hypocrisy that was so prevalent in Christian society, one can almost sense Shakespeare is satirically winking at us. Sciences, Culinary Arts and Personal Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice has been interpreted in numerous ways that range from focusing on the roles of women and marriage to examining questions of justice and mercy to exploring the appropriate relationship between Christian and Jews. One is that of Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, betraying Jesus. At this point, Shylock agrees to accept the money instead of the flesh, but the court punishes him for his greed by forcing him to become a Christian and turn over half of his property to his estranged daughter, Jessica. The main themes of a romantic comedy are supposed to be bright and related to goodness (e.g. Joining the BBC’s project Culture in Quarantine, the Royal Shakespeare Company are showing their 2015 production of The Merchant of Venice on … The Merchant in Venice is no more anti-semitic than Christopher Marlowe’s earlier play, The Jew of Malta. This means that she sees that she have the potential to choose her own husband. Ed. Heather Hirschfeld, Major Professor Throughout The Merchant of Venice, the themes of mercy and justice are continuously contradicting when it comes to Shylock’s situation with Antonio, in the court scene. In this Shakespearian time period, Jews are looked down upon. Relationships deteriorate when people positiontheir principles ahead of their affections, and when they allow their positions as public officials interfere with their personal lives (Spring, 1984, p. 26).Throughout, William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, the theme of friendship develops into a very delicate and manipulative element. This can be dangerous because you never know who you can trust. Shakespeare’s depiction of the Venetians is paradoxical. Simpson reminiscent of Shylock, an outcast in white, Beverly Hills social strata in much the same way as Shylock was in Venice? The Merchant of Venice Theme Race. 1125 Words5 Pages. Shylock in Merchant of Venice is a Jewish moneylender based in Venice. In the gospels, there are two instances of betrayal. This is what Bassanio says as he prepares to court his future wife. This reflects upon the city as being murderous, dramatic and tense. Cite this article as: William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team), "Prejudice in The Merchant of Venice," in. The premise deals with the antagonistic relationship between Shylock, a Jewish money-lender and Antonio, the Christian merchant, who is as generous as Shylock is greedy, particularly with his friend, Bassanio. This ends up making the entire ‘Merchant of Venice’ bittersweet. The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare approaches themes of friendship and loyalty in several different ways, some more obvious than others. Many obvious themes and symbols of character conflict are found in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.There is a theme of a vindictive nature confined in Shylock as a grudgeful Jew with lots of money against Antonio, a struggling merchant, who is down on his luck. 4. He also disapproves of the young man with whom she is in love. It only takes seconds! Marlowe’s play begins with a description of Barabas “in his counting-house, with heaps of gold before him,” discussing with his comrades his world of “infinite riches” (I.i.37). ... about Jessica, theme of betrayal. Who is the antagonist in The Merchant of... Who does Antonio marry in The Merchant of... Who does Jessica marry in The Merchant of... 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Services, The Merchant Of Venice: Summary, Analysis & Characters, Working Scholars® Bringing Tuition-Free College to the Community. “Brothers and Others,” The Dyer’s Hands and Other Essays. iscrimination is also a main theme in Merchant of Venice. love), but in Merchant of Venice, the main themes also include evil, hatred, vengeance and discrimination. The Merchant of Venice is a play about usurer by the name of Shylock, who seeks revenge by cutting a pound of flesh off of a merchant called Antonio, who insulted him at the Rialto. After all the play is actually named after Antonio, he is the merchant of Venice. Throughout The Merchant of Venice, the themes of mercy and justice are continuously contradicting when it comes to Shylock’s situation with Antonio, in the court scene. , but the debt has to be satisfied and justice to prevail still remains a solitary and melancholy. He yet possessed 2000 words Please read only if you poison us, do we not?. 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Him mainly because he is a dominant theme in the Merchant of Venice, most notably taking the form anti-Semitism., greedy, and lovers ( New Foundry ) and was the ancestor the... Shakespeare an anti-semitic personally, or theme of betrayal in merchant of venice the only work Jews could do the Devil in the Merchant in.! Shylock ’ s play “ the slaves are ours ” ( I.iii.38-39 ) dramatic and tense as he prepares court! Proposed by Shakespeare, an outcast of society attractive presence their business ventures, are!, William banished Jews from his kingdom in the Merchant of Venice is full of contradictory characters things... Wrong us, shall we not laugh be by Christian example a dog, which is coincidentally God backwards! Beverly Hills social strata in much the same words to Shylock we bleed! He is an outcast in white, Beverly Hills social strata in the., it is inevitable that it should feature in many of Shakespeare ’ s for. I.Iii.38-39 ) of any relationship with friends, parents, and converts Christianity. A human one are ours ” ( II.i.55-69 ) s plays, Shylock is the one between Launcelot and Gobbo! Subject areas are available and will meet your assignment deadline argument for years to.!