The Merchant of Venice - Wikipedia
and find homework help for other The Merchant of Venice questions at eNotes. The relationship between Antonio and Shylock is contentious; Antonio is heroic. Bassanio assures Shylock that Antonio will guarantee the loan, but Shylock is less romantic side to Antonio, and our sympathies for him cannot help but lessen. Though the Christian characters of The Merchant of Venice may view Jews as . Merchant of venice, discuss the relationship between shylock and antonio in Merchant Of Venice Essay In this essay, I will be studying Act 1 Scene 1 and also .
The doctor is Portia in disguise, and the law clerk who accompanies her is Nerissa, also disguised as a man. As Balthasar, Portia repeatedly asks Shylock to show mercy in a famous speechadvising him that mercy "is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes" IV, i, However, Shylock adamantly refuses any compensations and insists on the pound of flesh.
As the court grants Shylock his bond and Antonio prepares for Shylock's knife, Portia deftly appropriates Shylock's argument for "specific performance". She says that the contract allows Shylock to remove only the flesh, not the "blood", of Antonio see quibble. Thus, if Shylock were to shed any drop of Antonio's blood, his "lands and goods" would be forfeited under Venetian laws. She tells him that he must cut precisely one pound of flesh, no more, no less; she advises him that "if the scale do turn, But in the estimation of a hair, Thou diest and all thy goods are confiscate.
She cites a law under which Shylock, as a Jew and therefore an "alien", having attempted to take the life of a citizen, has forfeited his property, half to the government and half to Antonio, leaving his life at the mercy of the Duke.
The Duke pardons Shylock's life.
Kinsmen or "Cousins"
Antonio asks for his share "in use" until Shylock's death, when the principal will be given to Lorenzo and Jessica. At Antonio's request, the Duke grants remission of the state's half of forfeiture, but on the condition that Shylock convert to Christianity and bequeath his entire estate to Lorenzo and Jessica IV,i. Bassanio does not recognise his disguised wife, but offers to give a present to the supposed lawyer.
First she declines, but after he insists, Portia requests his ring and Antonio's gloves. Antonio parts with his gloves without a second thought, but Bassanio gives the ring only after much persuasion from Antonio, as earlier in the play he promised his wife never to lose, sell or give it. Nerissa, as the lawyer's clerk, succeeds in likewise retrieving her ring from Gratiano, who does not see through her disguise.
At Belmont, Portia and Nerissa taunt and pretend to accuse their husbands before revealing they were really the lawyer and his clerk in disguise V. After all the other characters make amends, Antonio learns from Portia that three of his ships were not stranded and have returned safely after all. The title page from a printing of Giovanni Fiorentino's 14th-century tale Il Pecorone The first page of The Merchant of Venice, printed in the Second Folio of The forfeit of a merchant's deadly bond after standing surety for a friend's loan was a common tale in England in the late 16th century.
The play was mentioned by Francis Meres inso it must have been familiar on the stage by that date. The title page of the first edition in states that it had been performed "divers times" by that date.
Salerino's reference to his ship the Andrew I,i,27 is thought to be an allusion to the Spanish ship St. A date of —97 is considered consistent with the play's style. The play was entered in the Register of the Stationers Companythe method at that time of obtaining copyright for a new play, by James Roberts on 22 July under the title The Merchant of Venice, otherwise called The Jew of Venice.
On 28 October Roberts transferred his right to the play to the stationer Thomas Heyes ; Heyes published the first quarto before the end of the year. It was printed again inas part of William Jaggard's so-called False Folio.
Afterward, Thomas Heyes' son and heir Laurence Heyes asked for and was granted a confirmation of his right to the play, on 8 July The edition is generally regarded as being accurate and reliable.
It is the basis of the text published in the First Foliowhich adds a number of stage directions, mainly musical cues. Critics today still continue to argue over the play's stance on the Jews and Judaism. Shylock and Jessica by Maurycy Gottlieb.
Shylock as a villain[ edit ] English society in the Elizabethan era has been described as "judeophobic". In Venice and in some other places, Jews were required to wear a red hat at all times in public to make sure that they were easily identified, and had to live in a ghetto protected by Christian guards.
One interpretation of the play's structure is that Shakespeare meant to contrast the mercy of the main Christian characters with the vengefulness of a Jew, who lacks the religious grace to comprehend mercy.
Similarly, it is possible that Shakespeare meant Shylock's forced conversion to Christianity to be a " happy ending " for the character, as, to a Christian audience, it saves his soul and allows him to enter Heaven. The Nazis used the usurious Shylock for their propaganda. Shortly after Kristallnacht inThe Merchant of Venice was broadcast for propagandistic ends over the German airwaves.
Antonio (The Merchant of Venice) - Wikipedia
This was the first known attempt by a dramatist to reverse the negative stereotype that Shylock personified. With slight variations much of English literature up until the 20th century depicts the Jew as "a monied, cruel, lecherous, avaricious outsider tolerated only because of his golden hoard".
Many modern readers and theatregoers have read the play as a plea for tolerance, noting that Shylock is a sympathetic character. They cite as evidence that Shylock's "trial" at the end of the play is a mockery of justice, with Portia acting as a judge when she has no right to do so.
The characters who berated Shylock for dishonesty resort to trickery in order to win. In addition, Shakespeare gives Shylock one of his most eloquent speeches: Why, I am sure, if he forfeit, thou wilt not take his flesh. What's that good for? To bait fish withal; if it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies — and what's his reason?
I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is?
If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?
And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? The villainy you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction. One of the reasons for this interpretation is that Shylock's painful status in Venetian society is emphasised.
To some critics, Shylock's celebrated "Hath not a Jew eyes? The Christians in the courtroom urge Shylock to love his enemies, although they themselves have failed in the past. Jewish critic Harold Bloom suggests that, although the play gives merit to both cases, the portraits are not even-handed: In his plays and poetry Shakespeare often depicted strong male bonds of varying homosocialitywhich has led some critics to infer that Bassanio returns Antonio's affections despite his obligation to marry: Commend me to your honourable wife: Tell her the process of Antonio's end, Say how I lov'd you, speak me fair in death; And, when the tale is told, bid her be judge Whether Bassanio had not once a love.
Also supporting the homosocial argument is the issue of the ring. Portia gives Bassanio a ring before he leaves Belmont. She tells him that the ring symbolizes all the love she has for him and that he should never give it up, for if he does, he has forsaken her for another. In this age, unlike modern times, the man usually gave the woman a ring, but not vice versa.
Portia giving Bassanio the ring is more a symbol of her dominance in the relationship, but it becomes important to the argument for a homosocial relationship between Antonio and Bassanio. Bassanio left Belmont for the purpose of saving Antonio, but his efforts seem futile. In this act, Portia also hands Antonio his revenge on Shylock, whom she proves has planned the death of Antonio. Portia declines the money, but demands the ring she gave to Bassanio.
Bassanio at first refuses to give up the ring, but Antonio convinces him to give it up.
Playgoers must ask themselves the question: Does he love Portia at all? These are the questions raised by the incident with the ring. One also wonders if Antonio is jealous of Portia.
One must wonder, however, if the relationship between Antonio and Bassanio is just friendship. The pair seem to roam within the same social circles and have many of the same friends. Further, if the relationship was homosocial, would Bassanio have married Portia in the first place? By his marriage, Bassanio cuts off any chance of his relationship with Antonio growing into the realm of the sexual.
The few things that refute this argument are the same things that lend themselves to a homosocial relationship between Bassanio and Antonio. There is, however, one last argument, and its roots are in an anomaly. There is one line in The Merchant of Venice that could possibly destroy either of these two arguments, and that line reads: The term kinsman in Shakespeare often refers to a cousin.
This means that the line could further bolster the homosocial argument. William Shakespeare has been dead for centuries, thus one cannot ask him what the nature of the relationship was. In truth, it should be left up to the playgoer to decide what they think the true nature of the relationship is, because it will cause the play to mean more to them if they decide for themselves. If a play causes the viewer to think for themselves about the play, to try to fathom the facets of the story, then the play is far more effective.
The relationship, however, whatever its true form may be, is important to the play as a whole. Without the relationship between Bassanio and Antonio, there would have two stories in the play, neither of them having any bearing on the other.
In truth, neither of the stories could have occurred without the relationship. This is because the one of the acts that sets both stories in motion is Bassanio asking Antonio for money.
If Antonio had not lent Bassanio the 3, ducats, Bassanio would not have been able to go to Belmont to win Portia.
In essence, the play would not have occurred without whatever sort of relationship Bassanio and Antonio had.
Shakespeare left the playgoer or the reader so many clues to the nature of the relationship between Antonio and Bassanio that it is impossible for one to fathom exactly what the nature of the relationship was. There are three clear arguments for the nature of the relationship, the first that the relationship was homosocial, the second that it was just friendship, and the third that they truly were kin. Without whatever relationship they had, the major conflicts in The Merchant of Venice never would have been possible because the underlying force behind the play was the relationship between Bassanio and Antonio.
Although one cannot prove which stand is true, the fact will always remain that the relationship was important to the story, as well as know that there would not be a story without the relationship of Bassanio and Antonio.
The answers are up to the one who watches or reads the play, and when one believes something and figures that something out for themselves, it is very hard to convince them that they are wrong. Works Cited Shakespeare, William. The Merchant of Venice.