Power: Ways to Gain It and Keep It

Topics: The Merchant of Venice, Shylock, Portia Pages: 4 (1617 words) Published: February 27, 2013
Power: Ways to Gain and Maintain It
Power is a way for people control and dominate others; it takes a lot of work to maintain and use effectively. It can take years, or possibly seconds to gain power of others. It all depends on the how you create that power, and who you are using it against. In William Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice most of the characters spend the whole time trying to gain and maintain power. The play is about a Jewish moneylender named Shylock lending money to a merchant, Antonio, for his friend, Bassanio, to travel to Belmont to try and win the heart of the heiress, Portia. Antonio must sign a bond in order to receive the money, because Shylock despises Antonio. The bond states that if Shylock does not get his money at a certain date then Antonio owes him a pound of his flesh. Antonio signs knowing he will have the money and then some from his ships coming in. Things start to go wrong though, when they get wind that Antonio’s ships have been lost at sea. Shylock then demands he gets his bond and takes Antonio to jail. In the trial Shylock is finally starting to believe that he can gain power and take his revenge from Antonio, but in the end Shylock loses due to the wits of Portia. Throughout the play it is a power struggle between all the characters, each tries in their own to gain control over the others. The point is through out this play each of the characters are gaining and losing power, each character has their own way to gain it be it through racism, the law, and the manipulation of others.

Power can be easily manifested through belittling others, and the best way to belittle others is to use racism. In the Merchant of Venice, all of the Venetians are racist against the Jews. Forcing them to live in a ghetto with a curfew, casting them away on their own island creates distance between the two races, treating the Jews like outsiders. The Venetians treat the Jewish with complete disrespect, “You call me misbeliever,...
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