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Merchant of Venice

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The statement ‘Shakespeare is not of an age but for all time’ was penned by his good friend Ben Jonson. Shakespeare’s plays have been studied in the past and will continue to be studied in the future. He is acknowledged for his timeless ideas and themes. William Shakespeare is a renowned poet and playwright; he is well-known for his famous plays and his unprecedented understanding of the human nature. My essay will focus on one of his many plays ‘The Merchant of Venice.’ In this text, Shakespeare explores themes and settings that continue to be prevalent in today’s society such as love, revenge, abhorrence, stereotype and racism. The Merchant of Venice reveals universal truths about human circumstances in a way that we can personally relate to. Whether it is the cruel outcome of the unrelenting desire for greed and revenge, that is revealed, or the passionate pursuit for love. There is harsh stereotyping and prejudice in this text and Shakespeare explores both the good and bad in human nature.
One of the themes in the text explored in the Merchant of Venice is the power of love which was clearly evident between Portia and Bassanio. Bassano’s display of his power of love outweighed any fortune or material wealth. In the text where Bassanio is required to choose a casket, he chose the lead casket that signified “Who chooseth me, must give and hazard all he hath” which attested his love for Portia. In his limitless pursuit for love, Bassanio portrays an eloquent and enduring passion for her that was priceless, timeless, rich and raw. The Merchant of Venice encounters a common love story tainted by sociable affluence, religion and greed. Regardless of Portia’s privileged wealth and Bassanio’s lack of financial and social status their love withstood the test of time and against all odds. Shakespeare’s play encompasses all the different shades of unconditional love we all can relate to, like Bassanio’s determination in professing his love to Portia. In the same token Shakespeare exhibits the many forms of love that are not from one person to another, but instead, a love for a wealth of money, social status and power which is also something we can relate to. These scenarios are still recognised in modern day society, which is why we find ourselves familiarly engaged in the play, regardless of how old it is.

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