Free Merchant of Venice Essays: Secular and Religious Views


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Merchant of Venice - Secular and Religious Views

 

The secular and religious views of both, Antonio and Shylock,  were portrayed very bluntly. The religious opinions of both characters  were that their religion was superior to infidels and also very  stereotypical. In the business world, Antonio owned ships with  valuable goods and was extremely generous. He always relied on their  return to shore and expressed his faith in this book. On the other  hand, Shylock was a greedy man and used the Bible for sources of  interest to collect more money. Relating to religious views Antonio  and Shylock were very parallel, but in means of business the two were  reverses.

       "I[Shylock] hate [Antonio] for he is a Christian. . . [Antonio]  hates our sacred nation." This phrase said by Shylock, a Jew, is based on the beliefs of other Jews upon other Christians. Shylock is  being very stereotypical because Shylock doesn't really know Antonio,  Shylock heard of Jew-hating Christians, so he thinks that all  Christians hate Jews. Antonio happens to be a great man and Shylock  didn't even give him a chance, he just hates Antonio for being of  different religion.

       "The Hebrew[Shylock] will turn Christian; he grows kind."  Antonio says this, thinking that no Jews are kind, emphasizing naiveness. Then Antonio sees the Hebrew, Shylock, becomes amiable, so  he believes that's impossible. So Antonio interprets the scenario as  Shylock being Christianized, because he is becoming  generous. This  quotation shows how Antonio thinks that his religion, Christianity, is  superior to Judaism. The previous quotation illustrated how Shylock  was stereotypical about Christians. Both characters have similar  beliefs about other religions.

       "Why, fear not, man, I will not for felt it! Within these three  months- that's a month before this bond expires-I do expect, return of thrice three times the value of this bond." This phrase was said by  Antonio assuring Shylock that his ship with all his goods will return  with the interest that Antonio owes Shylock for borrowing money. This  shows Antonio's trust in his ship even though there were strong winds  and high chances that his ship will be overturned. Antonio is very  naive about the real world of business and no matter what happens he  thinks he will be successful.

       On the other hand, Shylock is a wise business man, but very  greedy.

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These characteristics are displayed in the following  quotation:

"Mark what Jacob did . . . and in the doing of the deed of kind

 [Laban] struck them up before the fulsome ewes, who then conceiving did in eaning time fullparti-colored lambs, and those were Jacob's.

 This was a way to thrive, and he was blest; and thrift is blessing if

 men steal it not."

 

 When Shylock gave Antonio a loan, he charged him interest justified by  the story in the Bible mentioned before. Shylock compares Antonio to  Laban, both being kind, therefore both must be givers of interest. My view is that Shylock puts himself on the level of Jacob, a  righteous man, showing his egotistical character. His greedy  personality is expressed when Shylock finds sources of interest in a  farfetched manner. In truth, this passage is an act of kindness,  stressing Shylock's characteristic of being narrow minded.

       Antonio and Shylock are very similar people as well as  opposites. Both, as proven in the story, are against the infidels to  their religion and believe that their religion is the superior one. In  terms of business, Antonio is generous, being willing to give thrice the loan, and Shylock is greedy, by asking for three times the loan.  Antonio agrees to the deal, being very naive that his ship will return safely, and Shylock is very clever, but sneaky, in terms of  this deal. While Antonio's perspectives on the secular and religious  world are very naive, Shylock makes judgements based on first  impressions. Antonio and Shylock showing their good qualities, suggest  that men may look perfect, but deep inside, they acquire negative  characteristics.


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