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The Consequence Of Hatred And Revenge

1044 words - 5 pages

“And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?” (3, 1, 59). In The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare, Antonio, a Christian, and Shylock, a Jew, hate each other and both are given opportunities to use the law to exact revenge. While Shylock pursues revenge, Antonio demonstrates his capability of mercy. Through their contrasting actions in the court, Shakespeare shows that hatred and the pursuit of revenge lead to one’s defeat.
Due to religious and commercial conflict, Shylock and Antonio hate each other. Shylock holds a grudge against Antonio. When Bassanio has to borrow money on Antonio’s credit, Shylock acknowledges that Antonio is financially sound. However, he also sees the risks ...view middle of the document...

Their religious difference gives Antonio an excuse relieve his sadness by mistreating Shylock. As a devoted Christian, Antonio morally disapproves the practice of lending money for interest. However, moneylending is one of the few lucrative occupations open to Jews under Venetian law. Despite this fact, Antonio limits Shylock’s profits by lending money interest-free. Before finalizing the loan, Shylock brings up the biblical story of Jacob to justify his usances, but Antonio responds with disgust and compares Shylock to a devil citing scripture. Antonio even goes further when he tells Shylock that, with or without the loan, he will continue to abuse him. He insists that lending money for interest is not a reflection of friendship and tells Shylock to lend the money to him as an enemy. Antonio’s abusive treatment of Shylock reveals his natural capability of animosity. The mutual hatred that Shylock and Antonio have leads them to spite each other.
When the opportunity for revenge comes, Shylock and Antonio respond differently. After Antonio fails to repay the loan on time, Shylock brings him before the Venetian court and demands his bond. He finally has the chance to get retribution on Antonio for past sufferings. The Duke begs Shylock to show mercy; Bassanio offers twice the sum of the original loan, and Portia, disguised as a Venetian lawyer, describes mercy as an attribute of God, but Shylock refuses to follow their pleas. The pursuit of vengeance blinds Shylock to the opportunities he has to redeem himself. After Portia announces that the pound of flesh is legally Shylock’s, he praises her adherence to the law. Shylock prepares the scales and sharpens his knife, but refuses to hire a surgeon to prevent Antonio from bleeding to death. It is made clear that his desire is to kill Antonio. Shylock has lost his humanity and is unable to see the trap that Portia sets for him. Before Shylock cuts into Antonio, Portia reveals a flaw in his bond- no provision has been made for a drop blood. Shylock must relinquish his bond and is now trapped by Venetian law. For attempting...

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