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Critical Essay: Merchant of Venice

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Merchant of Venice is a play in the 16th century that was written by the infamous writer, Shakespeare. Just like many other of his play, the story is The Merchant of Venice is classified as a tragicomedy, because it shares features in common with comedies but also contains the kind of dark elements we typically find in tragedies. The story was written in poets. Shakespeare has always made sure that he impresses his audiences, therefore the theme that Merchant of Venice portrays is in favor of the Christians whose power were over the Jews at the time. The play shows how both religions conceived in the old time.

Bassanio needs three thousand ducats in order to travel to Belmont in hopes of wooing Portia. His close friend Antonio, a wealthy merchant, asks a Jewish moneylender named Shylock to loan him the money to give to Bassanio because his wealth is invested in ships that are currently out at sea. Shylock agrees to loan Antonio the money under the condition that if he forfeits on the loan, Antonio will owe him a pound of his flesh. After Bassanio successfully woos Portia, he learns that Antonio’s ships have wrecked and he will be forced to give a pound of flesh to Shylock. Bassanio then has to go to Venice, Portia follows him disguised as a young doctor named Balthazar and presents a clever argument that prevents Shylock from exacting the pound of flesh. At the end of the play, half of Shylock’s fortune is taken and he must convert to Christianity.

There is a method to the madness that is Shakespearean Comedy. Every Comedy has an outline and “The Merchant of Venice” is no exception. This highly social dilemma centers on the pursuit of love and money and concludes with the joyous acquisition of just that. But while beautiful people pursue beautiful things, something dark is going on beneath and made light of through Shakespearean wit. The sources of human identity are probed as a Venetian moneylender transforms into the monster he is pressured to become and a beautiful heiress mutates mercy and justice into wicked trickery. Portia’s plea for mercy in the fourth act is the most poetic and moving speech in all of this play and it is in comparison to this oration that the disturbing undertones of “The Merchant of Venice” become the most apparent.

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