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Generosity In Shakespeare's "The Merchant Of Venice"

1123 words - 5 pages

In William Shakespeare's play called The Merchant of Venice, the antagonist of the play is Shylock, a wealthy Jewish moneylender. He is probably the most memorable character in the play because of Shakespeare's excellent characterization of him. He is depicted as a greedy man and he is obsessed with money. Another important character is Bassanio, he tries to borrow money from his close friend, Antonio, in order to marry a wealthy heiress, Portia. He also has emphasis on materialistic entities like, outward beauty and wealth. Therefore, the play is mostly surrounds around materialistic issues and money. On purpose Shakespeare creates his characters according to this issue, for instance, ...view middle of the document...

Antonio has many supporters. Bassanio offers to pay "twice the sum" of the bond and "if that will not suffice, / I will be bound to pay to it ten time o'er / on forfeit of my hands, my head, my heart." Bassanio and Gratiano both declare that they would sacrifice their own wives to save Antonio. Money is what drives Shylock; one is tempted to think that the usurer's obsession with his assets has made him almost insane. This fixation with money makes his life harder and for this reason he has lost his beloved ones. His daughter Jessica elopes with Lorenzo. She furthermore takes many precious jewels and plenty of money from the rich moneylender. Indeed, when Shylock's friend Tubal tells the story of how Jessica spent four score ducats in one night, Shylock responds distressingly, "Thou stick'st a dagger in me" this shows the deep obsession Shylock has with money. Solanio, in scene viii of the II Act , tells Salarino about Shylock's actions after he find out that his wealth is missing. "My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter! / Fled with a Christian! O my Christian ducats! / Justice! The law! My ducats and my daughter! / A sealed bag, two sealed bags of ducats,/ Of double ducats, stolen from me by my daughter! / And jewels- two stones, two rich and precious stones,/ Stolen by my daughter! Justice! Find the girl!/ She hath the stones upon her and the ducats!" One can see that Shylock's main intention in finding his daughter is to recover his fortune. It is clear that he has no paternal love for Jessica. He has valued his wealth almost more than he has valued his own daughter. However, Shylock surprises the reader he is generous with his money and eager to make friends with Antonio when he says, "I say, to buy his favour, I extend this friendship," but in reality this is a plan, he wants revenge against the merchant of Venice. This is an example of fake generosity. The competition for Portia's hand in marriage, which was set up by her father to choose the suitable spouse for his daughter, is the main explanation of the value of humane feelings and features. The suitor of Portia must choose either a gold, silver or lead casket, where the right choice...

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