Essay on The Merchant Of Venice By William Shakespeare

1356 Words Nov 1st, 2015 6 Pages
‘The merchant of Venice’ essay

Shakespeare’s controversial play, ‘the merchant of Venice’ conveys a tale of determination and persecution including themes such as anti-Semitism justice and inequality against women. The tragic ‘comedy’ is set in 16th century Venice of which was considered the most prosperous city in all of Europe. Although Shakespeare does follow the model of a comedy, the vengeance, sickening plot and hunger for justice mean that it still remains today one of the most divisive of Shakespeare’s plays. As a modern audience we can see these themes being portrayed in Michael Radford’s adaptation of the ‘merchant of Venice’. The refreshing, rare movie shows ideas being contested, assumptions questioned and the constant division within society being portrayed. Central to the story, Shylock is a Jew in Venice who of which constantly receives verbal abuse from Christians. However many could argue that he receives verbal abuse for reasons other than his religion, so throughout the film the audience is constantly troubled with the idea of Shylock being a victim or a villain.
In act one scene three Shakespeare at first presents Shylock as a devoted friend and a religious bigot to a malefactor and vengeful character. In this scene we see a powerful speech given by Shylock; ‘How like a fawning publican he looks. I hate him for he is a Christian…He lends out money gratis, and brings down the rate of usance here with us in Venice’. Not only does Shakespeare show the hate…

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