The Merchant of Venice

Topics: The Merchant of Venice, Shylock, Portia Pages: 2 (830 words) Published: August 25, 2013
The Merchant of Venice- Essay
Question: How were love and hatred explored throughout The Merchant of Venice?

The major themes communicated throughout The Merchant of Venice are love and hatred which are portrayed by the four main characters including Shylock, Antonio, Bassanio and Portia. These themes are further conveyed through characterisation, development of plot, language use, specifically the use of soliloquy and blank verse. Shylock as a moneylender, seems to be presented as greedy, for charging interest and Antonio to have been antisemitic (hatred/discrimination against Jews). Shylock persuasively says “You spet upon my Jewish gabardine.” All the years of mistreatment towards Shylock by Antonio; all the insults, humiliation and mockery have piled up and resulted in the development of Shylock’s hatred and want for revenge towards Antonio. The law is being used by Shylock in order to carry out acts of hatred towards Antonio because of the sheer antisemitic treatment he receives. Shylock demands a pound of flesh from Antonio, not wanting anything else. “An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven. Shall I lay perjury upon my soul? No, not for Venice.” It is evident that Shylock is refusing triple the amount of money he lent Antonio in the beginning. This is because Shylock seeks revenge to Antonio from the previous years. This is shylock’s strategy which captivates the audience. Portia travels to Venice, manipulating and reinforcing the law by disguising as a man and turning Shylock’s case against him in order to help her husband’s bestfriend, Antonio. Portia states “The words expressly are “a pound of flesh.” Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh, but in the cutting it if thou dost shed one drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods are by the laws of Venice confiscate unto the state of Venice.” Portia reinforces the fact that you can enforce the law, but you may not always receive justice. Portia shows no mercy towards Shylock. This shows...
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