The Merchant of Venice - Critical Evaluation.

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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.”

   But it was the revenge that cost Shylock so dearly. At the trial he scorned an offer from Bassanio of three times the original loan because he wanted to kill Antonio so much for all that he had done to him. And in the end he was left cursing when all that he had ever loved was removed from him.

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   Love played a very important part in the play with six of the main characters in the play eventually paring off with each other. First of all Bassanio went off in pursuit of a “wealthy heiress” in Belmont called Portia, and he wasn’t the first. Portia’s father (who was deceased at this point) must have seen this coming for in his will he had left Portia tied-up in a lottery in which the winner would receive her hand in marriage. In this lottery there were three caskets to choose from, one of gold, one of silver and the other ...

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