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Merchant of Venice - Antonio and Shylock

Uploaded by theebezt on Mar 26, 2001

William Shakespeare shows how two tradesmen can have completely different lives when others view them differently in the play The Merchant of Venice. In the play, Bassanio, Antonio’s friend, needs money to pursue his love. They seek a loan from Shylock, a Jewish moneylender in Antonio’s name. The contract is for three times the value of the bond in three months or else Shylock cuts off a pound of flesh from Antonio. While all this is happening, there are love plots going on. One of which is for Shylock’s daughter to elope with Lorenzo, a Christian. Later on, Antonio’s source of money, his ship, is reported sunken in the English Channel, dooming him to the loss of one pound of his flesh. There is a trial on the bond, and when it seems sure that Antonio will die, Portia, disguised as a doctor of laws legally gets Antonio out of the situation and Shylock recieves harsh penalties. Antonio and Shylock, two similar businessmen of Venice, are viewed differently and are treated oppositely to heighten the drama of the play and mold a more interesting plot.

Antonio and Shylock are both successful entrepreneurs in Venice but they both have different attitudes and experiences. When Antonio is asking Shylock for the loan he says, “Within these two months – that’s a month before this bond expires – I do expect, return of thrice times the value of this bond.” (1.3.169-170). Antonio and Shylock both are well off and successful businessmen. Antonio, being a man who is treats everyone nicely, lends his good name to Bassanio to woo Portia. Shylock on the other hand, could never do that and is a very greedy man who asks for three times the value of the loan. Also, Antonio is a risk taker and thinks things will always go the right way for him and his success will continue, which is shown when he accepts the high interest rate and the bizarre payment if the money isn’t received. Shylock handles his business straightforward and charges interest because it is his job, although being a very high amount and if it isn’t carried out, Shylock gets his payment of one pound of flesh. Shylock is depicted as the greedy businessman while Antonio is the nice man who tries his luck.

Another way Antonio and Shylock are different is their religion based social status: Antonio is a Christian and Shylock...

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Uploaded by:   theebezt

Date:   03/26/2001

Category:   Shakespeare

Length:   4 pages (809 words)

Views:   2897

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