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The Merchant of Venice.

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Introduction

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE Antonio is considered the hero in the story and he is himself the merchant of Venice. He lends money to his beloved friend Bassanio, as Bassanio intends to woo the fair maid that is Portia. Antonio borrows money from the money lending Jew, Shylock (who is often tormented in the play) and the two are stuck is a fierce battle in which we get an insight into their characters. During this essay one will discuss the characteristics of both characters and discuss whether Antonio is the hero and Shylock the villain and to what extent. The two authoritative, influential characters have similar statuses in the book, as they are both rich, businessmen and are opposite characters (ie rivals, good versus evil). Antonio is a Christian and is considered the hero, but a quantity of evidence suggests that he has another side to him, which is not in a heroic manner. Shylock is often treated unfairly and is considered a villain, he is a Jew and faces much discrimination from the Christian, the audience are biased so naturally dislike like him because of the fact that he is a Jew, even though he can be seen as honest. During the play he is treated badly and ultimately portrayed erroneously. ...read more.

Middle

We feel sorry for Shylock but we also find he is very greedy. While sulking about his daughters absence he says, ' my daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter! Fled with a Christian! O my Christian ducats!', here it seems that money is just as or even more important then his daughter. Throughout the story his puzzling characters are revealed and we find he has many characteristics. We see he is; Arrogant - 'I will not dine' Sarcastic - 'I would befriends with you' Humble - ' I will be assur'd I may: and that I may be assur'd, I will bethink me - may I speak with Antonio' Prejudice - ' I hate him for he is a Christian' Greedy and Faithful ; ' I will by with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you and so following: But I will not eat with you, drink with you nor pray with you' Vengeful - ' you call me misbeliever cut throat dog. Well then it now appears you need my help' Later in the play, in a tense twist, Antonio is unable to acquire the funds needed to pay off the bond and the matter is taken to court, Shylock is delighted, excited and ready for revenge. ...read more.

Conclusion

Shylock however is a Jew and can be seen as a malicious, wretched slime-ball. He is full of rage, vengeance anger, arrogance and has the typical characteristics of a villain. Though the characters are not as clear-cut as they seem, first of all we see that Antonio has an evil, prejudice side to him when we learn of his comments towards Shylock. We feel sorry for Shylock as he has been the subject of racial torrent and every time he tries to show a generous side, the Christians insult him. At first Shylock is a very pleasurable businessman but the insults naturally make him vengeful. So at this point Antonio is a villain. But it soon changes not due to Antonio but because of Shylock. Shylock introduces the malicious bond and he is the one who is not merciful. Throughout shylocks desire is to virtually kill Antonio as an act of revenge as a results of Antonio's insults so in a way it is Antonio's fault. We can conclude that Antonio is the hero in the story as he is a Christian and is courageous, but is mad a hero due to the fact of shylocks malicious intent and his perceived perception to kill Antonio, Antonio doesn't do anything heroic, but is exceptionally brave. Hashpal Sihre 11.7 English - Merchant of Venice ...read more.

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