William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice presents a battle between love and hate, influenced by money. Written during the 16th Century, Shakespeare depicts an anti-Semitic era through the eyes of both Jews and Christians. Each perspective has it’s struggles, but what stays consistent between them is what makes this play so historical. Throughout this play, it becomes clear that culture affected by love and hatred, under the influence of money, can deliver a powerful message that still speaks to readers today.
Among the many different themes presented in The Merchant of Venice, the most prominent is true love. Shakespeare displays love many magnitudes: the friendship between Antonio and Bassanio, love between Bassanio and Portia, and Shylock’s love of money. Antonio and Bassanio have little money but risk everything for love. Portia lives a lavish lifestyle, but is lonely. Shylock is narcissistic and showers himself in material goods. Richard Harp writes about how great Antonio’s love for Bassanio is, “Even though Antonio’s role in the play diminishes after this first act, his unreserved and risk-filled act of friendship is the model for similar kinds of other passionately virtuous acts, such as those of Bassanio and Portia and Jessica, all of whom, to different degrees (but none to the extent of Antonio), are moved by love to accept great risk in return for great reward.” Shakespeare shows how differently people view love, through the main characters, through Portia’s suitors and her three caskets.
The Prince of Morocco believes true love is found in appearance when he chooses the golden casket. ‘Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.’ The sc...
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...ve half of his goods to his daughter, and to be converted to Christianity. His faith and money are all that matter, and though it seems a merciful outcome to most, to Shylock it is devastating. Love becomes the victor in its battle with hate.
The Merchant of Venice is a battle between true love and hate, influenced by money. This is shown through friendships, Portia’s caskets, and the agreement and outcome between Shylock and Antonio. At every corner Shakespeare shows the influential power of money and that eventually love conquers all. Shylock is given many opportunities to spare Antonio’s life but refuses because he is driven by hatred. Ultimately Shylock’s hatred is his punishment and by it, loses everything he owns. Shakespeare’s message is that through hardships, love is the most powerful side of any story, and when confronted by evil it will always remain true.
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