Merchant of Venice Themes

Topics: The Merchant of Venice, Shylock, Portia Pages: 3 (1103 words) Published: June 17, 2013
Despite its age Shakespeare’s play has some very important things to say about human nature. -------------------------------------------------
Do you agree?

Shakespeare’s ‘Merchant of Venice’ explores several important universal themes which are common concerns for all human beings. These concepts include an exploration of Revenge and the importance of mercy combined with justice and what makes a loyal and faithful love. One of the most important ideas in the play is the destructiveness of hatred and revenge. Antonio has treated Shylock quite cruelly in the past and is victimised by Shylock for this cruel treatment. Shylock hates Antonio for two other reasons “I hate him because he’s a Christian; But more for that in low simplicity He lends out rubbish gratis.” Shylock says he will use Antonio’s pound of flesh for fish bait because of all Antonio’s done to him like insulted his race and made fun of him. He explains that although he is a Jew, he should still be treated as any other. He says that even Jews, if treated poorly will seek revenge- just like any other. “Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?” Shakespeare also examines what people need to be faithful lovers. He implies that people need to be honest, loyal and selfless. When the prince of Morocco chose the gold casket which said “Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.” The prince of Morocco chooses this casket purely because he wants Portia and all her money. When he opens the casket, he is surprised to see a skull symbolising that he is cold hearted, selfish and that many men desire death. The prince of Aragon chooses the Silver casket with the words “Who...
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