Merchant of Venice Themes

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  • Merchant of Venice themes
    • Love
    • Loss
      • First of all, Antonio has supposedly lost all of his ships at sea.
      • Shylock loses many things throughout the play
        • He loses his servant Launcelot who hated Jews and went to work for Bassanio instead.
      • Portias two suitors who choose the incorrect casket lose the chance to marry Portia because of their materialistic views.
    • Mercy and justice
      • A small amount of mercy is shown by Antonio towards Shylock as he lets Shylock keep half of his wealth.
        • However, Antonio does say that in doing this Shylock must become a Christian and leave his property to Jessica and Lorenzo. This shows Antonio isn't as merciful as we thought.
      • The Duke gives mercy when he allows Shylock his life. The Duke seems to be biased towards Antonio and says to Shylock 'He shall do this, or else I do recant the pardon that I late pronounced here.'
      • In the courtroom Portia gives a speech to Shylock persuading him to give mercy to  Antonio.
        • In this she says ' The quality of mercy is not strain'd; It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath: it is twice bless'd; It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.'
          • This means that really mercy is not that hard to show and it is a gift given from heaven.
          • 'Shall seize one half his goods; the other half comes to privy coffer of the state.' shows that now Portia won't even give Shylock his money and she won't let him back out now.
            • She won't even give Shylock any mercy after having asked him to give mercy.
    • Friendship
      • Gratanio and Bassanio are willing to help Lorenzo in his plan to elope with Jessica.
        • Lorenzo is shown to be a trusted friend as Portia leaves him in charge of her estate whilst she goes away.
      • Antonia is willing to show kindness as he lends his money to his friend Bassanio so he can go to marry a woman in Belmont.
  • Marriage
    • Portia marries Bassanio after he chooses the correct casket
    • Nerissa and Gratanio
    • Love
  • Lorenzo and Jessica
    • Even though they have different backgrounds they are still able to love each other
    • Marriage
      • Portia marries Bassanio after he chooses the correct casket
      • Nerissa and Gratanio
  • He is worried as if all of his ships are lost  it is very unlikely that he will be able to pay Shylock back his money.
    • In the end he is able to be set free from the contract as Portia finds a loop hole in the bond and also we learn that he hasn't lost all of his ships and they bring back lots of money for him.
    • First of all, Antonio has supposedly lost all of his ships at sea.
  • Gratanio and Bassanio are willing to help Lorenzo in his plan to elope with Jessica.
    • Lorenzo is shown to be a trusted friend as Portia leaves him in charge of her estate whilst she goes away.
  • Hate/ racial prejudice
    • Most of this theme revolves around the hate shown between Christians and Jews.
      • Antonio shows hate and racial prejudice towards Shylock because Shylock is a Jew.
      • Shylock hates Christians because of the way that they mistreat him.
        • Because of this he wants a pound of Antonios flesh to try to kill him and have his revenge.
        • He also hates Jews because they lend money free of interest and therefore they take away his business.
        • He says to Antonio, ' You call me a misbeliever' and 'spit upon my Jewish gaberdine.'
          • This shows the disrespect between the two religions and Antonio seems to show no regret for doing any of these things.
    • Merchant of Venice themes
      • Loss
        • Shylock loses many things throughout the play
          • He loses his servant Launcelot who hated Jews and went to work for Bassanio instead.
        • Portias two suitors who choose the incorrect casket lose the chance to marry Portia because of their materialistic views.
      • Mercy and justice
        • A small amount of mercy is shown by Antonio towards Shylock as he lets Shylock keep half of his wealth.
          • However, Antonio does say that in doing this Shylock must become a Christian and leave his property to Jessica and Lorenzo. This shows Antonio isn't as merciful as we thought.
        • The Duke gives mercy when he allows Shylock his life. The Duke seems to be biased towards Antonio and says to Shylock 'He shall do this, or else I do recant the pardon that I late pronounced here.'
        • In the courtroom Portia gives a speech to Shylock persuading him to give mercy to  Antonio.
          • In this she says ' The quality of mercy is not strain'd; It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath: it is twice bless'd; It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.'
            • This means that really mercy is not that hard to show and it is a gift given from heaven.
            • 'Shall seize one half his goods; the other half comes to privy coffer of the state.' shows that now Portia won't even give Shylock his money and she won't let him back out now.
              • She won't even give Shylock any mercy after having asked him to give mercy.
      • Friendship
        • Antonia is willing to show kindness as he lends his money to his friend Bassanio so he can go to marry a woman in Belmont.
  • Shylock shows no mercy to Antonio and still demands that he have his pound of flesh.
    • Even when he is offered lots of money Shylock shows no sign of giving in to what he is standing for.

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