A Closer Look at Shylock vs. Antonio

Topics: The Merchant of Venice, Shylock, Portia Pages: 2 (767 words) Published: October 6, 2005
A Closer Look at Shylock vs. Antonio

The play is set in Venice, Italy. During this time, Venice was full of wealth, royal merchants, luxuriously dressed people, and distinguished culture. An example of this description would be Antonio. Even though the society seemed perfect, there was also a downside to them. The play revealed prejudices of a society that practiced the religious persecution of Jews and Christian dignity and the cruel moneymaking and legal side of Venice.

In the play, "Merchant of Venice" a strong rivalry is discovered between Antonio and Shylock. Antonio portrays the good man, a loyal and honest Christian, while Shylock comes off as the villain. Both the people of Venice and the audience hate shylock because they see him as a crafty and untrustworthy Jew. Early on in the play, it is almost as if Antonio could represent the villain because Antonio bullies Shylock. Antonio does this by spitting on him, calling him a dog, and just being abusive towards him all because Shylock is a Jew. "You call me disbeliever, cut throat dog, and spit on my Jewish gaberdine…" (Act 1 Sc3 lines 108-109 ). Later on in the play, you find out that Shylock is the villain and not Antonio. Shylock understandably has never forgiven Antonio of these actions, and as a result, he is very bitter and unpleasant towards him.

The scene at the beginning of the movie displays the rivalry between Antonio and Shylock quite well. This scene gives you a good sense of where the two men stand in regards of each other. Early on, in the movie, it shows when Antonio spits on and harasses Shylock but later on in that scene, it shifts to Bassanio, who is Antonio's best friend. Bassanio needs to borrow 3,000 ducats for three months. Antonio promises Bassanio that he will get the loan even though it is against his beliefs. Shylock agrees to grant Bassasnio the money but not before he gets to speak with Antonio, so then, Bassanio invites Shylock to have dinner...
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