Merchant Of Venice Critical Essay Introduction

Even though the law is in Shylock’s favour, which the Christian characters also acknowledge, they still expect him to show mercy even though it means the violation of the contract.

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In Act III, Scene I, Shylock’s dissatisfaction is not due to the monetary loss of the ring, rather the fact that his daughter sold the token of love from his dead wife.

Hence, we see that certain human relationships do seem to hold more importance in Shylock’s life than money.

One of the highlights of The Merchant of Venice themes was Shylock’s argument.

He eloquently states that Jews, just like Christians, are human beings.

Therefore, there is a constant conflict of the themes love and self interest.

Hence this is the central theme of The Merchant of Venice.Equally complicated is the case of the Christian characters of The Merchant of Venice.One of the major Merchant of Venice themes being love versus money, we do see some materialistic views in the apparently ‘good’ characters too.Antonio’s hate for Shylock, the latter argues, is only because of his religious identity.Hence, even though the Christians speak about mercy the most, in fact, they are showing prejudice towards Shylock.Hence in Shylock’s case, greed overpowers compassion.However, when we inspect closely, this difference between the two opposite characters breaks down.The main theme of The Merchant of Venice is the conflict between self interest and love.On the surface level, the major difference between Shylock the Jew and the Christian characters of the play is their level of compassion.We also see that Shylock makes a strange demand from Antonio- a pound of his flesh in exchange of money.Hence, we can conclude that Shylock’s resentment is much deeper rooted than his monetary greed.


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