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William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice

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William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice

The play centres on two main characters, Antonio, an extremely wealthy
merchant and Shylock, a very wealthy Jew. In Venice, a person's word
was their bond. A promise made by word of mouth was the same as having
an agreement in writing; they had to keep their word or pay the

Shylock is a usurer, a person who lends sums of money to others,
charging vast amounts of interest. However, Antonio also lends amounts
of money, but minus the interest. This is one of the main reasons why
Shylock hates Antonio, as Antonio is supposedly causing Shylock's
profits to drop. Shylock also hates Antonio for the differences in
their lifestyles and religions.

Shylock has agreed to lend a sum of money to Antonio. As part of the
agreement, Shylock insists that if his money is not returned within a
designated period of time, with the added interest, he would be
entitled to cut exactly one pound of flesh from Antonio's body.

It is this bond between Shylock and Antonio that results...

... middle of paper ...

...kespeare successfully combines elements of comedy, irony, sadness,
horror and justice in "The Merchant of Venice" to produce a play full
of dry humour and thought provoking storylines. Many aspects of the
plot such as the discrimination of Jews are regretfully still in place
in today's society. Throughout the play there was also the reoccurring
image of the scapegoat. Both men fit this description, with Shylock
clearly the social outcast, driven out of society and Antonio
represents the goat about to be sacrificed.

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