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A Discussion Of The Themes And Characters In "The Merchant Of Venice"

1333 words - 5 pages

"The most important factor in the enduring popularity of Shakespeare's plays in that his drama presents timeless themes and memorable characters that continue to speak to modern audiences."How true is this statement of the Shakespeare play you studied in class?What were the main themes?Were these themes 'timeless'? (must provide examples from the modern day)Who were the main characters?Were they memorable and why?ESSAYShakespeare's play 'The Merchant of Venice' captures timeless theme's of society woven into the story of a wealthy merchant in Venice. The themes can be found throughout the entire play formed mostly between the diverse relationships of the characters. Though the play is set in a different era many of the basic themes of the play still affect the world and are relevant to the modern day reader. The intricate ways Shakespeare has incorporated these themes into his play give the themes a dramatic and timeless feeling, highlighting their importance.The theme of prejudice is woven as a solid theme throughout Shakespeare's play 'The Merchant of Venice'. The theme is accentuated through relationships and interaction between the characters in the play, mainly between the characters of Antonio, the Merchant, and Shylock, the Jewish money lender. Throughout the play the character of Shylock is belittled and undermined with the established profile that he is a Jew. Dialogue often occurs in the play that indicates prejudice towards Shylock for his religious faith implying that the Christian character of Antonio is of higher moral and social value. Throughout the entire play it is implied that Antonio as a Christian is the protagonist, standing for everything good, while Shylock as a Jew is the antagonist, portraying everything evil and is usually unjustly held responsible for the conflicts that occur throughout the play. Antonio bears a biased prejudice towards Shylock merely because he is Jewish, insults him and his faith, spits upon him and abuses his practice of money lending. Shylock however is just attempting to run a business and it is fair therefore that he would be concerned with his money. However in the play what would be caution in a Christian is shown as greed in a Jew. The conflict between the characters of Antonio and Shylock is the main symbolism of prejudice in the form of Anti-Semitism."Signor Antonio, many a time and oft in the Rialto you have rated me about my moneys and my usances. Still have I borne it with a patient shrug, for sufferance is the badge of all our tribe. You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, and spit upon my Jewish gaberdine, and all for use of that which is mine own. Well then, it now appears you need my help...What should I say to you? Should I not say, 'Hath a dog money? Is it possible a cur can lend three thousand ducats?'...Say this: 'Fair sir, you spat on me on Wednesday last, you spurned me such a day, another time you called me dog, and for these courtesies I'll lend you thus much moneys'? (p.83,...

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