Theme Of Risk In The Merchant Of Venice

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Risk is a situation that involves the possibility of exposure to dangers. Risks exist everywhere, even the most minute of actions can place someone in jeopardy. It is an inescapable labyrinth that plagues the lives of all ever since the dawn of humanity. Yet its double-edged sword like characteristics of also providing opportunities and gains keeps many enthralled in it. In William Shakespeare 's The Merchant of Venice, Antonio, a protagonist, gives himself over to a life-threatening contract with the villain, Shylock the Jew, in order to provide the means for one of Antonio’s friends to woo a lady. Over the course of the play, various risky opportunities and events also expose other relationships as a means of satisfying wants and outcomes, …show more content…
Portia, in her decision to trust in her father’s Will, observes to the instruction which dictates that her husband is to be the one who chooses the correct casket in a lottery between chests of gold, silver and lead. Portia, who initially worries about her predicament during the exposition part of the play, is reassured by Nerissa, her confidante, who claims the method will work as her father “was ever virtuous, and holy men/ at their death have good inspirations” (1.2.27-28). Nerissa alludes to the common beliefs of the time where the dying is greater intellectually than the average due to their nearness to God; thus, explaining to Portia that although she may see her father’s casket method as utter nonsense, her father’s intelligence will no doubt allow only the right suitor to choose his daughter. Portia’s faith and trust in her father are great enough for her to hand over herself to him and her belief in this earns her the marriage between her and Bassanio. Another father and child relationship is between Shylock and his daughter, Jessica, which is significantly different from the previous pair. Shylock, unlike Portia’s father, does not care the least about Jessica who, although knowing hating her father is a “heinous sin” (2.3.16), remarks before escaping that their “house is hell, and [Shylock], a merry devil” (2.3.2). Shylock’s apathetic relationship with Jessica prompts her to feel shameful simply because she is his daughter, which kindles the flame for her to run away. Shylock risks a great deal by not paying attention to his own child just to benefit his selfish desires, not only did Jessica run away, Shylock’s further actions condemn him to losing much of his properties to her as well. In summary, the relationships between fathers and children in The Merchant of Venice are direct results of one’s willingness to wager for the

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