The Merchant Of Venice By William Shakespeare Essays

The Merchant Of Venice By William Shakespeare Essays

Length: 1793 words (5.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Fueling the Fire of Anti-Semitism in The Merchant of Venice
Jewish people in the Merchant of Venice, a play by William Shakespeare, are characterized by villainy and greed. Later, the Jews are considered saved, when they are brought to justice by forced conversion to Christianity. While some people may think that The Merchant of Venice is a play written to bring sympathy from the audience for the unbelieving Jewish villain, this play is really a work of anti-Semitism because of obvious promotion of hated toward Jewish people, their apparent lack of rights, and sheer lack of respect from anyone else. While this is an obvious theme throughout the play, Shylock, a Jewish man, also plays a key role in the facilitation of anti-Semitism.
From the first moment we experience interactions between Shylock, the Jewish moneylender, and the other Venetians in the play, the single fact that he is Jewish is clearly a strong motivator for hating him. Our first experience of Shylock being mistreated by others in the play is when Bassanio and Antonio come to ask for a loan so Bassanio can woo Portia, the wealthy heiress from Belmont. Antonio says to Bassanio, “Mark you this, Bassanio, The devil can site Scripture for his purpose. An evil soul producing holy witness is like a villain with a smiling cheek, a goodly apple rotten at the heart” (1.3.?). In a span of two sentences, Antonio manages to call Shylock the devil, an evil soul, a villain, and a rotten apple. It is acutely clear how Antonio feels about Shylock, even though he has no pretense for feeling this way. Furthermore, when Shylock calls Antonio out on his hatred, he says, “many a time and oft… you have rated me about my moneys…you call me misbeliever, cutthroat dog, and spet upon my...


... middle of paper ...


...nd negative. Throughout the play, Jews are called everything from the devil and a dog, to a rotten apple and villainous. There is nothing a Jew can do right unless they convert to Christianity. Even though people need them for their own business ventures, people still treat them as if they are undeserving of citizenship. The Venetian market would probably fall quickly without the Jewish people loaning the merchants money for their businesses. Unfortunately, not everyone is perfect and while Shylock originally did nothing wrong, he did just add fuel to the fire. If he hadn’t been hell-bent on revenge against Antonio, the Venetian citizens wouldn’t have been as hard on him. Shylock actually had his chance to just take his money and be done with his business with Antonio, but he couldn’t control his desire to get him back and because of this, Shylock sealed his fate.


Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

William Shakespeare 's The Merchant Of Venice Essay

- Upon an initial examination of William Shakespeare’s play, The Merchant of Venice, a reader is provided with superficial details regarding the moral dilemmas embedded in the text. Further analysis allows a reader to recognize the multi-faceted issues each character faces as an individual in response to his or her surroundings and/or situations. Nevertheless, the subtle yet vital motif of music is ingrained in the play in order to offer a unique approach to understanding the plot and its relationship with the characters....   [tags: The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare, Love]

Strong Essays
930 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on Homosexuality in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice

- Homosexuality in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice With every great story line comes a theme. William Shakespeare created an art of intertwining often unrecognizable themes within his plays. In Shakespeare’s play, The Merchant of Venice, one hidden theme is the idea of homosexuality. This theme might not have even been noticed until modern Shakespeare fans discovered them. According to Alan Bray’s book, Homosexuality in Renaissance England, “the modern image of ‘the homosexual’ cannot be applied to the early modern period, when homosexual behavior was viewed in terms of the sexual act and not an individual's broader identity.” (Columbia University Press)....   [tags: William Shakespeare Merchant Venice Essays]

Strong Essays
1464 words (4.2 pages)

Essay on Iago's Motives in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice

- Iago's Motives in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Iago, having the typical attributes of a Machiavelli character; seems to be inherently evil. He revels in his ability to dissemble and destroy. Defending himself through constant reassurances- Iago claims to disgrace Cassio because of his `daily beauty' and the fact that a `Florentine' who knows nothing about battles `more than a spinster' becomes lieutenant. This seems to outrage him- a spark that sets of the fire raging in his heart. As a result, he fabricates an ingenious plan- one by one he would make everyone pay....   [tags: William Shakespeare Merchant Venice Essays]

Strong Essays
768 words (2.2 pages)

The Merchant Of Venice by William Shakespeare Essay

- The Merchant Of Venice by William Shakespeare The "Merchant Of Venice" is a poem I have studied recently and will be going on to describe it's four themes - Love/Hate/Friendship and Money. I will go on to describe contrasting characters in the poem. The theme Love is mostly shown through Portia & Bassanio, because all she wanted was to have a choice in the man she married and the reason she could not do this was because her fathers will had forbidde. When Portia & Bassanio meet they really feel they want to be with each other but she does not want Bassanio to chose casket straight away because if he picks the wrong casket he must not see Portia again....   [tags: Free Merchant of Venice Essays]

Free Essays
385 words (1.1 pages)

The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare Essay

- The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare was written between 1594-1596.It is classified as a comedy; it is also a work of good triumphs over evil, but serious themes are examined and some issues remain unresolved. In the play Shakespeare has woven together plots from different books. Shakespeare gets the bond story and the story of the ring from an Italian novella, LL Pecorone, in a collection put together by Sir Geovanni and published in 1558....   [tags: Merchant of Venice Essays]

Strong Essays
2196 words (6.3 pages)

Essay on The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

- The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare The Merchant of Venice is a play full of different relationships ranging from love and friendships to hate. These relationships are affected by gossips and rumours, which due to the close community are flying around all the time. Money is involved in everything in the play; it is at the centre of work, relationships and rumours. It also holds together and makes the main tension of the play. There are many relationships in The Merchant of Venice....   [tags: Merchant of Venice Essays]

Strong Essays
1565 words (4.5 pages)

Essay on The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

- The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare The famous play 'The Merchant of Venice' by William Shakespeare concerns several plot lines, including the bond, the ring, the caskets and the elopement. The bond is the main plot and usury is a key part of this. It is because Shylock is a moneylender who lends money to a Christian. Shylock is crucial because he is a crucial character to 2 plots including the main one. When Antonio first meets Shylock he is immediately unkind to Shylock because he is a Jew....   [tags: Merchant of Venice Essays]

Free Essays
522 words (1.5 pages)

William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Essay

- William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice William Shakespeare, having spent most of his youth in England, was influenced by England’s beliefs. England was going through a Christian reformation that had caused friction between Christians and Jews. Jews and Christians did not see eye to eye on almost everything and especially on usury, the practice of lending money with interest. Boyce, a Shakespearean critique, sums up the negative attitude that Christians had on Jews in the 16th Century: “Sixteenth-Century Englishmen tended to attribute to Jews only two important characteristics, both negative: first, that Jews detested Christians and gave much energy to devi...   [tags: Merchant of Venice Essays]

Strong Essays
1878 words (5.4 pages)

William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Essay

- William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice "The Merchant of Venice" by William Shakespeare features, Shylock a very controversial character due to his religion, profession and personal traits. Professionally Shylock lends money to people in debt, in order to gain interest and profit. Although, this is very much central to our modern way of life, in the Elizabethan period, money lending was not accepted as an acceptable profession. Throughout "The Merchant of Venice" Shylock is portrayed as menacing, inhumane and slightly eccentric, yet at times misunderstood and induces sympathy from the reader....   [tags: Merchant of Venice Essays]

Strong Essays
1254 words (3.6 pages)

William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Essay

- William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare is the story of a man who wishes to wed a woman, in order o do so he needs to borrow money from his good friend. The play is that of an anti-semitic one. The play is an anti-semitic one because the Jews are looked upon as evil and untrustworthy. For the entire play the Jew is never meant to look as a good person, and he is abused by almost everyone in the play. When the Jew does have his sympathetic lines, they were actually meant to be comedic....   [tags: Free Merchant of Venice Essays]

Free Essays
678 words (1.9 pages)