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The Merchant of Venice - Critical Evaluation.

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Introduction

The Merchant of Venice Critical Evaluation By Scott Stewart The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare is a play that demonstrates the triumph of love and friendship over greed. Greed and revenge were the main elements in a lethal compound of disaster for Shylock the Jew. Shylock was far-and-away the most interesting character in the play, because during it I hated him, liked him and felt pity for him. Throughout the play he always had a sense of greed about him, whether it was at the Rialto charging high interest rates or whether it was when he was always putting the well being of his money before that of his daughter. An example of this greed is shown just after Jessica had eloped with Lorenzo and Tubal was sent to look for them in Genoa & Frankfort by Shylock. When Tubal said that he could not find them, Shylock remarked "I would my daughter were dead at my foot, and the jewels in her ear, and the ducats in her coffin." ...read more.

Middle

The Prince of Morocco firstly choose the gold casket and got a death skull. The Prince of Aragon then choose silver and received a picture of an idiot. And finally Bassanio made his choice. But not without controversy. First Portia begged of Bassanio to spend time with her before he made his choice, and when he refused she played music for him with each of the rhymes of the song rhyming with lead, hence providing a small hint. Grationo's fate was also on the line of the lead casket for if Bassanio choose correctly Grationo got to marry Portia's maid Nerrisa. Bassanio finally choose correctly and married Portia. Grationo and Nerrisa soon followed suit and so eventually "Both Jason's won their fleece" Lorenzo and Jessica also got together, but in order for them to be with each other Jessica had to escape from her father Shylock. Jessica did not just simply want to run away, but insists on stealing large amounts of her father's money, gold and jewels in the process. ...read more.

Conclusion

Before the trial Antonio's desire was not to keep his life but "Pray God Bassanio come to see me pay his debt, and then I care not." The relationship between Antonio and Bassanio really becomes clear in this section. Antonio literally loves Bassanio and is willing to die for him. This starts to create a conflict between Portia and Antonio. So Portia tests this so called relationship by demanding that he gives her back the ring that he swore he would never part with until he died. But the fact that Bassanio parts with the ring for Antonio's sake suggests that he chose Antonio over Portia. Since this cannot be allowed in the following scene Portia uses the ring trick to force Bassanio to give up Antonio by making him feel untrustworthy and guilty for giving her ring away for a man's sake. The Merchant of Venice would have had a happy ending if it were not for Antonio and Shylock who both remained outsiders. Antonio's final defeat is when Portia hands him his money and his ships at the end, basically telling him to return to Venice and forget about Bassanio and leave them both to live happily ever after. ...read more.

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