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The Merchant Of Venice Essay Positive And Negative Aspects Of 3 Characters In The Play

1147 words - 5 pages

In this world of deceptive appearances, motives, and beliefs, the ability to be able to understand the complexity of human beings is simply a not-so-common skill. When William Shakespeare wrote, The Merchant of Venice, he included characters which are neither good nor evil; instead, in order to make the play more realistic and create metaphors for real life situations, Shakespeare created the characters with both positive and negative aspects, as the same applies in real life. In this essay, the positive and negative aspects of Antonio, Portia, and Shylock will be discussed, and the effect of these aspects on the total outcome of the play.Shakespeare was successful in creating many complex characters in The Merchant of Venice, although from my point of view, Antonio is one of the less complex characters introduced in this play. Antonio is a good and generous man, who promises to pay shylock the money borrowed by Bassanio or else allow shylock to cut off a pound of his flesh. This risk that Antonio is brave enough to take upon is a great example of Antonio's devotion to Bassanio, and his generosity to the person who Antonio loves the most in this play. Although Antonio's part in the play is rather a passive one, he very much shows his hatred to Shylock, the money-usurer. Antonio simply does not comply with the Jew's occupation, and his religion, and shows his hate towards Shylock. He makes him "To quit the fine for one half oh his goods... He presently become a Christian... The other, that he do record a gift, here in the court, of all he dies possessed unto his son Lorenzo and his daughter". Because of these, Shylock is utterly defeated in the trial scene. It is correct to observe that Antonio did not treat Shylock with respect, or as a human being, by plainly looking for his pure revenge on Shylock, the person who nearly took his life away.In The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare also included a female character that influences the play dramatically. In most of Shakespeare's plays, the women have little power and intelligence. In The Merchant of Venice, however, Portia is a woman that saves the life of a man with her wit and intelligence. Portia displays all the graces of the perfect woman. She is not ambitious; she is quiet rather than restrictive. She is modest in her self-estimation. Her generous spirit makes her wish she had more virtue, wealth, and friends, so that she can better help those she loves. Besides saving the life of Antonio, Portia is also used to convey the theme of deceptive appearances. Throughout the play, Shakespeare uses his characters to show the audience that a person cannot be judged by how they appear to the eye and that a person can truly be identified by their inner soul. An example for this intention by Shakespeare is when Portia later dresses up as a man and finds a way to release Antonio from his bond with Shylock, when no one else is able to. She proves to the audience and to her friends that even though she might...

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