The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

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The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

The play revolves around one main plot and three sub-plots. The main

plot centres on the question of mercy and forgiveness as seen in the

relationship between Antonio, the kind Christian, and Shylock, the

unrelenting Jew. The three subplots revolve around the romances of

Portia and Bassanio (the most important couple in the play), of

Lorenzo and Jessica, and of Gratiano and Nerissa (the least important

couple of the play). All four plots are bound by the threads of love,

generosity, friendship, and the wise use of money, which are the

ideals of the Elizabethan society. The plots are also reflective of

one another. Antonio's love for Bassanio is reflected in Bassanio's

love for Portia. The love of Gratiano and Nerissa is modeled after the

love of Portia and Bassanio. Jessica, like Antonio and Bassanio,

recognizes the greed of her father and wants to replace it with

Christian love, which she finds in Lorenzo. The characters are,

therefore, are tied together by friendship and Christianity. In the

end, the play is a romantic comedy that emphasizes the rewards of

love, generosity, and harmony. In the first scene I had some first

impressions of shylock being a villain because he is a person who

cannot forgive and forget, because Antonio looks down at him and spits

at him because he is a Jew and now that he needs his help he tries to

get revenge on Antonio, however you can see why he would do such a

thing from the way he has been treated all his life.

As the play moves on shylock still strikes me as a villain, the reason

being is that he talks to Antonio behind his back, saying what he


... middle of paper ... all if he could save

Antonio. Gratiano wishes his wife were in heaven to plead with the

power there to bring about a change in the Jew. Both Portia and

Nerissa remark that it is fortunate that their two wives are not

present to hear such statements. Shylock berates his absent daughter

for having married a Christian, saying he would have preferred her to

wed a thief.

Although Solarino and Solanio mock Shylock and that we feel sympathy

for the loss of his daughter and he is now portrayed as a victim.

Shylock manages to make himself a villain again. The play is full of

moments when shylock is either seen as a victim or a villain and can

get confusing as to how you judge him. For example when Jessica wants

to leave home and elope with Lorenzo he can be seen as a villain to

make her feel that she wants to move out.