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GCSE: The Merchant of Venice

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  1. What are the main themes in "The Merchant of Venice"?

    As the speech goes on he gets more passionate and tries to gain the sympathy of the audience and appeals to common humanity, Shylock does this by the use of rhetorical questions, such as: ?Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands?, ?If you poison us, do we not die.? However, Shylock?s sympathetic side does not last long as he quickly turns into his usual self by saying, ?And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge.? He is saying here, because Antonio has done something wrong, Shylock has a right to take the pound of flesh and not show any mercy.

    • Word count: 2624
  2. Why we feel sympathy for Shylock

    Antonio wants to help his friend Bassanio so tells him to borrow money under his name and pay back what he can. They then go to Shylock for a loan. Despite Shylock been treated terribly by the pair almost every day: ?The devil can cite scripture for his purpose?. He decides to loan the money without taking interest but if the money is not paid back fully in three months, Shylock is entitled to take a pound of Antonio?s flesh as compensation, Bassanio is shocked but immediately Antonio agrees to the terms as he thinks that his ships will return on time for him to be able to pay for the loan.

    • Word count: 1354
  3. How does Shakespeare make the trial scene dramatic?

    Jessica also takes a lot of Shylock?s money and jewels. Two Christian friends of Antonio report how everyone laughed at Shylock?s distress when his is left with gold. This adds to Shylock?s anger and bitterness against Antonio. The staging in Elizabethan times is that Shylock would be on the left (the devil?s side).Antonio and his friends are on the right (on the good side). In the film version, Shylock is in the middle surrounded by Antonio and his friends. Shylock is isolated in the court scene, which makes him look like the bad person.

    • Word count: 944

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