Differences Between Il Pecorne and a Merchant of Venice

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The similarities between Ser Giovanni's Il Pecorone and William Shakespeare's A Merchant of Venice are blatantly obvious. The stories seem to be essentially the same with few differences between them. It appears that Shakespeare just added dialogue to an existing tale, not having created the plot himself. This simply is not the case. While there are many recognizable similarities between Il Pecorone and A Merchant of Venice there are significant differences between Shakespeare's character of Bassanio and Giovanni's character Giannetto.

The differences begin with who each character is and their role in the plot. Giannetto is a man originally from Florence who is left by his father with no inheritance. Instead, his father wishes for him to go and live with his wealthy merchant godfather, Ansaldo, who lives in Venice. Bassanio is a gentleman of Venice and is a close friend of Antonio, a rich merchant as well. The bond between them is so close it has been suggested that they were possible lovers.

Then next difference between these men is in their actions. Giannetto becomes very well respected within the community and extremely popular in Venice. After setting sail on an excursion with his friends, Giannetto tries his luck at courting a very wealthy widow. He fails the required test and loses all the possessions he had brought with him, a great deal of wealth. He returns home to Venice and lies about how he lost Ansaldo's fortune, that his ship had got caught in some wind and hit some rocks. He continues these lies and returns to the port of the Lady of Belmonte twice more.

Bassanio on the other hand is honest and genuine in his relationship with Antonio. He outright tells Antonio why he needs the money and is upfront about everything. He also needs money to make his way to Belmont in order to try and wed the fair Portia. He has previously met the lady on an earlier voyage and seeks to return to her. He actually cars for this woman compared to Giannetto who...
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