Analysis of The Merchant of Venice
Short plot summary.
The film is about the jewish businessman Shylock who lived during the 1500’s. The wealthy prince Antonio wants to borrow money with reason to help his friend Bassanio. Antonio invested all his money on merchant ship’s. But, Antonio’s plan failed – the merchant ship’s were wrecked and now he didn’t have the money to re-pay Shylock. When Shylock didn’t receive his money, he and Antonio both agreed that Shylock would receive a pound of flesh from Antonio’s body. The married couple Bassanio and Portia, are friends with Antonio and they realized they had to help him. Portia offered Shylock triple the amount of what the money was really worth. Shylock rejected the offer but Portia had a plan to solve the dilemma – Disguise as a male judge to save her friend and also be more extreme by making Shylock worthless. Analysis.
In the movie there are several motives such as good vs. evil, kindness and cruelty, religion dilemmas (Christian vs. Jew), tragedy etc. These opposites are all common with Shakespeare’s writings. Among the main character’s, Antonio is the one who is unselfish because he wants to help his friend, he represents goodness. Shylock isn’t actually the “evil-one”, he’s more of a vindictive individual because he lives in a society full of anti-Semitism and with a daughter who left him for a Christian man. I think Shylock has full right to receive a pound of flesh from Antonio’s body because both parties signed a contract (they both agreed on this) The movie is also about destiny and power. Whatever happened to the merchant ships is nothing Antonio, or any other human, can do about it. When Antonio borrows money of Shylock, he gives the Jewish businessman all the power. During the final scene when they’re all gathered in court, Shakespeare clearly shows he wants to maintain the Christian morality and make Shylock “clean” by converting to Christianity. Because Shylock is a Jew, he’s featured as an evil...
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