William Shakespeare 's The Merchant Of Venice Essay

William Shakespeare 's The Merchant Of Venice Essay

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Christine Luo
Ichikawa
Literary Styles, A°
October 13, 2014
The Poison of Pride and Unforgiveness
People who seek vengeance are often driven blindly by flaws within their character. The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare illustrates this underlying attribute. A casual reading of this play may suggest that Shylock’s act of vengeance was what had led to his downfall, yet a closer reading indicates that it was because of his underlying characterial flaw of hubris and the lack of mercy that had led to his ultimate end.
Shylock’s characterial flaws prompt an chain reaction of deprivations, as they ultimately all contribute to his ruination. For instance, Shylock’s lack of mercy deprives him of all Judaism associations, as this lack of support had stood impotent in liberating him of his fall. As Shylock debates whether or not to lend the loan to Antonio, he portrays his hatred towards him, as he states; “I hate him...If I can catch him once upon the hip...Cursed be my tribe / If I forgave him” (I, iii, 12). Shylock seeks revenge for the sole purpose of fulfilling his grudge against Antonio, as he strongly believes that shame would be brought upon Judaism if he ever dares show mercy towards him. Yet the true offense that is brought upon Judaism is Shylock’s unforgiving character. As humans, the desire for revenge after being done wrong is understandable. Yet the matter of whether revenge is a reaction one should act upon on is debatable, as revenge often brings harm back upon the executor, as portrayed by Shylock. Here, acts of vengeance had consequently signified Shylock’s disloyalty and apathy towards Judaism, as injunctions opposing acts of revenge appear in the Jewish Bible. Subsequently, this act of revenge p...


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...t, is met by his ultimate end by valuing his pride more than anything; even his life.
Revenge is manifested by an underlying homogenous mixture of characterial flaws, as these flaws cause one to act rationally rather than through just reasons, ultimately guiding its executor into a plunge. Revenge is a sign of weakness, as one often executes vengeance in order to make themselves feel redoubted. Thus, only people of true strength possess the blessings of forgiveness, as it takes a real person with a true heart to let go. This element of revenge is illustrated in The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare, as Shylock ultimately meets his end as a result of his characterial flaws. While it may seem that Shylock’s vengeance is what left him in ruins, essentially it is because of his excessive pride and absence of mercy that he is greeted by his inevitable end.


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