As the play progresses towards the end it becomes clear that Shylock’s selfish, narrow and mechanical values are unfit and unworthy to live by. Eventually Shakespeare has Portia destroy Shylock, thus indicating Christianity as the superior lifestyle. Yet it is not out of anti-Semitism that Shakespeare strips Shylock of his principles, rather it is a conclusion on how life should be lived. Although the Christians in The Merchant of Venice are far from perfect, with their hypocrisy of mercy and extreme materialism, their life is still preferable to the stingy, antisocial, void of emotional connection alternative.
Before Shylock even enters the play, Shakespeare hints at the intolerance of the Christian society through his protagonist Portia. As Por...
... middle of paper ...
...s. Portia expounds extensively on the Christian ideal of mercy, saying, “It is an attribute to God himself,” but ironically exercises none in dolling out Shylock’s punishment; forcing him to convert to Christianity and seizing half his wealth, the Christians show him no pity. True to form, Shakespeare depicts his characters with all their human flaws; they make mistakes. Nevertheless it is the Christians whom he places hope for the future in. Their values and ideals are good and they strive to achieve them. Belmont’s paradise, both unattainable and perfect, represents the harmony and order that they endeavor to. Shylock’s ideals leave one with nothing to live for, while the Christians celebrate and appreciate life and are content.
Shakespeare, William. The Merchant of Venice. Ed. Lawrence Danson. New York: Pearson Education, 2005. Print.
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