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The Merchant of Venice Critical Essays

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❶Shylock with half of his money, loss of religion, and bound to a renegade daughter.


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The Merchant Of Venice Essay May 31, There are two emotions commonly shown to motivate characters in the Merchant Of Venice, both positively and negatively, namely that of love and hate. These actions are arguably positive or negative. Antonio shares a very special friendship with Bassanio.

He shows a special kind of love towards Bassanio, which leads him to give up all his wealth to his best friend. Go, presently inquire, and so will I, Where money is, and I no question make to have it of my trust or for my sake.

It can be positive in a way that he truly cares about Bassanio and he respects that he is in love with Portia or negative because little does Antonio know, he will be potentially giving up his life for Bassanio. Later in the play another side of Antonio is revealed. Antonio is displayed as a hard cruel man, although a Christian, he displays hatred and contempt towards the Jewish race, usurers and especially towards Shylock. After kicking and spitting upon Shylock, Antonio shows no remorse or sympathy for the man he has abused.

If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not As to thy friends, for when did friendship take A breed for barren metal of his friend? Antonio has reviled and despised this Jew, even humiliating him publicly because of his money lending and usury. Shylock believes that his profiteering is not a sin. This is contrary to the Christian belief, held by Antonio, that money should be lent for charity and not for profit. By his profession and his religion, Shylock is marked as the alien in a happy and fun- loving Venetian society.

His alienation causes his bitterness and his humiliation makes him seek revenge. Antonio becomes the target of that revenge, and Shylock uses the letter of the law to try and exact a pound of flesh from his enemy. His strict interpretation of the law backfires on him, and he winds up losing his wealth and barely saving his life.

He emerges in Act I, scene i as a hopeless depressive, someone who cannot name the source of his melancholy and who, throughout the course of the play, devolves into a self-pitying lump, unable to muster the energy required to defend himself against execution. Antonio never names the cause of his melancholy, but the evidence seems to point to his being in love, despite his denial of this idea in Act I, scene i. Antonio has risked the entirety of his fortune on overseas trading ventures, yet he agrees to guarantee the potentially lethal loan Bassanio secures from Shylock.

Antonio ends the play as happily as he can, restored to wealth even if not delivered into love. After all, he has effectively disabled himself from pursuing his other hobby—abusing Shylock—by insisting that the Jew convert to Christianity. Although a sixteenth-century audience might have seen this demand as merciful, as Shylock is saving himself from eternal damnation by converting, we are less likely to be convinced.

In this context, Antonio proves that the dominant threads of his character are melancholy and cruelty. Antonio is the merchant of Venice, the titular protagonist of the play. He is about forty years of age and has lived his life to the fullest. He is a successful businessman, owning a fleet of trade ships.

Surprisingly, Antonio appears in relatively few scenes of the play, but he is the driving force behind much of the action. Antonio is the model Christian, as defined by Elizabethan society. He represents, among other things, the ideal of nobility in friendship. He is also kind and generous, both to his friends and to the poor of Venice. Although he is now more philosophical, gentle, and quiet, he can still appreciate the frivolous nature of youth, as portrayed by his beloved friend, Bassanio.

Aside from his love for Bassanio, he is unattached. Perhaps his lack of love is the reason for his melancholy. He reflects the medieval attitude that money should be lent for Christian charity.

His noble generosity for his friend, however, leads him to cast aside these principles and to take a loan from the merchant, Shylock.

He borrows money and pledges his flesh as the bond. When his ships are lost at sea, he cannot repay the loan and accepts the fact that he must pay Shylock with a pound of his flesh. Even though she has never met Antonio, she loves him for his generosity to her husband. As the symbol of Christian warmth, kindness, generosity, and love, Antonio truly receives his just reward during the play when all turns out well for him. Why Shylock wants revenge upon Antonio is because Antonio has repeatedly spit upon him and called him a dog.

And now Antonio and Bassanio come asking him for money. Shylock is ridiculed and mistreated because he is Jewish and a moneylender. Money lending and being Jewish were both frowned upon during the time that this play takes place. When talking to Antonio, Shylock recalls all of the slanders and cruel things that Antonio has done to him.

Shylock receives no mercy from Antonio and is forced to give up everything, accept what he detests, and give up his religion. Shylock adamantly describes the ways in which Antonio finds any means possible to mock and hurt Shylock.

Both characters are willing to die for something. On the other hand, the two differ in their ways of lending money. Antonio never benefited from his help to Bassanio, but Antonio risked his life for his closest friend nonetheless.

How many people in the world could do that nowadays? He would let others take his life in order to save his money from being given away. You take my house when you do take the prop that doth sustain my house; you take my life when you do take the means whereby I live Act 4, Scene 2.

Once his money came into the equation, Shylock immediately told the Duke that he would rather die than have his possessions and wealth taken from him. Though the profound love of these two characters was for entirely different things, both were prepared to give their lives up for their love just the same.

Though Antonio and Shylock share certain similarities, including their jobs as money lenders, they also had their differences.

As a Christian, Antonio believed that money should be lent out without interest. This is further seen through his repeated loaning of money to his friend Bassanio even though, time and time again, Bassanio failed to repay him, Antonio never asked anything extra from Bassanio as compensation.

On the other hand, greedy Shylock demanded interest from people whom he loaned money to. He believed that this was simply a business practice intended to make him thrive. Not only did they have divergent business practices, but they also led very different lives.

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- The Merchant Of Venice by William Shakespeare The "Merchant Of Venice" is a poem I have studied recently and will be going on to describe it's four themes - Love/Hate/Friendship and Money. I will go on to describe contrasting characters in the .

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Merchant of Venice literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Merchant of Venice.

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The Merchant Of Venice Essay May 31, There are two emotions commonly shown to motivate characters in the Merchant Of Venice, both positively and negatively, namely that of love and hate. These two emotions motivate characters such as Shylock, who’s actions are motivated by his hate for Antonio, Jessica’s love for Lorenzo and hate for . I. Thesis Statement: One of the major conflicts illustrated in The Merchant of Venice is the struggle of the individual will against the imposed obligations of society. This struggle .

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