Failure And Success In William Shakespeare´S The Merchant Of Venice And Richard Ii

976 words - 4 pages

Society can be seen as an anarchic structure due to the existence of free will, but a code of social order exists and thus allows for order in society. At times though there are others who rebel against the prevailing order and this can cause for a chaotic situation to arise. Frequently though these revolts result in failure for those who instigate it, but for those who revolt with pure intentions there is the reward of success. In Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice and Richard II, we can draw examples of unrest that results in both failure and success. Due to the presence of these ideas in Shakespeare’s play we can come to question what his attitude toward rebellions and authority and can conclude that he obviously saw the benefit in questioning authority, but realized that many uprisings resulted in failure. Whether this failure occurred immediately, it would always indefinitely result in defeat. The Merchant of Venice and Richard II show us that when one makes the decision to go against authority it can result in an everlasting change that can be for the better or worse, but ultimately will lead to their eventual demise and destruction.
In the play The Merchant of Venice we see the negative effect that rebellion can have against social order that is based on segregation and racism. Shylock, a Jewish man in the play is portrayed as a blood thirsty money-grubber, and is constantly put down by many of the Christians in Venice. Specifically he is constantly attacked by Antonio. When Shylock is given the chance to now take his revenge upon Antonio we see that there is a man, Shylock, who is identified as a creature rather than human. Shylock takes his opportunity against Antonio to not rebel against the social order when he insists on taking a pound of flesh as retribution for Antonio’s default on his loan from Shylock. Shylock goes against what is a common Christian belief by not showing mercy and offering Antonio salvation from his debt. Instead Shylock follows his Mosaic code that hold a strict emphasis on justice and the following of the letter of the law. Shylocks insistence on rejecting Christian belief is an example of going against the general order because he is holding on to his Jewish beliefs which are uncommon in the society he lives in. By insisting on holding on to this his belief and not showing the mercy Shylock is destroyed by Portia in court and faces the defeat of his rebellion against society and Christians. We then see that in Shylock’s case his refusal to forgive as the Christians do, he is pushed to utter ruin by his rebellion against social authority.
It can be said that in the play Richard II we see a completely different side to the possible outcome of rebellion, which in this case can be seen as one that has a positive...

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