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Friends, Enemies, Lovers, Gossip, Rumour and Money. How and in what ways are these important to the Merchant of Venice?

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Introduction

Friends, Enemies, Lovers, Gossip, Rumour and Money. How and in what ways are these important to the Merchant of Venice? The Merchant of Venice was a play written by William Shakespeare in the 16th Century. This play revolves around a central character, Antonio. Antonio, in the play, is confronted by a variegated amount of malevolent situations. In all of these situations friendship and support from them, is mandatory and in an extreme circumstance could lead to his death. Antonio's foremost predicament is revolved quickly be a character named Shylock. The reader perfunctorily becomes cognizant of the fact that Shylock is an enemy to Antonio and also becomes aware that Shylock is to be blamed for Antonio's future predicaments. The basis of all Antonio's predicaments are money, Venetian culture is built on money. Rumour and gossip are linked in this play in the view of the fact that rumour introduces gossip to the Venetians. These two depictions are pivotal in the 'Merchant of Venice' but as Antonio perceives these do not have to be veracious. In this play Antonio is the Merchant of Venice of the play's title. His speech preludes, 'In sooth I know not why I am so sad, it wearies me'. This sets the scene for the event that will befall him during most of the play. The audience will be interested to examine why Antonio is melancholy. ...read more.

Middle

Bassanio who is in search for money has found a Jew named Shylock. At the abrupt introduction of Antonio to the conversation of Bassanio and Shylock, Shylock becomes antagonistic towards Antonio, 'I hate him for he is a Christian'. This sentence is used strongly by Shylock and would be a horrific thing to say in the 16th century. This is an immediate indication that they are enemies. The audience will perceive that there are other issues of why Shylock hates Antonio in the view of the fact that Shylock was relaxed in his speech to Bassanio and he is also a Christian. Then Shylock reveals more of why he 'hates' Antonio, 'He lends out money gratis and brings down the rate of usance here with us in Venice'. This has clearly expressed why Shylock hates Antonio. Shakespeare has portrayed Shylock in a stereotypical fashion in the view of the 16th century. Shylock, the Jew, has been expressed to care for nothing but money. So because Antonio lends money 'gratis' it brings down the amount Shylock can charge when he lends money because people would much rather go and borrow money from Antonio then Shylock. So the basis of why Antonio is an enemy to Shylock is money. Shylock eventually agrees to lend the money to Antonio but under certain circumstances if Antonio fails to pay, 'Be nominated for an equal amount of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken, in what part of your body pleaseth me'. ...read more.

Conclusion

Portia's love is portrayed as she dresses up and enters the trial, she eventually saves his life and Shylock is defeated. In this play the themes, friends, enemies, lovers, gossip, rumour and money are all presented in the form of characters. Shylock, the enemy, has the audience's sympathy but is turned away by the hatred of Antonio and his ruthless pursuit of profit, but his eloquent description of Antonio's abusive language and behaviour redresses the balance a little in his favour. His daughter's elopement with a Christian and the theft of his money give the audience a pause to think of their attitude towards him. However, the comic way in which he is presented as reacting to this event and his cry for his 'ducats' evoke laughter, not sympathy. Friendship is one of the more significant themes and is extensively depicted by the use of Antonio and Bassanio. When Antonio enters the bond he does not give security to his friend but spends it on liveries for his servants and a party, which is not an auspicious start. Lover's is certainly not a constant theme in the play but eventually aides to save Antonio's life. Gossip and rumour do produce extra predicaments and does play a play main part in Venice. Lastly money, money is the most important theme and is the reason why Antonio had to face this dilemma but eventually is victorious and Shylock defeated due to the aide of his friends and their lovers. ...read more.

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