Background And Influence: Merchant Of Venice

1959 words - 8 pages

In England, during the lifetime of William Shakespeare, oppression was occurring against people of different races, ethnicities, and even genders. The religious conflicts stemmed from the differing translations of G-d's word. This created conflicts and segregation by religion, turning some people into aliens in their own country. The battles existed between Catholics, Jews, and Protestants although, for the majority of the time, the Protestants pitted the Jews and Catholics on the same side, against themselves. In The Merchant of Venice, a play that was later dubbed a comedy, tragedy was just as evident. I believe that the tragedy of the play was the reality of the situation the play encompassed.

It cannot be a coincidence that there is such a parallel of situations that Shakespeare wrote about. The concept of a Jew being placed into the same circumstances that the Protestants were putting the Catholics into at the same time is obviously analogous of the oppression of the Catholics post-Reformation. The fact that during the estimated time that the play was produced there was a religious persecution ongoing in England is what I believe to be the tragedy of this play.

Roughly the time that Queen Elizabeth I's reign was coming to an end, Catholics were viewed as aliens. The reasons behind the separation and persecution of Jews, Protestants and Catholics respectively, were consequent of the theological differences between each religion. The Reformation led to a Protestant-England in the late fifteen-hundreds, when the play was written. Henry VIII transformed the throne, establishing the Protestant Church of England as the nation's church. After Henry, Edward VI reaffirmed the Reformation. Then after a brief period, post-Edward VI, Queen Elizabeth reinstituted the Protestant Church of England as the nation's church. However, many Catholic citizens still resided in the country, but were forced to conform and convert to Anglicanism. This notion of Catholics being aliens in a country that had for a long duration, been established as a nation under the Catholic Church, awakened suppressed bitterness that had been caused by both peoples' past sufferings. The reality that people were physically maltreating other people of a different spiritual background was a legitimate reason for Shakespeare to foundation for this analogous play.

Shakespeare created this production to give insight to people on just what was going on in England at the time. He positioned the audience in the shoes of Shylock, a usurious Jew who had been antagonized because of the label put on him by people of a different religion by conveying the circumstances that made him who he is in the play. Shakespeare even went so far as to give a brief insight into stereotyping as it existed during his era. When the dark-skinned Prince of Morocco is making his way to Belmont she ridicules his complexion and labels him what she deems appropriate. In regards to the prince's arrival "If...

Find Another Essay On Background and Influence: Merchant of Venice

Merchant of Venice Essay

1806 words - 8 pages Defeating the enemy, light-heartedness, and a happy ending for the lovers are all elements in a comedic play. William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice shows that love conquers all and that you can always defeat the enemy. Even if a pound of flesh is the difference between life and death, or if one wrong person chooses the casket that decides your fate. For example, The Merchant of Venice, Antonio, not only survives the fate of having a

"The Merchant of Venice" Essay

1844 words - 7 pages English Coursework: The Merchant of VeniceThe "merchant of Venice" is a multifarious play with many levels of interpretation. Telling the story of a Jewish merchant living in the predominately Christian capital of Venice, it can be seen as a play about persecution, justice and of social cruelty. The "merchant of Venice" is representatively driven by the same set arguments of racial and religious prejudice that existed in Shakespearean society.In

The Merchant of Venice

521 words - 2 pages The Merchant Of VeniceAct 1In the fist act, Antonio is introduced as the Merchant of Venice. A friend of him, Bassanio, desperately needs money because all of his money is on his ships and he wants to go to Belmont to visit the woman of his dreams, Portia. Therefore he goes to Antonio to ask if he is willing to go to Shylock and ask him if he can have 3000 ducats. Antonio agrees and goes to Shylock and explains that he has to pay it back within

The Merchant of Venice

1139 words - 5 pages The Merchant of Venice is a play written by William Shakespeare in 1596 and finished writing it in 1598. The play starts off with Bassanio wanting to marry Portia. He confronts Antonio to ask him for a loan so he can have enough money to marry his soon to be wife. Antonio finds he doesn’t have enough money to give Bassanio the loan so he agrees to be the person to guarantee the loan. The two of them find Shylock to give him the loan. Portia then

Merchant of Venice

1342 words - 5 pages Mercy v. Justice – Old Testament v. New Testament While the conflict between justice and mercy plays a key role in determining the outcome of The Merchant of Venice, this conflict is even more important because it provides a setting for the contrast between the rigid law and rules of the Old Testament and the concepts of mercy and forgiveness as taught by Christ in the New Testament. It is in the climactic trial scene that The Duke, hoping

The Merchant of Venice

2976 words - 12 pages The Merchant of Venice is shows the dynamics of love and to what extent humans will go to show love, they will use their wealth and even be prepared to give up their life for the people they love. Both Antonio and Portia love Bassanio differently. Portia perceives Antonio’s phileo in competition with her eros, (both forms of love will be defined later) and throughout the play she is seen trying to defeat Antonio’s phileo and she does this by

Merchant of venice 2

1630 words - 7 pages latter plays, The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare attempts to portray the evil expressed by an individual who develops this way both because of the persecution he is faced with and the insufficient virtues he is given.Few of Shakespeare's characters embody pure evil like The Merchant of Venice's Shylock. Shylock is a usurer and a malevolent, blood-thirsty old man consumed with plotting the downfall of his enemies. He is a malignant, vengeful

The Merchant Of Venice

756 words - 3 pages Appearances and Decisions ''Don't judge a book by its cover'' is a famous phrase everyone has heard. In the play, The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare clearly states that outer appearances aren't important throughout many scenes in the play. The inner qualities such as honesty, charity, and kindness are more important. Portia, a beautiful woman, hopes to find a husband ,but she must fulfill her father's will. He designs a lottery

Merchant of venice

1138 words - 5 pages ​ In The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare, women were suppressed by the societal ideals of the Elizabethan era. In this play, the female characters Jessica and Portia stray away from the expected stereotypical passive role of women in society, and show rather dominant and powerful traits that men were expected to have. Portia, the heroine of this play is bound to a lottery set up in her father's will, which gives male suitors the chance

The Merchant of Venice

2425 words - 10 pages The Merchant of Venice The Merchant of Venice was written in 1598 by William Shakespeare. The story is set in Elizabethan times, which was the sixteenth century. People back then were quite prejudiced towards any race that was not Christian. They would have hated Jews. When Shylock would come onto the stage, the audience would have just booed him back off. The Christians had their reasons for hating the Jews. The fact that they supposedly

Merchant of Venice and Twelth Night - enlish - compare and contrast

1395 words - 6 pages Merchant of Venice and Twelfth Night. The central issue that is featured in the two plays is that money plays a key role in the society and owning it is associated with some form of class. William Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice and Twelfth Night are two plays that portray money, wealth, and material needs not only create class but are also key in understanding happiness in the society. A key feature that is noted from both is that money and the

Similar Essays

Merchant Of Venice Historic Background 7 St.Francis De Sa Les Interantional School Essay

1171 words - 5 pages " is the Spanish word for wolf. A wolf is a type of dog and throughout the book we read of Shakespeare referring to the Jews as dogs. Once again the Elizabethans would not have seen anything wrong with this, for that was how they referred to the Jews themselves.? The Merchant of?Venice?? Background Information ? ? The Queen: The Merchant of Venice was written between1596 and1600. At this point Queen Elizabeth I is queen ??????????The first real

The Merchant Of Venice Essay 1209 Words

1209 words - 5 pages Comparison and Contrast of Shylock and Claudius Introduction This essay looks into the lives of Shylock and Antonio. These are two of Shakespearean antagonists of all time. They are alike in more ways than one. Shylock in Merchant of Venice is a Jewish moneylender based in Venice. He has been tormented and repressed mainly by the Christian population. One finds it easy to sympathize with him mainly because he has his own reasons to be loathing

Merchant Of Venice Essay

1089 words - 5 pages The Merchant of Venice written by William Shakespeare takes place in Italy in the late 1500s. The play focuses on 4 main characters: Antonio, Bassanio, Shylock and Portia. Antonio is a Venetian merchant who is in love with his best friend. Bassanio is the best friend of Antonio and the husband of Portia. Shylock is a Jewish moneylender and is hated by the people of Venice due to his religion. Lastly, there is Portia, wealth woman from Belmont

The Merchant Of Venice Essay 1524 Words

1524 words - 7 pages In the city of Venice, tension arises between a moneylender and a merchant. William Shakespeare conveys this tension through his play The Merchant of Venice. The play is about a merchant, Antonio, who wants to help his friend, Bassanio, regarding his financial problems. However, Antonio’s money is at sea, so Antonio is forced to borrow money from Shylock who is a Jewish moneylender in Venice. Antonio and Shylock despise each other. Shakespeare