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Essays on the merchant of venice themes

Her comments on her suitors may evoke laughter within the audience, but she refers to them with damning scorn, and seems casually racist about their nationalities.

  • I am much ashamed for my exchange;
  • However, he puts the picture of Portia in the least expected casket; this would be the lead casket;
  • Antonio had no other reason to hate him before now; in fact, he freely agreed to the contract which Portia snuck him out of.

Throughout the play she seems to not like foreigners. This is typical of all the Christians in the play, Bassanio, Gratiano and Antonio e. Towards the end of the scene, she receives news that the Prince of Morocco is coming tomorrow.

Before she even sees him, she dismisses even wanting to marry him due to where he is from and to his colour. Her response suggests that prejudice and bigotry lie beneath the outwardly fair appearance of Portia and Belmont. If he have the condition of a saint, and the complexion of a devil, I had rather he should shrive me than wive me. This means that he is open to double the hatred. We first encounter Shylock in act 1 scene 3. Straight away we are told that he is a Jew.

Shakespeare purposefully put this to show that shylock was not a normal person, he is Jewish this makes the audience in 1597 straight away hate him and notice him.

What are the main themes in “The Merchant of Venice”?

By the way in the plays, he would have been dressed as a Jew i. As soon as the scene starts Bassanio and Shylock are involved in a tense conversation. By it being tense we can see that they both hate each other. There has to be two parties for racism to happen. Shylock understands that he has got a rare moment of superiority and wants to capitalise on it by annoying Bassanio and making him beg for longer.

He loves having the Christians wanting something from him and as if they are begging him. The Venetian Society is clearly hypocritical at the time of the play. Bassanio despises Shylock but will use the Jews money to fund his expedition. One should note that in those days, 1590s, Christians were not allowed to charge interest. At the end of essays on the merchant of venice themes scene the audience thinks the worst of Shylock.

He is callous, vengeful and vindictive but does have some points of justice. Straight after this scene we return to the dark skinned Moroccan prince.

Straight away he says: He is basically saying do not hate me because I am dark skinned. The reason for his self-justification of his colour suggests that maybe that is what he is used to and expects.

Merchant of Venice Themes

Or that Belmont has a reputation for intolerance and rejection of suitors who are dark skinned. Portia is also a victim of male chauvinism. She cannot even choose her own husband. But she does not show her real feelings and remains courteous, because she is a lady with a high position and it would be inappropriate if she mocked the Prince.

The language Shakespeare gives the prince is very stereotypical of foreigners in the 1590s. Elizabethan audiences find this amusing and enjoy laughing at stereotypes; in act 1 scene 2 the audience was given some comedy through the stereotypes of the foreign suitors. Shakespeare makes the Prince of Morocco look very arrogant through the language he uses. It is his prevailing hyperbolic terms, which convey his arrogance.

Act 2 Scene 2, is one of the less important scenes of the play. It is made to make the audience laugh. It includes some of the lesser important characters, in fact the lowest ranking characters of the play, Lancelot Gobbo and Old Gobbo.

The Merchant of Venice Themes

This scene has some parts which show Venetian racism. Even the lowest of all characters mock Shylock. It seems that no one in the whole play, apart from Tubal, likes Shylock. Why should they if he is such an evil character.

At a Glance

Lancelot wants to leave Shylock but tossing between the ideas. He calls shylock a devil, which shows the casual Venetian racism. The audience would have found this funny as most of them would of not liked Jews anyway. Again, he later mocks Shylock. This short scene is dramatically important because it reveals that Shylock is becoming more isolated, rejected even by his own daughter.

Merchant of Venice: Theme Analysis

Even Lancelot shows more love to Jessica then Shylock so she does have some right to complain. Although I do not know why she does not get as much criticism as her father. She is jewish as well, but maybe because she hates her father so much and looks like she is going to change religion, that the Christiens like her, apart from Portia.

Many Jews pretended to turn Christian so that they could be accepted, and in the case of 1290, so they could stay in the country. In act 2 scene 4, Lorenzo shows his contempt for Shylock and his race and highlights this in his speech. In Act 2 Scene 5, we see Shylock being racist.

The Merchant of Venice, theme of prejudice Essay

One part of the scene sums up the racism. He probably wants the Christians to be as stingy as him. This point is shown on line 21. However towards the end of this speech I believe Shakespeare was overtly anti-semitic. It makes Shylock look like the stereotypical money-obsessed Jew with no feelings. Essays on the merchant of venice themes is barely able to contain her contempt. In her final line her racism comes to light in all its strength. She is essays on the merchant of venice themes against Morocco and really hates him.

But she only ridicules Arragon, and has a joke with Nerrisa about him, calling him an insect. The previous scene closed with one loser, Morocco.

Now Scene 8 opens with the report of another loser Shylock. Solanio and Salarino, tell the audience of how Shylock responded to the loss of all his possessions.

Once again, Shylock is not named. Solanio and Salarino are depicting his losses unsympathetically. Solanio starts imitating Shylock and mocks the way that he complains about his stolen riches just as much as his eloped daughter. This hints to the audience that Shylock is more concerned for his riches and angry at his daughter for stealing them. O my Christian ducats!

Again this shows the iniquitous male dominance in a patriarchal society. Salarino adds on extra details about Shylocks misery. He tells Solanio that even the young children delight in his losses. To a modern audience, this is when they first start feeling pity for Shylock.

Solanio and Salarino are bullying Shylock just because of his race. It is amazing how Shakespeare wants the audience to feel sorry for Shylock during a time of mass prejudice against Jews.

But then comes news of a supposed shipwreck in the English Channel. Antonio has suffered a loss as well as Shylock. But Solanio and Salarino do not mock Antonio, and show affection towards his losses. Shakespeare purposefully done this to show the extent of their racism. They will mourn the losses of a fellow Christian and laugh and mock the losses of a Jew or an Outsider.

At the end of this act Shylock is becoming increasingly isolated. Act 3 Scene 1, is full of racial tension. Shylock is now very isolated. His language shows him to be hurt, humiliated, vulnerable and extremely angry at the Christians. He feels that he has been played for a fool and robbed of all his possessions by the Christians. He is very angry at the Christians and wants revenge. The Christians in this scene, Solanio and Salarino are also angry with him. One of his ships has been lost on the Goodwin sands.

Neither of them mention Shylock, but it is obvious that he is playing in the back of their minds. But as soon as Solanio sees Shylock, he makes his feelings evident.

Both parties are now very angry at each other. They taunt him, utterly unsympathetic to the acute pain he feels at the loss of his daughter and money. He tells of his hatred against Antonio.

He carries on talking about Antonio. It presents Antonio as forcefully seizing every occasion to revile and obstruct him. His reply is the best lines of this whole play. It is now used all over the world because of its truth and justification of race.

Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses senses, affections passions?