• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does Shakespeare present the issues of love and money in the play? Consider different readings of the play when forming your judgement. Through the exploration of three central relationships in the play, Shylock and Jessica;

Extracts from this document...


The Merchant of Venice: Leon Farr How does Shakespeare present the issues of love and money in the play? Consider different readings of the play when forming your judgement. Through the exploration of three central relationships in the play, Shylock and Jessica; Antonio and Bassanio and Bassanio and Portia, I will investigate the presentation of the themes of love and money and also examine how the plot provides a variety of interpretations. The relationship between Bassanio and Portia can be interpreted in different ways. On the surface, their relationship appears to be very pure, seemingly based upon true love. The couple consistently express their love for one another, and we as the audience accept their relationship to be entirely honest and innocent. 'Bassanio: Fair Portia's counterfeit! What demi-God / hath come so near creation?' However, it is possible that Bassanio possessed ulterior motives to marry Portia besides love. Bassanio first describes Portia as 'a lady richly left.' This seems to focus on her wealth, rather than her beauty. Furthermore, Bassanio does not tell Antonio he is in love with Portia; instead he tells Antonio how he feels he will make a huge profit from marrying her. 'I have a mind presages me such thrift.' ...read more.


'What, what, what? Ill luck, ill luck?' 'I thank God, I thank God. Is it true? It can be argued that Shylock 'thanks God' because of his love for honour and justice. However, it this were the case, surely Shylock would be satisfied with a full repayment from Antonio, rather than enthusing about the prospect of taking Antonio's flesh. Maybe Shylock sees Antonio's ill luck as a form of Godly moral justice; that has been granted after Antonio 'spat on my Jewish Gaberdine' and after severe ridicule from Salarino and Solanio. In the end, it is ironic that Shylock is thankful for Antonio's misfortune. After all, it is this ill luck that leads to Shylock losing his faith and proves his ultimate undoing. In truth, Shylock is an ambiguous character, whose actions are not consistent enough to warrant a definite opinion regarding his attitudes to love and money. Similarly, Jessica does not conform to the frequently adopted opinion of her character. In general, the audience view Jessica as the righteous beauty who rises up against her tyrannical father by eloping with her Christian partner. However this is not entirely the case. ...read more.


'I would not be ambitious in my wish/ To wish myself much better, yet for you/ I would be trebled twenty times myself,/...only to stand high in your account' (Portia provides another indication as to her obsession with money through her language here: 'account' 'trebled twenty times') If Portia had not cheated with her song, it seems likely Bassanio would follow his monetary instincts by choosing either the gold or silver casket. This restores faith in Portia's father's system, and restores optimism in the audience, who are again led to believe that a relationship need not require money as an incentive. 'The Merchant of Venice' provides varying interpretations of the issues of love and money. Shakespeare creates a superficial view of characters in the play, whilst aspects of their real personality often remain hidden. I believe that whilst Shakespeare provides a web of contradictions and contrasting attitudes in his subplots, his fundamental view of love and money is made clear through the dominant 'flesh-bond' tale, and his depictions of Antonio and Shylock. It is they who embody Shakespeare's residing opinion upon love and money, through their failed quest to find happiness despite their wealth. 1498 words ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE The Merchant of Venice section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE The Merchant of Venice essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    How does Shakespeare present the character of Shylock in the play? Is it possible ...

    3 star(s)

    Shakespeare wanted to gain trust of the Elizabethans who had anti-Semitism views, if they thought Shakespeare was trying to show pity to the Jew and make him look friendly then no one would see his show as people would think he was trying to make the Elizabethans like Jewish people.

  2. Choose one scene towards the end of the play. Explain its significance within the ...

    Another contrast is in the way Shakespeare interacts the cities by moving from one to the other in each scene. When we hear of Shylock's hatred and the bond the tension builds up. Then it moves to Belmont to a world of romance.

  1. Portia's Three Suitors.

    Their purpose amongst others is to make Bassanio appear honourable. He is significant and by far the most important of the three suitors because Portia actually displays interest for him. He also receives a good report from the messenger at the end of Act II Scene 6 before he enters unlike the other two suitors.

  2. Why does Bassanio choose correctly?

    By playing music, Portia is showing her huge desire for Bassanio to choose correctly, which justifies the view that the love between the two is true. However, Portia may also be presenting the lack of confidence she possesses in Bassanio, and therefore is attempting to blatantly force Bassanio to choose correctly.

  1. Compare and contrast Portia's three suitors, examining their characters attitudes, actions and language and ...

    he is often portrayed as a comical character to add meaning or to give a different slant to his actions. The second suitor, Prince Arragon is a Spaniard. His name is a pun of arrogant. Portia wants to get the ordeal over with quickly but Arragon takes his time choosing.

  2. How has the love plot been developed in Acts 1 and 2?

    In scene two, we learn from Lancelot, who is Shylock's servant, that living in Shylock's house is hell and he goes on to describe him as being the devil: "To be ruled by my conscience, I should stay with the Jew my master who, -God bless the mark!

  1. You'd think Shakespeare had titled the play

    Brief stage history of Shylock � 1596-7. Performed before James I in 1605 � George Granville, The Jew of Venice (1701): A rewritten version that focuses on love and friendship and where Shylock becomes a purely comic villian. � 1741: Charles Macklin returned to Shx's original text and began to play Shylock as tempestuous and deeply wronged.

  2. Some critics claim that the casket scenes are 'boring and predicable', Others say that ...

    most attractive casket and so this is not so much as a disappointment when the prince finds out that he had chosen the wrong casket when he finds a skull and scroll in the casket and not Portia's portrait. This is Shakespeare emphasising that what us the outside may not

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work