Themes In Merchant Of Venice

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William Shakespeare printed the Merchant of Venice in 1590, it can be said to be one of his most contentious dramas ever written. The Merchant of Venice is an Elizabethan comedy play. The play was based in Venice, which is located in northern Italy. Venice in these days was known for its “wealth, political wisdom, impartial justice and liberalism (Halio, 2000,p.23). This essay will discuss the following themes Usury, Male Friendship, Marriage (in reference to the role of the woman), Mercy and Justice and Judaism. Usury can be defined as “lending money” that will be paid back with “interest” (Halio, 2000, p.115). The method was highly debated upon years prior to and after the Merchant of Venice by many prominent theologians. Usury can be…show more content…
It can be seen when Antonio at the end of the play said he was happy to die because it proved his love. In the Renaissance age male friendship could be said to be the “highest form of social relationship” even ‘overpowering marriage between a men and woman’ (Halio, 2000,p.69). Male friendships in this century can be said to thrive on “virtue and selflessness” and also that friend ‘being willing to give up his life for you’ (Kaplan, 2002. P.315). Many modern day critics are said to argue that the male friendship relationship between Antonio and Bassanio is ‘homosexual on Antonio’s behalf’ because he was willing to suffer consequences if the loan was not repaid (Halio,…show more content…
Women in the Renaissance could be said to mainly be seen not heard, they were suppose to obey their husbands and not disagree with what he told her, if she did not follow the rules she could have been “subjected to discipline that could include a beating or worse” (Halio, 2000,p.93). These rules still applied if the woman was the one who had the money. Men were superior to women and that can be said was the reason for Portia disguised herself as a man to save Antonio, she saw her new husband in pain and how that could inferior with their marriage. Portia can be argued to be a very daring Renaissance woman she was educated and she risked getting caught when she disguised herself. Women were not allowed to high status jobs if allowed to have a job at all. In this time it could be argued that many women did not have a say in who they married, if the marriage was not arranged by parents they were giving advice on the man that their daughter chose, even if the father is deceased it could affect the inheritance. This can be seen with Portia even though her father was deceased he still fuelled how her husband would be chosen. Her future husband had to chose the right casket in order to be able to marry her, even though in the beginning she expressed that she was not for this method at first it could be said that she
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