Cash 1Box # 108Sandra CashProfessor BouchardENG 132Paper # 6 Thoughts on “The Merchant of Venice”March 5, 2012 Thoughts on “The Merchant of Venice” This comedy play is about Antonio, who is willing to co-sign a bond for Bassanio; becauseAntonio does not have the money, but he will once, his ships come back. Bassanio needs money, sothat he can try to win Portia’s hand in marriage. Portia is a rich maiden, who can not pick her husband,because her father set up three caskets and the man who picks the right one, she must marry. SincePortia is a rich, beautiful maiden, there are a lot of royal rich suitors who are trying to win her hand.This is why Bassanio needs money, so that he can stand a chance in winning Portia’s hand inmarriage. Bassanio who is looking for a money lender comes to Shylock, who is a Jew who hatesAntonio; because Antonio helps, people pay their debts that they owe to Shylock. Shylock agrees tolend Antonio the money, but if he can not pay by two months, Shylock is to get one pound of fleshfrom Antonio. Lorenzo is a friend of Antonio and Bassanio, who is in love with Jessica who justhappens to be Shylock’s daughter. One night Jessica runs away from her father so that she can marry Lorenzo, when he fatherfinds out he is very upset. Portia has had plenty of suitors who have tried to win her hand, but do notpick the right casket, but when Bassanio chooses he chooses the right casket. Bassanio and Portia getmarried, when Bassanio receives a letter from Antonio who can not pay the bond, for he has heard hisships where lost, or crashed. Antonio asks Bassanio to come and see him before he dies, for he knowsthat Shylock will not be merciful and wants his life. Seeing Bassanio sad, Portia asks Bassanio what isthe matter with Bassanio. Bassanio explains what the letter says, Portia tells Bassanio to pay off thebond, twice, three times what the bond is worth. Bassanio leaves to see his friend Antonio and to see if
Cash 2Shylock will let him pay the bond. Portia tells Lorenzo that she and Nerissa are going to a monasteryuntil their husband return and that he is to manage the house while she is gone. When Nerissa andPortia leave, Portia has a different plan. Portia decides that they will dress like men, and go to thecourt to help plead for Antonio. Once Nerissa and Portia arrive at the Court, the Duke says he has to keep the law, and sinceAntonio signed the bond agreeing to the one pound of flesh he can not do anything. Portia then tellsShylock that he can have his one pound of flesh, but he can not draw blood. Next, she tells Shylockthat he can not take more or less than a pound of flesh. Lastly, she uncovers that Shylock’s evilintentions of wanting to kill Antonio, which is against the law; he must now give half of his propertyto Antonio and the other half is to go to the government. Shylock then begs for mercy, Antonio thensays he must convert to Christianity. In this play “The Merchant of Venice,” Shakespeare shows how there are hypocrites inChristianity. This is shown in act I scene III, in a conversation between Shylock, and Antonio.Looking at this comedy play in a feminist’s lens, the women characters are witty, strong, and actuallyhave a personality. One of the themes, for there are a few, is about racism: Jews hating Christians,Christians hating Jews, Portia and the prince of Morocco. Shakespeare, shows how there are hypocrites in Christianity, for in John 13:35 says, “By thiseveryone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (BibleGateway.com). Peopleare suppose to know Christians by their love, but there are those “Christians,” who are hypocrites forthey hate people. Shakespeare shows this in a conversation between shylock and Antonio in act Iscene III. Shylock says, “You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, And spit upon my Jewishgabardine…” this shows that Antonio who is suppose to be this good Christian, is not for Christiansare suppose to love people (Shakespeare). There is another place this is shown, in act III scene I whereShylock says, “If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew,what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villany you teach me I willexecute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction,” as Christians, we should not seek
Cash 3revenge (Shakespeare). For in Romans 12: 19 it says, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leaveroom for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord”(BibleGateway.com). If this story was to be looked at by a feminist’s lens, the women in this story have a strong,witty, personality. This is shown when Portia out wits Shylock when she is in the court. Portia thentells Shylock that he can have his one pound of flesh, but he can not draw blood. Next, she tellsShylock that he can not take more or less than a pound of flesh. Lastly, she uncovers that Shylock’sevil intentions of wanting to kill Antonio, which is against the law; he must now give half of hisproperty to Antonio and the other half is to go to the government. Portia and Nerissa are unusual fortheir time period, where the woman was to stay at home and be the homecare giver. Instead, Portiaand Nerissa take matters in their own hands to help their husbands. A theme that is shown throughout this play is racisms. The Jews hate the Christians and visaversa. Shylock and Antonio do not want to do business right away with each other. Antonio hatesShylock, and insults Shylock by saying, “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose” (Shakespeare).Shylock only agrees to do business with Antonio, because he is hoping that Antonio will not be able topay the bond, letting him cut a pound of flesh e.g. take Antonio’s heart. Although, this racism againstJews and Christians 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 lucky at the caskets,Portia says, “If he have the condition of a saint and the complexion of a devil, I had rather he shouldshrive me than wive me” (Shakespeare). She is right away judging the prince of Morocco by the colorof his skin, nothing else, for she does not know the prince of Morocco. Shakespeare’s play “The Merchant of Venice,” one of the themes is racism. For he hasShylock who is a Jew hate Antonio who is a Christian, and they both hate each other. Shakespearealso shows hypocrisy of the Christian Antonio. For as Christians we should be known by our love, butwhat Antonio has said to Shylock was not out of love at all. Antonio has called Shylock a dog, the
Cash 4devil and has spat on him. In interesting idea, if looked by a feminist’s lens, is that Shakespeare’swomen characters in this play are witty, strong, and actually have depth.Works 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>.