The Merchant of Venice is a play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1596 and 1598. Though classified as a comedy in the First Folio and sharing certain aspects with Shakespearean other romantic comedies, the play is perhaps most remembered for its dramatic scenes, and is best known for Shylock ND the famous “Hath not a Jew eyes? ” speech. Also notable is Portrait’s speech about “the quality of mercy”. The title character is the merchant Antonio, not the Jewish moneylender Shylock, who is the plays most prominent and most famous character.
This is made explicit by the title page of the first quarto: “The most excellent History of the Merchant of Venice. With the extreme cruelty of Shylock the Jew towards the Merchant… ” Mention below is all the characters in the play. Antonio – a merchant of Venice Bassoon – Notation’s friend; suitor to Portia Gratin, Isolation, Salaries, Salaries – friends of Antonio and Bassoon Lorenz – friend f Antonio and Bassoon, in love with Jessica Portia – a rich heiress Nearness – Portrait’s walling mall- In love Witt Granulation Blather – Portrait’s servant, who Portia later disguises herself as Stephan disguise as Blizzard’s law clerk.
Shylock – a rich Jew, moneylender, father of Jessica Jessica – daughter of Shylock, in love with Lorenz Tuba – a Jew; Schlock’s friend Lancelot Gobo – a servant to Shylock Old Gobo – father of Lancelot Leonardo – servant to Bassoon – Inertia’s Duke of Venice – Venetian authority who presides over the case of Schlock’s bond Prince of Morocco – suitor to Portia Prince of Argon – suitor to Portia Magnificent of Venice, officers of the Court of Justice, Cooler, servants to Portia, and other Attendants Character Analysis of the Major Characters…
The major characters of the play the Merchant of Venice are Antonio, Shylock, Portia and Bassoon. Most of the plot seems to revolve around them. Shylock Shylock is the most vivid and memorable character in The Merchant of Venice, and he is one of Shakespearean greatest dramatic creations. On stage, it is Shylock who makes the play, and almost all of the great actors of the English and Continental stage have attempted the role. But the character of Shylock has also been the subject of much critical debate: How are we meant to evaluate the attitude of the Venetians in the play toward him?
Or his attitude toward them? Is he a bloodthirsty villain? Or is he a man “more sinned against than sinning”? One of the reasons that such questions arise is that there are really two stage Shylock in the play: first, there is the stage “villain” who is required for the plot; second, there is the human being who suffers the loss of his daughter, his property, and, very importantly for him, his religion. Schlock’s function in this play is to be the obstacle, the man who stands in he way of the love stories; such a man is a traditional figure in romantic comedies.
Something or someone must impede young, romantic love; here, it is Shylock and the many and various ways that he is linked to the three sets of lovers. The fact that he is a Jew is, in a sense, accidental. Shakespeare wanted to contrast liberality against selfishness вЂ” in terms of money and in terms of love. There was such a figure available from the literature of the time, one man who could fulfill both functions: this man would be a usurer, or moneylender, with a beautiful daughter that he held onto as tightly as he did his ducats.
Usury was forbidden to Christians by the church of the Middle Ages, and as a consequence, money lending was controlled by the Jews; as a rule, it was usually the only occupation which the law allowed to them. As a result, a great deal of medieval literature produced the conventional figure of the Jewels moneylender, usually as a melon Contracted, out also too, as a major Contracted. It is from this medieval literary tradition that Shakespeare borrows the figure of Shylock, Just as Marlowe did for his Jew of Malta.
Some commentators have said that the character of Shylock is an example of Elizabethan (and Shakespearean own) anti- Semitism. In contrast, many have seen the creation of Shylock as an attack on this kind of intolerance. But Shakespeare, they forget, was a dramatist. He was not concerned with either anti- nor pro-Semitism, except in the way it shaped individual characters in his plays to produce the necessary drama that he was attempting to create. The play is thus emphatically not anti-Semitic; rather, because of the nature of Schlock’s involvement in the love plots, it is about anti-Semitism.
Shakespeare never seriously defined or condemned a group through the presentation of an individual; he only did this for the purposes of comedy by creating caricatures in miniature for our amusement. Shylock is drawn in bold strokes; he is meant to be a “villain” in terms of the romantic comedy, but because of the multi-dimensionality which Shakespeare gives him, we are meant to sympathize with him at times, loathe him at others. Shakespearean manipulation of our emotions regarding Shylock is a testament to his genius as a creator of character. When Shylock leaves the courtroom in Act ‘V, Scene 1, he is stripped of all that he has.
He is a defeated man. Yet we cannot feel deep sympathy for him вЂ” some, perhaps, but not much. Shakespearean intention was not to make Shylock a tragic figure; instead, Shylock was meant to function as a man who could be vividly realized as the epitome of selfishness; he must be defeated in this romantic comedy. In a sense, it is Shakespearean own brilliance which led him to create Shylock as almost too human. Shylock is powerfully drawn, perhaps too powerfully for this comedy, but his superb dignity is admirable, despite the fact that we must finally condemn him. Perhaps the poet W.
H. Aden has given us our best clue as to how we must deal with Shylock: “Those to whom evil is done,” he says, “do evil in return. This explains in a few words much of the moneylender’s complexity and our complex reactions toward him. Antonio Antonio is the merchant of Venice, the titular protagonist of the play. He is about forty years of age and has lived his life to the fullest. He is a successful businessman, owning a fleet of trade ships. Surprisingly, Antonio appears in relatively few scenes of the play, but he is the driving force behind much of the action.
Antonio is the model Christian, as defined by Elizabethan society. He represents, among other things, the ideal of nobility in friendship. He is also kind and generous, both to his friends and to he poor of Venice. Although he is now more philosophical, gentle, and quiet, he can still appreciate the frivolous nature of youth, as portrayed by his beloved friend, Bassoon. Aside from his love for Bassoon, he is unattached. Perhaps his lack of love is the reason for his melancholy. Notation’s principles are against the borrowing or lending of money for profit.
He reflects the medieval attitude that money should be lent for Christian charity. His noble generosity for his friend, however, leads him to cast aside these principles and to take a loan from the merchant, Shylock. He borrows money and pledges his flesh as the bond. When his ships are lost at sea, he cannot repay the loan and accepts the fact that he must pay Shylock with a pound of his flesh. Notation’s warmth and generosity, however, save him. Portia, who has married Bassoon, comes to Notation’s aid. Even though she has never met Antonio, she loves ml Tort Nils generosity to near NASDAQ. Née appears In court as a young, Intelligent lawyer and turns the law against Shylock, saving Bassoon’s dear friend in the process. Antonio, with characteristic generosity and mercy, spares the life of Shylock and gives the Jews wealth to Lorenz and Jessica, the rightful heirs. Notation’s good fortune continues when he learns that his ships are not lost at sea, but have returned laden with goods. As the symbol of Christian warmth, kindness, generosity, and love, Antonio truly receives his Just reward during the play when all turns out well for him.
Portia Like Antonio, Portia is an example of nobility. She is a fair-haired beauty with an immense power to attract. Her goodness and virtue enhance her beauty. Unlike Antonio, she is not passive, but displays energy and determination. In many ways, hers is the more forceful figure in the play. Her authority and control with which she leas and manipulates the circumstances of the play are exemplary. In Belmont, the terms of her father’s will leave her without any choice in her future husband, and she is saddened that she does not have an appropriate mate.
As a dutiful daughter, however, she is compelled to accept her father’s wishes. Despite her dissatisfaction with her circumstances, she has a cheerful and optimistic nature. She is clever with words and wit and enjoys the opportunity of performing, both in Belmont and Venice. She uses her wonderful ability with words and her keen sense of humor to enliven the scenes in which she appears. Her treatment of her money reflects Bassoon’s belief that money is to be used only in the sense of helping loved ones.
She proves she is unselfish and generous. Her happiness and Notation’s meet in Bassoon. Her ideal of mercy is unselfish generosity and she shows an understanding of Christian values. As a Christian gentlewoman, she considers it her duty to show Shylock the foolishness of his exact interpretation of the law that has no mercy. She dresses as a young lawyer and goes to court to defend Antonio. Like Shylock has demanded, she strictly interprets the law and disallows the Jew from taking a drop of Notation’s blood hen he takes his pound of flesh.
Since this is impossible, Shylock begs to Just be given money, but Portia is unrelenting. She cites another law that states any alien who tries to take the life of a Venetian is to lose all of his money, which will be split between the state and the person who was to be killed. As a result, Shylock loses all of his wealth. Portia has cleverly tricked Shylock at his own game. Portia is the most multi-dimensional character in the play, alternating between a beautiful woman in the remote setting of Belmont and the authoritative lawyer in Venice, who orchestrates the victory of good over evil.
Bassoon Bassoon’s character is more fully drawn than Notation’s, but it does not possess the powerful individuality that Shakespeare gives to his portraits of Portia and Shylock. First off, when one begins considering Bassoon, one should dismiss all the critics who condemn him for his financial habits. Bassoon’s request to Antonio for more money is perfectly natural for him. He is young; he is in love; and he is, by nature, impulsive and romantic. Young men in love have often gone into debt; thus Bassoon has always borrowed money and, furthermore, no moral stigma should be involved.
Shakespeare needs Just such a character in this play for his plot. If Bassoon is not a powerful hero, he is certainly a sympathetic one. First, he has some of the most memorable verse in the play вЂ” language which has music, richness, and dignity. Second , née snows us Nils Immediate, inculcated generosity Ana love; t especially obvious when Bassoon, who has Just won Portia, receives the letter telling him of Notation’s danger. Bassoon is immediately and extremely concerned over the fate of Antonio and is anxious to do whatever is possible for his friend.
Here, the tuition is melodramatic and calls for a romantic, seemingly impossible, rescue mission. When at last Bassoon and Portia are reunited, he speaks forthrightly and truthfully to her. He refuses to implicate Antonio, even though it was at Notation’s urging that he gave away his wedding ring to the Judge who cleverly saved Notation’s life: “If you did know,” he tells Portia, “for what I gave the ring / And how unwillingly I left the ring … You would abate the strength of your displeasure. ” No matter how powerful the circumstances, he admits that he was wrong to part with the ring cause he had given his oath to Portia to keep it.
As the play ends, Bassoon’s impetuous nature is once more stage-center. Speaking to his wife, he vows: “Portia, forgive me this enforced wrong; … And by my soul I swear / I never more will break an oath with thee. ” Of course, he will; this, however, is part of Bassoon’s charm. He meaner it with all his heart when he swears to Portia, but when the next opportunity arises and he is called on to rashly undertake some adventure full of dash and daring, he’ll be off. Portia knows this also and loves him deeply, despite this minor flaw.