Love and Money
Love is a dominant theme in Merchant of Venice. It actually is the umbrella of other sub-themes, which are love of friends, love of family and love of lovers. Shakespeare gives more focus to these themes as they are significant and serious issues in life, thus giving his play a universal approach that fits everywhere and when. The irony, however, is that there is no real love shown in these relations. One can notice that love is associated with self-interest or with the love of money, not the others. Shakespeare clearly depicts the theme money and love in the relations between lovers and family members. The first love story we were introduced to is Portia and Bassanio. In Act I, Bassanio tells Antonio that he is in love with a lady in Belmont. Later, we discover that it is not a pure love, but rather a materialistic one. Bassanio says describing Portia: “In Belmont is a lady richly left, and she is fair… Hang on her temples like a golden fleece.” It is clear that he started his description with the fact that she is rich, not fair, that gives us a light on his intentions, which is, money is his priority. Moreover, he goes on telling Antonio that after he marries her, he would be able to settle and pay back all his debts. Actually, Shakespeare was drawing us an image of the Elizabethan age when men used to marry a woman for her money in the first place, and love comes second. After marrying the woman, they own everything she has. This idea is shown clearer in Act 3 when Bassanio chooses the right casket when, then Portia abandon all her possessions to him, she says, “This house, these servants, and this same myself are yours, my lord.” Therefore, when the money is the aim, there would be no sense of a love based on money then. Another love relation is between Lorenzo and Jessica. This relation is a bit different form the previous one in which Jessica is a Jew and Bassanio is a Christian. This suggests that love exists between all people and this...
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