Beka Lamb and Merchant of Venice

Topics: The Merchant of Venice, Shylock, Portia Pages: 14 (6382 words) Published: May 9, 2009

Beka lamb and the Chrysalids:

Compare and contrast the novels in terms of prejudice and society: The Themes of beka lamb and the chrysalids are very simiiar especially when you look at the role of women in society and social prejudice. In Beka Lamb women are the ones who are seen as the care givers and the ones to take care of the home. The majority of them do not work and even having an education for the lower class is untold or unheard of. In The Chrysalids women are seen as the same and are given most of the punishment when it comes to producing "deviants" Here you see a similarity because in Beka Lamb Toysie is seen as solely responsible for her pregnancy and has to take the social shame as well as being expelled from school. Women in the Chrysalids are given "penances" for producing deviants The Theme of prejudice is explored in Beka Lamb as racial prejudice as she is black and the society looks down on her to be another statistic as many of the other women in society have become. this theme is explored in The Chysalids as all deviants are seen as not human enough to be around other "non deviants" and women who produce deviants are also shown prejudice as society looks apon them as being unable to give birth to normal children. This is seen when aunt Hariot commits sucide because of the number of deviant babies she gave birth to society even her husband looked down on her. So the themes of Beka Lamb and The Chysalids are very closely linked.

Merchant of Venice

Compare and contrast major themes:

Self-Interest Versus Love

On the surface, the main difference between the Christian characters and Shylock appears to be that the Christian characters value human relationships over business ones, whereas Shylock is only interested in money. The Christian characters certainly view the matter this way. Merchants like Antonio lend money free of interest and put themselves at risk for those they love, whereas Shylock agonizes over the loss of his money and is reported to run through the streets crying, “O, my ducats! O, my daughter!” (II.viii.15). With these words, he apparently values his money at least as much as his daughter, suggesting that his greed outweighs his love. However, upon closer inspection, this supposed difference between Christian and Jew breaks down. When we see Shylock in Act III, scene i, he seems more hurt by the fact that his daughter sold a ring that was given to him by his dead wife before they were married than he is by the loss of the ring’s monetary value. Some human relationships do indeed matter to Shylock more than money. Moreover, his insistence that he have a pound of flesh rather than any amount of money shows that his resentment is much stronger than his greed.  

Just as Shylock’s character seems hard to pin down, the Christian characters also present an inconsistent picture. Though Portia and Bassanio come to love one another, Bassanio seeks her hand in the first place because he is monstrously in debt and needs her money. Bassanio even asks Antonio to look at the money he lends Bassanio as an investment, though Antonio insists that he lends him the money solely out of love. In other words, Bassanio is anxious to view his relationship with Antonio as a matter of business rather than of love. Finally, Shylock eloquently argues that Jews are human beings just as Christians are, but Christians such as Antonio hate Jews simply because they are Jews. Thus, while the Christian characters may talk more about mercy, love, and charity, they are not always consistent in how they display these qualities.  

The Divine Quality of Mercy

The conflict between Shylock and the Christian characters comes to a head over the issue of mercy. The other characters acknowledge that the law is on Shylock’s side, but they all expect him to show mercy, which he refuses to do. When, during the trial, Shylock asks Portia what could possibly compel...
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