Merchant Of Venice - Antonio And Shylock

  • Length: 808 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

William Shakespeare shows how two tradesmen can have completely different lives when others view them differently in the play The Merchant of Venice. In the play, Bassanio, Antonio’s friend, needs money to pursue his love. They seek a loan from Shylock, a Jewish moneylender in Antonio’s name. The contract is for three times the value of the bond in three months or else Shylock cuts off a pound of flesh from Antonio. While all this is happening, there are love plots going on. One of which is for Shylock’s daughter to elope with Lorenzo, a Christian. Later on, Antonio’s source of money, his ship, is reported sunken in the English Channel, dooming him to the loss of one pound of his flesh. There is a trial on the bond, and when it seems sure that Antonio will die, Portia, disguised as a doctor of laws legally gets Antonio out of the situation and Shylock recieves harsh penalties. Antonio and Shylock, two similar businessmen of Venice, are viewed differently and are treated oppositely to heighten the drama of the play and mold a more interesting plot.

Antonio and Shylock are both successful entrepreneurs in Venice but they both have different attitudes and experiences. When Antonio is asking Shylock for the loan he says, “Within these two months – that’s a month before this bond expires – I do expect, return of thrice times the value of this bond.” (1.3.169-170). Antonio and Shylock both are well off and successful businessmen. Antonio, being a man who is treats everyone nicely, lends his good name to Bassanio to woo Portia. Shylock on the other hand, could never do that and is a very greedy man who asks for three times the value of the loan. Also, Antonio is a risk taker and thinks things will always go the right way for him and his success will continue, which is shown when he accepts the high interest rate and the bizarre payment if the money isn’t received. Shylock handles his business straightforward and charges interest because it is his job, although being a very high amount and if it isn’t carried out, Shylock gets his payment of one pound of flesh. Shylock is depicted as the greedy businessman while Antonio is the nice man who tries his luck.

Another way Antonio and Shylock are different is their religion based social status: Antonio is a Christian and Shylock is a Jew.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Merchant Of Venice - Antonio And Shylock." 23 Apr 2018
Title Length Color Rating  
The Presentation of Shylock and Antonio as Conflicting Opposites in The Merchant of Venice - The Presentation of Shylock and Antonio as Conflicting Opposites in The Merchant of Venice Shakespeare personifies the juxtaposed themes of this play; justice and mercy, forgiveness and revenge. He contrasts characters of Shylock and Antonio to represent these key ideas. Shakespeare’s character representations of these themes certify that they are constantly played out against each other throughout the play. The play presents anti-semitic ideas, depicting Shylock, a Jew, as evil and Antonio, a Christian, as good....   [tags: Merchant of Venice Essays] 1119 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare - William Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice is a story about man seeking justice for the forfeiture of his bond. Shylock the Jew created a bond loaning three thousand ducats to his rival Antonio. In the event that the loan could not be paid back, Shylock was entitled to a “pound of flesh from the breast” of Antonio. Antonio’s invested the money in his merchant ships hoping to gain profit. Unfortunately he loses his ships at sea, losing everything Shylock had loaned him. Shylock happily takes Antonio to court in hopes of receiving that pound of flesh as a result of the forfeiture of his bond....   [tags: shylock, justice, antonio]
:: 1 Works Cited
841 words
(2.4 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay about The Doomed Antonio of The Merchant of Venice - The Doomed Antonio of The Merchant of Venice        The secondary characters of The Merchant of Venice (Shylock, Portia and Bassanio) are so intriguing and so vocal, that the central figure, the merchant Antonio, is often largely ignored. This neglect is perfectly appropriate to the play's theme and the protagonist's struggle, for Antonio is an outsider. The play's theme is marriage and Antonio is both a stranger to the world of marriage, for he has no desire to partake of it, and he is an enemy to marriage, for it steals his one true love, Bassanio....   [tags: Merchant of Venice Essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
2316 words
(6.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on The Character of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice - The Character of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice Victim or villain. These two words are the total opposites of each other. A victim is someone that 'we' in general should, or may, feel sorry for and attempt to sympathise or empathise with. But a villain is the one person that people love to hate. The best example of this I feel is pantomime. The victims or heroes are clear-cut and the audience willingly cheers them. But as soon as the villain walks on stage he is hissed and booed, unfortunately it is not as simple as this in 'The Merchant of Venice' and how the audience react to the characters is all important in making the distinction between victim or vill...   [tags: Merchant of Venice Essays] 3195 words
(9.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Essay - Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice The play was "A merchant of Venice" was written in 1599, in Elizabethan times. Shakespeare's main two sources for writing the play were two folk tales woven together. One involving a marriage suitors choice among three chests and therefore winning here hand in marriage. The other as based on a greedy creditor trying to extract a pound of flesh from a man. A contemporary play written by Christopher Marlowe gave Shakespeare the inspiration for the character of Shylock....   [tags: Free Merchant of Venice Essays] 918 words
(2.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Shylock as a Villian or Victim in The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare - Shylock as a Villian or Victim in The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare The Merchant Of Venice is the story of Antonio, a merchant, borrowing money from Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, in order to fund his best friend Bassanio’s romantic ambitions. Like the majority of the habitants of Venice, Antonio is Christian. At the time of the play, the sixteenth century, there was a huge abhorrence against those who were not Christian. As Antonio needed money quickly he had no alternative to borrowing from Shylock; Jewish moneylenders made profit from charging interests....   [tags: Merchant of Venice Essays] 1511 words
(4.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Perspectives on Shylock from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice Essay - Shylock is a character famously known as being the antagonist of Shakespeare’s play merchant of Venice. In this play, Shakespeare portrayal of Shylock the moneylender is one of anti-Semitic stereotype. Shylock is depicted as a typical bloodthirsty Jew who lives a life void of any depth or meaning. His sole purpose for living seems to be to amass wealth and vengeance as seen from his adamant claim for his “pound of flesh”. Despite Shakespeare’s attempts to humanize Shylock at points in the story, it appears that his primary focus is to steer the audience against Shylock, painting him as being a cruel, bitter and inaffable figure....   [tags: Merchant of Venice Essays] 892 words
(2.5 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Portrayal of Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice - The Portrayal of Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice In the 16th century Jews were discriminated against especially in England and Venice. Christians believed that the Jewish race was inferior to them and that Jews should not be accepted into their society. There were very few Jews in England in this period this was mainly due to the fact that Edward had been lent money by several Jewish money lenders, he became unable to repay the money he owed them, and as a result sent them into exile....   [tags: Free Merchant of Venice Essays] 961 words
(2.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Is Shylock Victim Or Villain in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice - Is Shylock Victim Or Villain in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice William Shakespeare wrote the Merchant of Venice in the Elizabethan period. The play is about Shylock, a Jewish money lender¡: trying to make a living and survive in a community that despises him and marginalia's him. Before the plot even starts, Shylock is condemned for being a Jew, and a moneylender. Jews were forbidden to be successful businessmen in Venice, so the only occupation open to him was money lending which they exploited to the full, this gave Shakespeare an opportunity to capture sympathy and understanding from the reader towards Shylock....   [tags: Merchant of Venice Essays] 775 words
(2.2 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Free Merchant of Venice Essays: The Villainous Shylock - Many people are villainous in the way they act, and their villainous acts may be rooted in the desire to destroy others, or in the hopes of elevating themselves. Many people may only act "villainous" in reaction to the way they have been treated in the past. Shylock the Jew is the villain or antagonist in the play The Merchant of Venice. Shylock mistreats Antonio the Christian, his daughter, Jessica and Launcelot.   The first person Shylock mistreats, is Launcelot. He mistreats this servant by complaining behind Launcelot's back of his laziness....   [tags: Merchant Venice Essays] 685 words
(2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]

Related Searches

When Antonio walks into the room, Shylock greets him with, “I hate him for he is a Christian . . . I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.”(1.3.42&47) Shylock doesn’t even give Antonio a chance to bond with him and already hates him even though Antonio is a respectable businessman who has ties around the world. Shylock is placed in a constant Christian hating mood just because he is Jewish and it whenever something bad happens, its due to a Christian, from his daughter running away or all his assets being taken away. This is justified by the way Christians act toward him but he still shouldn’t stereotype everyone in the city he is in. Antonio is a Christian, which means he will automatically fit in with the city and have everything go his way. Shakespeare uses the contrast between the religions of the two to show how much it can change a life in Venice.

The main way Antonio and Shylock are contrasted is their relationship to others. When Antonio wins the trail, he wants to change the sentence so that his assets will go to Jessica and Lorenzo in his will and that “He [Shylock] presently becomes a Christian.” (4.1.403) Although both going follow through with the words of the bond, Antonio comes out the victor because everyone is on Antonio’s side and all else is against the Jew. Everyone hates Shylock just for his religion, making him a bitter man who always is out of luck. Shakespeare makes Shylock’s situation worse because he has no friends in the play. The closest thing Shylock has to a friend is his daughter Jessica, who betrays him for a Christian and even his servant leaves him. Antonio has all the friends and good relationships in the play who come out and help him just like he would help them. It is so unfair for Shylock that he actually loses his own trail even though he is the prosecution.

Shakespeare contrasts two men who could be socially equal and make them turn out and act differently. Naturally, the Jew gets social short straw in the story. Although the anti-Semitism seems wrong to a 21st century audience, it is perfectly fine for the Elizabethan audience who views Shylock’s bad luck somewhat as comic relief. While it seems like Shylock might come out the victor in the story, he just loses even more and more in the end.

Return to