The Merchant of Venice The play The Merchant of Venice is a comedy about a man named Bassanio who wants to travel to Belmont to try and win the love of a rich, beautiful and intelligent heiress, names Portia. Bassanio has his friend Antonio borrow money from a Jewish money lender for him so that he could travel to Belmont. The Merchant of Venice has many different themes, including the two themes; revenge & love and friendship. The first theme in the play The Merchant of Venice is revenge.
In the beginning of the play, Shylock (the Jewish money lender) tells the audience of his hatred for Antonio. Shylock hated Antonio for many reasons. Antonio had disgraced him, hindered him half a million, laughed at his losses, mocked his success, scorned his nationality, and more, but Antonio was in need of money to help out his friend Bassanio. Bassanio had asked Antonio for the money, but Antonio could not give it to him. He told Bassanio that he could borrow from a money lender, in his credit and he would pay the money back.
Even though Shylock disliked Antonio, he agreed to lend the money on one condition, If the money was not paid on time, Shylock was entitled to one pound of flesh from anywhere on Antonio’s body. Antonio agreed and signed the bond because he knew that he had ships with money and they would be back before the bond was up. Shylock made his dislike of Antonio very clear, and that he would have his revenge if the money was not paid. The second example of revenge shown in the play was during the trial scene. Antonio had gotten news of his ships crashing before their returns.
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Antonio was not able to pay the bond off. Shylock had him arrested and taken to court. During the trial, Bassanio and Portia (dressed as a lawyer) tried to convince Shylock to take two, three, or even four times the amount of the bond. Shylock refused, he was set o his revenge on Antonio. Shylock had no mercy for Antonio. Portia however convinced the duke that Shylock was not allowed to draw blood with with pound of flesh, making his condition impossible. The duke realized that Shylock would show no mercy, so he would not get his revenge. That is how the play The Merchant of Venice shows the theme of revenge.
The second theme is Love and Friendship. There are many friendships and relationships in The Merchant of Venice. Antonio and Bassanio have a strong friendship. Antonio risked his life by signing the bond that said if he did not pay the money on time, Shylock was entitled to one pound of his flesh. He did this so that his best friend Bassanio could go to Belmont to win the love of Portia. Antonio must have really valued the friendship they had to risk his own life for Bassanio. Bassanio and Antonio’s friendship helped build the main romantic relationship between Portia and Bassanio.
Portia was an heiress whose father passed away and had written in his will that Portia would marry the man who could correctly choose the portrait of Portia from one of three caskets. This is why Bassanio wanted to go to Belmont for Portia. He was confident that he would be the one of all the suitors who attempted to choose the correct casket. In the end, Bassanio chose the correct casket and won Portia’s love. They got married and had a happy ending. In conclusion, I believe that the two main themes showed in The Merchant of Venice, are revenge & love and romance.
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