The Merchant of Venice is a 16th-century play written by William Shakespeare in which a Bassanio approaches his friend Antonio, a wealthy merchant of Venice who has .. not only over the loss of Bassanio in marriage but also because Bassanio .. Smith, Rob: Cambridge Student Guide to The Merchant of Venice. Get an answer for 'Discuss the relationship between Shylock and Antonio and Before the time of Shakespeare's writing The Merchant of Venice, Jews were. The conflict between Shylock the Jewish moneylender and Antonio the Christian merchant in Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice" is both religious and.
Bassanio, a young Venetian of noble rank, wishes to woo the beautiful and wealthy heiress Portia of Belmont. Having squandered his estate, he needs 3, ducats to subsidise his expenditures as a suitor. Bassanio approaches his friend Antonioa wealthy merchant of Venice who has previously and repeatedly bailed him out. Antonio agrees, but since he is cash-poor — his ships and merchandise are busy at sea to Tripolisthe IndiesMexico and England — he promises to cover a bond if Bassanio can find a lender, so Bassanio turns to the Jewish moneylender Shylock and names Antonio as the loan's guarantor.
Antonio has already antagonized Shylock through his outspoken antisemitism and because Antonio's habit of lending money without interest forces Shylock to charge lower rates. Shylock is at first reluctant to grant the loan, citing abuse he has suffered at Antonio's hand. He finally agrees to lend the sum to Bassanio without interest upon one condition: Bassanio does not want Antonio to accept such a risky condition; Antonio is surprised by what he sees as the moneylender's generosity no "usance" — interest — is asked forand he signs the contract.
With money at hand, Bassanio leaves for Belmont with his friend Gratiano, who has asked to accompany him. Gratiano is a likeable young man, but he is often flippant, overly talkative, and tactless. Bassanio warns his companion to exercise self-control, and the two leave for Belmont. Meanwhile, in Belmont, Portia is awash with suitors. Her father left a will stipulating each of her suitors must choose correctly from one of three caskets — made of gold, silver and lead respectively.
Whoever picks the right casket wins Portia's hand. The first suitor, the Prince of Morocco, chooses the gold casket, interpreting its slogan, "Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire", as referring to Portia.
The second suitor, the conceited Prince of Arragon, chooses the silver casket, which proclaims, "Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves", as he believes he is full of merit. Both suitors leave empty-handed, having rejected the lead casket because of the baseness of its material and the uninviting nature of its slogan, "Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath".
The last suitor is Bassanio, whom Portia wishes to succeed, having met him before. Shylock has become more determined to exact revenge from Christians because his daughter Jessica eloped with the Christian Lorenzo and converted. She took a substantial amount of Shylock's wealth with her, as well as a turquoise ring which Shylock had been given by his late wife, Leah.
Shylock has Antonio brought before court. At Belmont, Bassanio receives a letter telling him that Antonio has been unable to repay the loan from Shylock.
Portia and Bassanio marry, as do Gratiano and Portia's handmaid Nerissa. Bassanio and Gratiano leave for Venicewith money from Portia, to save Antonio's life by offering the money to Shylock. Unknown to Bassanio and Gratiano, Portia sent her servant, Balthazar, to seek the counsel of Portia's cousin, Bellario, a lawyer, at Padua. The climax of the play takes place in the court of the Duke of Venice.
Shylock refuses Bassanio's offer of 6, ducats, twice the amount of the loan. He demands his pound of flesh from Antonio. The Duke, wishing to save Antonio but unable to nullify a contract, refers the case to a visitor. He identifies himself as Balthasar, a young male "doctor of the law", bearing a letter of recommendation to the Duke from the learned lawyer Bellario.
The doctor is Portia in disguise, and the law clerk who accompanies her is Nerissa, also disguised as a man. As Balthasar, Portia repeatedly asks Shylock to show mercy in a famous speechadvising him that mercy "is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes" IV, i, However, Shylock adamantly refuses any compensations and insists on the pound of flesh.
As the court grants Shylock his bond and Antonio prepares for Shylock's knife, Portia deftly appropriates Shylock's argument for "specific performance". She says that the contract allows Shylock to remove only the flesh, not the "blood", of Antonio see quibble.
Thus, if Shylock were to shed any drop of Antonio's blood, his "lands and goods" would be forfeited under Venetian laws. She tells him that he must cut precisely one pound of flesh, no more, no less; she advises him that "if the scale do turn, But in the estimation of a hair, Thou diest and all thy goods are confiscate. She cites a law under which Shylock, as a Jew and therefore an "alien", having attempted to take the life of a citizen, has forfeited his property, half to the government and half to Antonio, leaving his life at the mercy of the Duke.
The Duke pardons Shylock's life. Antonio asks for his share "in use" until Shylock's death, when the principal will be given to Lorenzo and Jessica.
At Antonio's request, the Duke grants remission of the state's half of forfeiture, but on the condition that Shylock convert to Christianity and bequeath his entire estate to Lorenzo and Jessica IV,i. Bassanio does not recognise his disguised wife, but offers to give a present to the supposed lawyer. First she declines, but after he insists, Portia requests his ring and Antonio's gloves. Antonio parts with his gloves without a second thought, but Bassanio gives the ring only after much persuasion from Antonio, as earlier in the play he promised his wife never to lose, sell or give it.
Nerissa, as the lawyer's clerk, succeeds in likewise retrieving her ring from Gratiano, who does not see through her disguise. At Belmont, Portia and Nerissa taunt and pretend to accuse their husbands before revealing they were really the lawyer and his clerk in disguise V. After all the other characters make amends, Antonio learns from Portia that three of his ships were not stranded and have returned safely after all. The title page from a printing of Giovanni Fiorentino's 14th-century tale Il Pecorone The first page of The Merchant of Venice, printed in the Second Folio of The forfeit of a merchant's deadly bond after standing surety for a friend's loan was a common tale in England in the late 16th century.
The play was mentioned by Francis Meres inso it must have been familiar on the stage by that date. The title page of the first edition in states that it had been performed "divers times" by that date.
Salerino's reference to his ship the Andrew I,i,27 is thought to be an allusion to the Spanish ship St. A date of —97 is considered consistent with the play's style.
Antonio (The Merchant of Venice) - Wikipedia
The play was entered in the Register of the Stationers Companythe method at that time of obtaining copyright for a new play, by James Roberts on 22 July under the title The Merchant of Venice, otherwise called The Jew of Venice.
On 28 October Roberts transferred his right to the play to the stationer Thomas Heyes ; Heyes published the first quarto before the end of the year. It was printed again inas part of William Jaggard's so-called False Folio. Afterward, Thomas Heyes' son and heir Laurence Heyes asked for and was granted a confirmation of his right to the play, on 8 July The edition is generally regarded as being accurate and reliable.
Merchant of Venice - Comparing and Contrasting Antonio and Shylock
It is the basis of the text published in the First Foliowhich adds a number of stage directions, mainly musical cues. Critics today still continue to argue over the play's stance on the Jews and Judaism. Shylock and Jessica by Maurycy Gottlieb. Shylock as a villain[ edit ] English society in the Elizabethan era has been described as "judeophobic".
In Venice and in some other places, Jews were required to wear a red hat at all times in public to make sure that they were easily identified, and had to live in a ghetto protected by Christian guards.
One interpretation of the play's structure is that Shakespeare meant to contrast the mercy of the main Christian characters with the vengefulness of a Jew, who lacks the religious grace to comprehend mercy. Similarly, it is possible that Shakespeare meant Shylock's forced conversion to Christianity to be a " happy ending " for the character, as, to a Christian audience, it saves his soul and allows him to enter Heaven.
Antonio has belittled and harassed Shylock in public, and he loathes him because when Christian friends of his owed money to the Jews he paid off the debts, thus depriving them of their interest. Act 2 Antonio makes a brief appearance in this act in scene 6 when he runs into Gratiano and tells him he has twenty people out looking for him. He goes on to say there will be no masque and that Bassanio is at that moment preparing to leave for Belmont to woo Portia.
Act 3 We hear no more from Antonio until after Bassanio wins the hand of the wealthy Portia by correctly guessing which of three caskets holds her portrait. Gratiano proposes to Nerissa, Portia's maid in waiting and friend.
In the midst of his merrymaking he receives a letter detailing Antonio's misfortune. None of the ships have returned to port and as such he has no funds to pay the bond with. His flesh is forfeit to the Jew who is intent on having it.
He insists he does not regret helping Bassanio and even does not wish him to feel guilty. He only asks him to come and attend his death so that he can see him one last time.
Bassanio, along with Gratiano, rushes off with three times the amount owed and his wife's blessing. The gentlemen leave in such a rush that they cannot consummate their marriages. Antonio, with Solanio and the jailer in attendance, tries to reason with Shylock and convince him to stop pursuing payment of the flesh, but to no avail. Further angered by the elopement and conversion of his daughter Jessica to one of Antonio's Christian friends, Shylock is more determined than ever on revenge.
Shylock looks to the law to allow him to fulfill in a legal manner his murderous intent. Antonio is not optimistic about his chances remarking that "The Duke cannot deny the course of law.
As Jews were considered foreigners the fair adjudication of Shylock's contract was necessary to keep secure the trade of the city. Act 4 We begin this act with Antonio's trial. The Duke pleads with Shylock to give "a gentle answer", a double entendre on the word Gentile, which meant someone not a Jew. Shylock refuses to deny his bond. Bassanio and Gratiano are in attendance and advocate strongly that the Jew be thwarted by any means necessary.
Bassanio attempts to bribe him with three times the amount of the bond. Shylock says he will have nothing but his pound of flesh. All is lost until Portia and Nerissa arrive in the guise of young men pretending to be a learned doctor Balthasar and his clerk. Portia pleads for mercy and getting no further than the previous applicants she seems at first to confirm the strength of the bond and tells Antonio to prepare to pay it.
When all seems hopeless Bassanio declares his despair: Antonio, I am married to a wife Which is as dear to me as life itself; But life itself, my wife, and all the world Are not with me esteemed above thy life, I would lose all, ay sacrifice them all Here to this devil, to deliver you. Shylock is foiled by Portia who points out that there is a loophole in his contract.
He omitted the request to shed blood in taking the pound of flesh. As it is not possible for him to remove the flesh without taking blood which he did not ask for the bond is forfeit.