Paper # 6 thoughts on the merchant of venice withouth the plot summaryDocument Transcript
Cash 1Box # 108Sandra CashProfessor BouchardENG 132Paper # 6 Thoughts on “The Merchant of Venice”March 5, 2012 Thoughts on “The Merchant of Venice” In this play “The Merchant of Venice,” Shakespeare shows how there arehypocrites in Christianity. Act I, Scene III, in a conversation between Shylock, andAntonio, demonstrates this. Looking at this comedy play in a feminist’s lens, the womencharacters are witty, strong, and actually have a personality. One of the themes, for thereare a few, is about racism, and bigotry: Jews hating Christians, Christians hating Jews,Portia and the prince of Morocco. Shakespeare shows how there are hypocrites in Christianity. John 13:35 says,“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”(BibleGateway.com). People should recognize Christians by their love, but there arethose “Christians,” who are hypocrites, for they hate people. Shakespeare shows this in aconversation between Shylock and Antonio in Act I, Scene III. Shylock says, “You callme misbeliever, cut-throat dog, And spit upon my Jewish gabardine…” this shows thatAntonio who is supposed to be this good Christian, is not, for Christians are commandedto love people (Shakespeare). There is another place this is shown, in act III scene I
Cash 2where Shylock says, “If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If aChristian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why,revenge. The villany you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better theinstruction,” as Christians, we should not seek revenge (Shakespeare); for in Romans 12:19 it says, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for itis written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord” (BibleGateway.com). If this story was to be looked at through a feminist’s lens, the women in this storyhave a strong, witty, personality. This is shown when Portia outwits Shylock when she isin the court. There Portia tells Shylock that he can have his one pound of flesh, but he cannot draw blood. Next, she tells Shylock that he can not take more or less than a pound offlesh. Lastly, she uncovers that Shylock’s evil intentions of wanting to kill Antonio,which is against the law; he must now give half of his property to Antonio and the otherhalf is to go to the government. Portia and Nerissa are unusual for their time period,where the woman was to stay at home and be the home care giver. Instead, Portia andNerissa take matters in their own hands to help their husbands. A theme that is shown throughout this play is bigotry. The Jews hate theChristians and visa versa. Shylock and Antonio do not want to do business right awaywith each other. Antonio hates Shylock, and insults Shylock by saying, “The devil cancite Scripture for his purpose” (Shakespeare). Shylock only agrees to do business withAntonio, because he is hoping that Antonio will not be able to pay the bond, letting himcut a pound of flesh e.g. take Antonio’s heart. Although, this racism against Jews andChristians is shown large, it is not the only way Shakespeare shows it: for Portia is racistagainst the prince of Morocco. When the prince of Morocco comes to try his luck at the
Cash 3caskets, Portia says, “If he have the condition of a saint and the complexion of a devil, Ihad rather he should shrive me than wive me” (Shakespeare). She is right away judgingthe prince of Morocco by the color of his skin, nothing else, for she does not know theprince of Morocco. Shakespeare’s play “The Merchant of Venice,” one of the themes is racism. Forhe has Shylock who is a Jew hate Antonio who is a Christian, and they both hate eachother. Shakespeare also shows hypocrisy of the Christian Antonio. For as Christians weshould be known by our love, but what Antonio has said to Shylock was not out of loveat all. Antonio has called Shylock a dog, the devil and has spat on him. In interestingidea, if looked by a feminist’s lens, is that Shakespeare’s women characters in this playare witty, strong, and actually have depth.
Cash 4Works CitedBibleGateway.com. n.d. 5 March 2012 < http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+13%3A35&version=NIV>.BibleGateway.com. n.d. 5 March 2012 < http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%2012:19&version=NIV >.Shakespeare, William. "The Merchant of Venice." The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. The Tech, 2001. Web. 5 Mar 2012. <http://shakespeare.mit.edu/merchant/full.html>.