Merchant of Venice theme paper

Topics: The Merchant of Venice, Usury, Portia Pages: 2 (581 words) Published: April 23, 2015
Brian Talley
British Literature
Theme paper for Merchant of Venice
October 29, 2014

A theme is an underlying idea the author hopes to communicate in his/her story. Sometimes a theme is also another way an author can leave a message for his or her readers to think about. In the Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare added themes of prejudice, love versus greed, and mercy versus revenge and justice.

Prejudice was one of the key themes in this story. The Merchant of Venice shows the religious discrimination between Christians and Jews. Most of the people in Venice were Christian with a small amount of people that were Jewish. Christians, like Antonio, would degrade and shame them just for their different religion and ways of life. Hence the reason why Antonio called Shylock a dog and spat on his gaberdine whenever he saw him. In act 1, scene 3, lines 95-95, Shylock said “You call me a misbeliever, cut-throat dog, And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine, And all for use of that which is mine own”. Antonio did these things toward Shylock because he was a Jew. Christians acted this way towards Jews also because they were usurers. If Antonio would loan money, he would not charge any interest on the money. Shylock, on the other hand, would charge interest on each loan they would give. Shylock hated Antonio for all the things he called him or did to him to insult him. This made Shylock want revenge on Antonio which will be examined later.

The next theme in the Merchant of Venice is love versus greed. Shylock’s daughter left him because he was a greedy Jew who was a usurer. When Jessica was leaving her father to go away with Lorenzo; Jessica took a chest filled with gold and money. After Shylock found out she ran away, Salarino said Shylock went through the streets saying: “My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter! Fled with a Christian! O my Christian ducats! Justice! the law! my ducats, and my daughter!... And jewels, two stones, too rich and precious stones, stolen by my...
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