When Venetian merchants needed usurer capital to finance their business ventures, Jews flocked to Venice in large numbers. Jessica runs away from home, steals ducats and jewels from her father, and converts to Christianity. It is known to many as a play but for those who … Russell A. Fraser and Norman Rabkin. Hatred is one of the most powerful emotions, and a great driver of action in drama. Shylock sees himself in society’s eyes and muses, “Thou call’dst me a dog before thou hadst a cause. 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. Justice In The Merchant Of Venice Analysis. The Venetians regard Shylock as a capitalist motivated solely by greed, while they saw themselves as Christian paragons of piety. 8 Barbara Lewalski, "Biblical Allusion and Allegory in The Merchant of Venice," Shakespeare Quarterly, 13 (1962), 333 n. 17, 335. Shylock is an outsider who is not privy to the rights accorded to the citizens of Venice. Launcelot was Shylock’s servant, but he was so unhappy working there because of his master’s behaviour. ... about Jessica, theme of betrayal. answer! Her father, Shylock, is controlling and angry. She reminds Shylock that he can only collect the flesh that the agreement calls for, and that if any blood is shed, his property will be confiscated. 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. In connection with mercy and generosity, The Merchant of Venice also explores love and friendship between its characters. The Merchant of Venice Theme Race. ATTENTION: Please help us feed and educate children by uploading your old homework! 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? Only by marrying her can he achieve any kind of social nobility. III. In connection with mercy and generosity, The Merchant of Venice also explores love and friendship between its characters. Whereas Belmont on the other hand is a city of Love, marriage, romance and comedy. 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. Auden, W.H. 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. In this Shakespearian time period, Jews are looked down upon. Like American society, 16th century Venice sought to solidify their commercial reputation through integration, but at the same time, practiced social exclusion. Her father, Shylock, is controlling and angry. 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. Author W.H. 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. The Merchant in Venice is no more anti-semitic than Christopher Marlowe’s earlier play, The Jew of Malta. The parallels between Marlowe’s protagonist, Barabas, and Shylock are startling. Next: The Merchant of Venice, Act 3, Scene 2 Explanatory Notes for Act 3, Scene 1 From The Merchant of Venice.Ed. Merchants like Antonio lend money free of interest andput themselves at risk for those they love, whereas Shylock agonizesover the loss of his money and is reported to run through the streetscrying, “O, my ducats! The main themes that take place in Venice are hatred, religious intolerance, revenge, greed and prejudice. This can be dangerous because you never know who you can trust. To some extent, the play does qualify as one. The Venetians in The Merchant of Venice almost uniformly express extreme intolerance of Shylock and the other Jews in Venice. In the play, Shylock has a deep desire for his bond to be satisfied and justice to prevail. While the play “Othello” explores various theme topics, and ideas the main theme topic is betrayal, which is projected through the various relationships. But love is more notable for its absence than its presence in the play. This district was called geto nuovo (New Foundry) and was the ancestor of the modern-day ghetto. During the trial sequence, Shylock persuasively argues, “You have among you many a purchased slave, which (like your asses and your dogs and mules). 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 theme of hatred is displayed here, bringing forth an ominous atmosphere. 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. In Venice, usury was illegal for anyone except the Jews. Racial prejudice is also hinted at in The Merchant of Venice. In the comedy, The Merchant of Venice, the roles and responsibilities of women is a significant social issue proposed by Shakespeare. Anti-Semitism In The Merchant Of Venice By William Shakespeare. 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. If you tickle us, do we not laugh? 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. Prejudice is a dominant theme in The Merchant of Venice, most notably taking the form of anti-Semitism. Auden draws a similarity between Shylock’s demand for payment in a pound of flesh with the crucifixion of Christ. The two have cemented a history of personal insults, and Shylock’s loathing of Antonio intensifies when Antonio refuses to collect interest on loans. The Main Themes in "The Merchant of Venice" 2647 Words | 10 Pages “To bait fish withal; if it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge”… is one of many key lines from “The Merchant of Venice” by William Shakespeare. 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). Merchant Of Venice Analysis Essay 867 Words | 4 Pages. All rights reserved. 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. “Hath not a Jew eyes? 1976. His perceived anti-semitism in The Merchant of Venice depicts the Elizabethan perception of Jews, a people who were truly foreign to them in both appearance and demeanor. Merchant Of Venice Theme Analysis 1060 Words | 5 Pages. The author is William Shakespeare. People may appear to be one way but turn out to be an entirely different. The villainy you teach me I will execute” (II.i.55-69). (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. Barabas’ self-serving deception and superficiality are identical to Shylock’s. 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. Marlowe, Christopher. Shylock, Jessica's father, is a hard man with little room in his heart for compassion. Reality and Idealism. Loyalty is an important part of any relationship with friends, parents, and lovers. Antonio is presented as a “good” Christian who ultimately shows mercy on his adversary, the “evil” Jew, Shylock. The Christian characters certainly viewthe matter this way. One finds it easy to sympathize with him mainly because he has his own reasons to be loathing, greedy, and miserly. 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.. In Scene 1, I learnt that the people of Venice valued justice and upheld it in their society. Most of the women in The Merchant of Venice, true to the Elizabethan time period, are little more than an attractive presence. Why is Shylock singled out for his behavior? Three thousand ducats. Portia, though possessing both strength and intelligence, she, too, is inclined to prejudicial judgments. At times, the same seems true of Lorenzo's interest in Jessica. In this Shakespearian time period, Jews are looked down upon. 13 Terms. 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). Over the years, the “pound of flesh” phrase has been interpreted by both scholars and students alike. Discrimination is also a main theme in Merchant of Venice. 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. What is the climax of The Merchant of Venice? It only takes seconds! Although most often associated with a heart of malice, imposture varies in its motives as much as it's practitioners, demonstrated in The Merchant of Venice by the obdurate characters of Shylock and Portia. Shylock regards Antonio as his number one nemesis because of the countless public humiliations he has subjected him to and because Antonio has purposely hindered his business by refusing to collect interest on loans. In the gospels, there are two instances of betrayal. 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. While most critics have paid particular attention to the character Shylock and the themes associated with him, I will look at the figures … Does this make him a bad person or just a human one? For through our sufferance of your hateful lives, who stand accursed in the sight of heaven” (I.ii.73-75). In this Shakespearian time period, Jews are looked down upon. love), but in Merchant of Venice, the main themes also include evil, hatred, vengeance and discrimination. 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. Loyalty of The Merchant of Venice The play that was read is The Merchant of Venice. 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 … I hate him for he is a Christian” (I.iii.38-39). How does Jessica betray Shylock in The Merchant of Venice? Society must restrain the Jew because he is an untamed animal. On the surface, the main difference between the Christiancharacters and Shylock appears to be that the Christian charactersvalue human relationships over business ones, whereas Shylock isonly interested in money. Women seem happy to give love, but they do so with a bit of cynicism. 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. 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. The Beatles would be less than pleased. 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. Theme Of Women In The Merchant Of Venice 823 Words | 4 Pages. In the play, Shylock has a deep desire for his bond to be satisfied and justice to prevail. Reality and Idealism. 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. When Shylock lends money to Antonio, his act of generosity, it was intended to make the hatred disappear in exchange. Images of a dog, which is coincidentally God spelled backwards, are abound. His perceived homosexuality makes him somewhat of a pariah among his countrymen, much like Shylock. Shylock’s abhorrence of Antonio is further fueled by his daughter Jessica’s elopement with Lorenzo, another friend of Antonio’s. His upbringing in the slums of San Francisco made him as foreign to southern California socialites as Shylock was to the Venetian bourgeoisie. Both authors were products of the Elizabethan world in which they lived, and their writings were bound to be a reflection of their times. Drama of the English Renaissance I: The Tutor Period. This ends up making the entire ‘Merchant of Venice’ bittersweet. Bassanio and Portia marry, as do his friend, Gratiano and Portia’s maid, Nerissa. Kenneth Myrick. Felix E. Schelling. Was Shakespeare an anti-semitic personally, or was The Merchant of Venice a piece of timely social commentary? New York: Signet Books. Bassanio wishes to borrow 3,000 ducats from Antonio so that he may journey to Belmont and ask the beautiful and wealthy Portia to marry him. 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. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Edward I banished Jews from his kingdom in the 11th century, however Jewish stereotypes abound in England throughout the Renaissance. This is a very good play with many lessons in it. He is generous to a fault with his friends, especially Bassanio, which lends itself to speculation as to his sexuality. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.  Shakespeare, William. DISCLAIMER- The answer is too long and has 2000 words please read only if you have time. 1965. Article last reviewed: 2019 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2020 | Creative Commons 4.0. Shylock’s loathing of Antonio, he explains simply, “How like a fawning publican he looks! (I.iii.61). This is what Bassanio says as he prepares to court his future wife. iscrimination is also a main theme in Merchant of Venice. Shylock is a defensive character because society is constantly reminding him he is different in religion, looks, and motivation. The theme of revenge is further exploited through the Jessica’s elopement to Solanio. The Venetians justify their practice of slavery by saying simply, “The slaves are ours” (IV.i.98-100). 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). In his mind, his greed and his Judaism are one, and because Shylock lacks his (Antonio’s) Christian sensibilities, he is therefore the reincarnation of the Devil and the embodiment of all that is evil. She also marries Lorenzo, a Christian, and the... Our experts can answer your tough homework and study questions. This will be the fodder for much discussion and argument for years to come. Betrayal is a play written by Harold Pinter in 1978. The implication is that Christians are the models of gentility and social grace, whereas Jews are coarse in both manner and words. He proclaims to love his daughter, yet gives her orders, demonstrating how controlling he is. “Brothers and Others,” The Dyer’s Hands and Other Essays. Quite simply, society teaches by example. In this play, The Merchant of Venice, Shylock is the victim, because he is mistreated. Who is the antagonist in The Merchant of... Who does Antonio marry in The Merchant of... Who does Jessica marry in The Merchant of... Antonio in Merchant of Venice: Character Traits, Analysis & Quotes, Portia in The Merchant of Venice: Character Analysis, Monologue & Quotes, Shakespeare's Shylock: Character Sketch, Analysis & Monologue, As You Like It by Shakespeare: Summary, Analysis & Characters, Bradbury's All Summer in a Day: Summary & Analysis, The Little Match Girl: Characters & Analysis, Hearts and Hands by O. 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Shylock, Jessica's father, is a hard man with little room in his heart for compassion. 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? Conclusion  Was William Shakespeare a bigot? 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. (Click the themes infographic to download.) Antonio’s prejudice is clearly evident when he asks, “Is he yet possessed? 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. Become a Study.com member to unlock this © copyright 2003-2020 Study.com. 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. He proclaims to love his daughter, yet gives her orders, demonstrating how controlling he is. Pending the outcome of his civil trial, he may lose his money and property as did Shylock. The Merchant of Venice is full of contradictory characters and things are never quite as they seem. Three thousand ducats, well. Venice. There must be a distinction between Shakespeare the writer and Shakespeare the man, and while there may be similarities, they should be regarded as two separate entities. This reflects upon the city as being murderous, dramatic and tense. 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. This means that she sees that she have the potential to choose her own husband. Calculation and Betrayal in Shakespeare’sThe Merchant of VeniceandOthello, the Moor of Venice." Simpson case show that racial lines are still carefully drawn. The Merchant of Venice. Betrayal is another theme in The Merchant of Venice that reading the gospels helped me to understand. Besides, racial prejudice is also shown, with the Prince of Morocco as an example. Create your account. Prejudice is a dominant theme in The Merchant of Venice, most notably taking the form of anti-Semitism. 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. Services, The Merchant Of Venice: Summary, Analysis & Characters, Working Scholars® Bringing Tuition-Free College to the Community. 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. They are, too, a capitalist people and readily accept his money, however, shun him personally. By Shakespeare, an important and major theme is the conflict between Justice and mercy. The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare approaches themes of friendship and loyalty in several different ways, some more obvious than others. Because he is Jewish and therefore incapable of humanity in the eyes of the Christian world? 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. In desperation, Portia disguises herself as a lawyer and arrives in Venice with her clerk (Nerissa) to argue the case. Auden wrote, “Christ may substitute himself for man, but the debt has to be paid by death on the cross. Jews are a clear target of discrimination, as we can see in the case of Shylock being discriminated by Antonio, with the latter “spitting on my (his) Jewish gabardine”. In the play, Shylock has a deep desire for his bond to be satisfied and justice to prevail. The recent criminal trial and subsequent not guilty verdict in the O.J. 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 … Sample of scope and limitation research paper essay of theme Merchant of venice love. Calculation and Betrayal in Shakespeare’sThe Merchant of VeniceandOthello, the Moor of Venice." Despite being found not guilty by a jury of his peers, he has been ostracized by this society nevertheless, and in establishments where his money was once accepted, he, now is not. 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. 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. You us in abject and in slavish parts, because you bought them, shall I say to you, let them be free, marry them to your heirs… you will answer, `The slaves are ours,’ — so do I answer you: The pound of flesh (which I demand of him) is dearly bought, ’tis mine and I will have it” (IV.i.90-100). In The Merchant of Venice, Judaism and Christianity aren't just religions – they're constructed as racial (and even national) identities as well. 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. In The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare articulates the frustrations of the oppressed masses for all time with the words of Shylock. He has been tormented and repressed mainly by the Christian population. Article last reviewed: 2019 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2020 | Creative Commons.... Known to many as a capitalist people and readily accept his money and property as Shylock... By William Shakespeare approaches themes of friendship and loyalty in several different ways, some more obvious others... Justify their practice of slavery by saying simply, “ is he yet possessed your deadline! Backwards, are little more than an attractive presence his Shylock ’ s plays their owners... Transferable Credit & Get your Degree, Get access to this video and entire. And face of virtue made a bond couldn ’ t Antonio have uttered same... His act of generosity, the “ pound of flesh from Antonio, with words! Lose his money, however, shun him personally, business, law Geography. Anyone else in the sight of heaven ” ( IV.i.98-100 ) he prepares to court his future.. Capitalist people and readily accept his money, however, there are two instances of betrayal man little! Phrase has been interpreted by both scholars and students alike this play the! Theme Analysis 1060 words | 5 Pages the Dyer ’ s behaviour tickle us do! Too, a servant was not supposed to be paid by death on the cross shown, with she... The characters, Civics, Art, business, law, Geography, free... Most powerful emotions, and in love “ evil ” Jew, Shylock has deep! Argue the case to his Shylock ’ s depiction of the Merchant Venice... 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