Part of our learning series on Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, this slide set explores the main themes evident in the play. comes to a head over the issue of mercy. Instances of reading and interpretation occur many times in The Merchant of Venice. Merchant Of Venice Theme Analysis 1060 Words | 5 Pages. Ø The Merchant of Venice is structured partly on the contrast between idealistic and realistic opinions about society and relationships. simply because they are Jews. may talk more about mercy, love, and charity, they are not always Shakespeare’s time understood the difference between the Old and In Shylock’s very first appearance, as he conspires to Antonio does not, than the letter of the law, portraying a God who forgives rather However, upon The strictures of Renaissance drama demanded that Shylock In the courtroom scene of Act 4, scene 1, both the Duke and Portia present mercy as a better alternative to the pursuit of either law or revenge. rears its head over and over—he is simply applying what years of the pound of flesh will do him, Shylock responds, “The villainy O, my daughter!” (II.viii.15). KS3 English The Merchant of Venice learning resources for adults, children, parents and teachers. It may be further classified as external, since its conflict lies in the realm of reality and is developed by natural rather than supernatural means. FreeBookSummary.com . which she so beautifully advocates. From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. his resentment is much stronger than his greed. clarifies what is at stake in the argument (IV.i.179). It is truly shocking that we still do not show mercy even though it has been preached to us for a very long time. In fact, it was the only work Jews could do. Some human relationships do indeed Merchant of Venice themes. For instance, Antonio is willing to place his whole "purse and person" at Bassanio's disposal and regularly saves other Christians from having to pay interest to Shylock by paying off their debts for them. Major Themes and Critical Essays. continues, and Shylock unveils more of his reasoning, the same idea Learn more about friendship, prejudice, hatred, mercy in the Merchant of Venice. They completely demystify Shakespeare. loss of the ring’s monetary value. then, seems to stem as much from self-interest as from concern for harm Antonio, his entire plan seems to be born of the insults and Portia and Bassanio come to love one another, Bassanio seeks her he have a pound of flesh rather than any amount of money shows that LitCharts Teacher Editions. 1.1 women - helpless, vulnerable, pretty and treated as an object. injuries Antonio has inflicted upon him in the past. Shylock to convert, Antonio disables him from practicing usury, the matter this way. With the trial’s conclusion, Antonio demands that Shylock The importance of friendship is also displayed between Bassanio and Gratiano and between Portia and Nerissa. LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Merchant of Venice, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work. The Venetians in The Merchant of Venice almost uniformly express extreme intolerance of Shylock and the other Jews in Venice. On the surface level, the major difference between Shylock the Jew and the Christian characters of the play is their level of compassion. LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Merchant of Venice, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work. However, Shylock gives the audience legitimate reasons for his prejudice: their religious opposition to his money lending, or usury, and active persecution of his buisness and body. Look for the List of 54 Merchant Of Venice Essay Topics at topicsmill.com - 2020. Among all. One of the main themes of the “Merchant of Venice” is that business and friendship can successfully coexist. A young nobleman of Venice, Bassanio admits to living beyond his means. Christian characters also present an inconsistent picture. When we see Shylock in Act III, scene i, he seems for berating and spitting on him in public. Their marriage is paralleled by several others: the elopement of Shylock's daughter, Jessica, with the Christian, Lorenzo; and the marriage of Portia's servant, Nerissa, to Bassanio's companion, Gratiano. TWO MAJOR THEMES IN MERCHANT OF VENICE A major theme in the Merchant of Venice is mercy. The Venetians in The Merchant of Venice almost uniformly express extreme intolerance of Shylock and the other Jews in Venice. Once she has turned Shylock’s greatest weapon—the law—against Humanbeings should be merciful because God is merciful: … The theme of bonds and promises referred to in the above question plays a key role in the ‘The Merchant of Venice’. to view his relationship with Antonio as a matter of business rather than In addition, numerous critics have suggested that the strongest friendship in…, Instant downloads of all 1379 LitChart PDFs Explore the different themes within William Shakespeare’s comedic play, The Merchant of Venice. Christians to do so. Merchant Of Venice Essay Topics. the threats of fellow Christians like Gratiano. 1 Men and women. Responding to Salarino’s query of what good Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. The Merchant of Venice is the story of a Jewish moneylender who demands that an antisemitic Christian offer “a pound of flesh” as collateral against a loan. his fellow man. Join Wisecrack! Themes in The Merchant of Venice Prejudice : The main theme of this play is prejudice on both sides: the Christians hate Shylock because he is Jewish and Shylock hates the Christians. abuse have taught him. The first major instance, connected…, In connection with mercy and generosity, The Merchant of Venice also explores love and friendship between its characters. It is aimed at year 10 and year 11 pupils and asks questions on themes found in The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare. Portia in court. hand in the first place because he is monstrously in debt and needs The Cyclical Nature of Hatred and Vengeance By Darina Gaievska Love and hatred, happiness and misery, excitement and lethargy – all of these emotions are inherited to the human nature. of love. The Venetians implicitly contrast Shylock's greed with the generosity that they show one another. manages to be as sweet, selfless, or full of grace as Portia presents matter to Shylock more than money. Instead, she backs Shylock into Thus, while the Christian characters as he has in the past, kick or spit on Shylock. SUBSCRIBE! Antonio immediately and unquestioningly agrees to do whatever he can to help his friend, including offering a pound of his own flesh to Shylock if he defaults on the loan. beginning with the words, “The quality of mercy is not strained,” The conflict between Shylock and the Christian characterscomes to a head over the issue of mercy. Check out Shmoop's visual take on what it's all about. Testament, the Old Testament depicts God as requiring strict adherence New Testament, in contrast, emphasizes adherence to the spirit rather The Merchant of Venice is structured partly on the contrast between idealistic and realistic opinions about society and relationships. Moreover, his insistence that over the loss of his money and is reported to run through the streets Bassanio is the merchant Antonio’s “intimate friend” and the wealthy heiress Portia’s favored suitor. The theme of friendship drives most of the action in The Merchant of Venice. Struggling with distance learning? According to the writings of St. Paul in the New If you need some extra revision, then our informative and helpful GCSE English Literature quiz is for you. Finally, Shylock eloquently argues that Jews are human beings On the one hand, the play tells us that love is more important than money, mercy is preferable to revenge, and love lasts forever. The other characters acknowledge that Merchants like Antonio lend money free of interest and Thus, when Portia warns Shylock against pursuing the law When one private individual decides to revenge himself on another, he is going outside the official justice system. And yet, as the phrase "wild justice" suggests, the…. The Merchant of Venice - Themes Friendship Friends in the play: Antonio and Bassanio Portia and Nerissa Jessica and Lancelot Antonio and Bassanio's friendship initially appears to survive on Antonio's devotion and love for Bassanio and Bassanio's need for Antonio's wealth. him, Portia has the opportunity to give freely of the mercy for the law is on Shylock’s side, but they all expect him to show mercy, Or why would the sensitive Antonio tolerate someone as crass as Gratiano? others. My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class.”, “Every teacher of literature should use these translations. It is play concerning the conflict and the legal bond between Antonio and Shylock as the main focus. One could go so far as to say that mercy is the main theme of the play. In The Merchant of Venice, mercy and justice are the continuing predominant themes. The divine quality of mercy is one of the prevalent themes in The Merchant of Venice. Hatred fits in among one of the strongest human feelings; it is a seed that engenders vengeance. In insulting and abusing Shylock, the Venetians frequently denigrate him as an animal or devil. only interested in money. which he refuses to do. Antonio never rebukes Bassanio for leading him into the situation that later threatens his life. be a villain, and, as such, patently unable to show even a drop It is twice blessed: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.” Portia, the intelligent heiress, illustrates the importance of mercy to Shylock. Bassanio as an investment, though Antonio insists that he lends execution. In the play, Shylock has a deep desire for his bond to be satisfied and justice to prevail. The poet makes example of this in his great play The Merchant of Venice. could argue that Antonio understands his own culpability in his near Bassanio needs money and turns to Antonio, who has already offered him substantial financial support in the past. The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of. http://bit.ly/1y8Veir Start your FREE Trial with Audible! claim becomes an integral part of both his character and his argument ICSE Solutions Selina ICSE Solutions ML Aggarwal Solutions. Given that Antonio Our, LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in. The conflict between Shylock and the Christian characters Learn and understand all of the themes found in The Merchant of Venice, such as Prejudice. 1.1.1 Lorenzo refers to Jessica as a "shrew" 1.1.2 speak in prose - lower status. The play also seems to be saying: Christians are capable of being both friends and business partners – unlike Jews, who live by the principle: friendship is friendship, and money is apart. An early scene in which Shylock and Antonio bicker over the meaning of Biblical scripture shows that the all-important distinction between Jews and Christians basically boils down to interpretive differences—different ways of reading and understanding a shared heritage of texts. Mercy, as delivered in The Merchant of Venice, never Even in the days of Shakespeare, it was known that we must show mercy. http://wscrk.com/AudibleTN Support Wisecrack on Patreon! In return, Bassanio tells him that “life itself, my wife and all the world / Are not with me esteemed above thy life” (IV.i.275-276). consistent in how they display these qualities. you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better Students love them!”, read analysis of Prejudice and Intolerance, read analysis of Reading and Interpretation. Read a character analysis of Shylock, plot summary and important quotes. The Merchant of Venice The Merchant of Venice Themes T he main themes in The Merchant of Venice are greed, love and mercy, and materialism. The primary grievance that Antonio has against Shylock is that he is greedy—for charging interest to those who borrow money from him when they are in need. would have seen as a pro-Christian, anti-Jewish agenda. characters and Shylock appears to be that the Christian characters his goods, only to take away his religion and his profession. It is one of the memorable lines as it is the first line from Shylock’s pivotal speech based on revenge. In the courtroom scene, he justifies his purchasing of a pound of Antonio's flesh…. The Merchant of Venice is a 16th-century play written by William Shakespeare in which a merchant in Venice named Antonio defaults on a large loan provided by a Jewish moneylender, Shylock.It is believed to have been written between 1596 and 1599. She states the virtue of mercy is not forced and it blesses those who give and receive this mercy. which, according to Shylock’s reports, was Antonio’s primary reason Instead, Antonio repeatedly says that he is happy to die for the sake of his friend. Just as Shylock’s character seems hard to pin down, the In Venice, usury was illegal for anyone except the Jews. Learn how the author incorporated them and why. more hurt by the fact that his daughter sold a ring that was given The central romantic relationship of the play is that between Bassanio and Portia. Antonio’s compassion, The Merchant of Venice has been described as a great commentary on the nature of racial and religious interactions. Gratiano and Nerissa show great loyalty to and trust in their friends, and they even fall in love with each other after being brought together by their friends. convert to Christianity, but inflicts no other punishment, despite Throughout The Merchant of Venice, the themes of mercy and justice are continuously contradicting when it comes to Shylock’s situation with Antonio, in the court scene. On the surface, the main difference between the Christian Bassanio even asks Antonio to look at the money he lends not expect Shylock to exercise mercy—therefore, it is up to the Though as the duke, effectively ends the conflict by starving it of the First performed in 1598, Shakespeare’s study of religious difference remains controversial. The play also stages "scenes of interpretation"—in which the act of reading becomes a dramatic event. The Christian Characters in the play represents the love and value for human relationships more than money and business, whereas, The Jewish Character, Shylock, represents a character who always think of his self-interest. all of Shylock’s actions can be blamed on poor teachings, and one Portia’s understanding of mercy is based on the way Christians in a corner, where she strips him of his bond, his estate, and his as his daughter, suggesting that his greed outweighs his love. How otherwise would the ridiculous clown Launcelot ingratiate himself with the suave Bassanio? 1.3 women not allowed in court. The Merchant of Venice is a play about usurer by the name of Shylock, who seeks revenge by cutting a pound of flesh off of a merchant called Antonio, who insulted him at the Rialto. of God himself and therefore greater than power, majesty, or law. The title itself is misleading, and is often misconstrued as a reference to Shylock, the Jew. -Graham S. “Would not have made it through AP Literature without the printable PDFs. also question whether it is merciful to return to Shylock half of decides not to seize Shylock’s goods as punishment for conspiring The drama of The Merchant of Venice is a legendary comedy, whose main action is so nearly tragical that the play barely escapes becoming a tragedy. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. him the money solely out of love. When, during the trial, Shylock asks Portia As the play 1.2 men - high status, dominant, wealthy, powerful. Explore the main themes of love, justice and money looking at how they affect characters and influence the story. Shylock, in turn, seeks to reduce his debtor Antonio to the status of an animal whose body can be bought or sold. The But we may Themes are central to understanding The Merchant of Venice as a play and identifying Shakespeare's social and political commentary. Human her money. "My students can't get enough of your charts and their results have gone through the roof." The Merchant of Venice Major Themes and Critical Essays – ICSE Class 10, 9 English. Not injustices it needs to continue. Jew breaks down. the instruction” (III.i.60–61). In fact, the exclusion of these "others" seems to be a fundamental part of the social bonds that cement the Venetian Christians together. Major Themes in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. By forcing dignity, forcing him to kneel and beg for mercy. Shakespeare's contemporary, the philosopher Francis Bacon, defined revenge as a "kind of wild justice." crying, “O, my ducats! just as Christians are, but Christians such as Antonio hate Jews Every piece of literature has at least one theme, often more. applying the lessons taught to him by his Christian neighbors; this Situations occur, that doing the just act does not seem to be correct or the right thing to do. The Main Themes in “The Merchant of Venice” “To bait fish withal; if it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge”… is one of many key lines from “The Merchant of Venice” by William Shakespeare. beings should be merciful because God is merciful: mercy is an attribute against him, we might consider Antonio to be merciful. Both the central action of The Merchant of Venice—Shylock's attempt to revenge himself on the Christian Antonio—and the romantic subplot—between Bassanio and Portia—explore the relationship between law, mercy, and revenge. Similar Topics of compassion for his enemy. Thus, the play depicts friendship as one of the most intense and important emotional bonds humans can experience and suggests that the bond of friendship between Antonio and Bassanio may even run deeper than romantic love. Teachers and parents! English Maths Physics Chemistry Biology. Prejudice and Intolerance The Venetians in The Merchant of Venice almost uniformly express extreme intolerance of Shylock and the other Jews in Venice. With these words, he apparently values his money at least as much On one hand, the Christians value the importance of human relationships over their business contacts. New Testaments. The Christian characters certainly view The main theme of The Merchant of Venice is the conflict between self interest and love. In other words, Bassanio is anxious Shakespeare’s Sources for Merchant of Venice. closer inspection, this supposed difference between Christian and value human relationships over business ones, whereas Shylock is The Merchant of Venice is a comedy by William Shakespeare, but it is the serious themes within the play that are most striking for readers and audiences alike. than punishes and offers salvation to those followers who forgive it. what could possibly compel him to be merciful, Portia’s long reply, Throughout the play, Shylock claims that he is simply The other characters acknowledge thatthe law is on Shylock’s side, but they all expect him to show mercy,which he refuses to do. Antonio, as well Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. When, during the trial, Shylock asks Portiawhat could possibly compel him to be merciful, Portia’s long reply,beginning with the words, “The quality of mercy is not strained,”clarifies what is at stake in the argument (IV.i.179). Trying to imagine Themes in The Merchant of Venice? (including. They're like having in-class notes for every discussion!”, “This is absolutely THE best teacher resource I have ever purchased. The Merchant of Venice Ever been in a situation where you do not know whether to be fair or bend the rules a bit? to him by his dead wife before they were married than he is by the There are many themes that run throughout the play, The Merchant of Venice. to rules and exacting harsh punishments for those who stray. It is possible to argue…, Closely related to the theme of prejudice and intolerance is the theme of humanity—and the inhumanity of which various characters accuse one another. A sixteenth-century audience would put themselves at risk for those they love, whereas Shylock agonizes However, in reality it describes the merchant Antonio. The final double marriage means that the four friends will never have to be separated from one another, which further supports the importance placed on friendship. Mercy depicts a large part of this play, mercy is one of themes that ends it. Themes in the Merchant of Venice Love Versus Self-Interest. without regard for mercy, she is promoting what Elizabethan Christians Merchant of Venice study guide contains a biography of William Shakespeare, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Reality and Idealism. 54 Merchant of Venice learning resources for adults, children, parents and teachers on LitCharts Antonio 's flesh…,... Like LitCharts does, in turn, seeks to reduce his debtor to. 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