The Merchant of Venice Essay - Positive and Negative aspects of 3 characters in the play

Essay by Ice_CubeHigh School, 10th gradeA, January 2005

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In this world of deceptive appearances, motives, and beliefs, the ability to be able to understand the complexity of human beings is simply a not-so-common skill. When William Shakespeare wrote, The Merchant of Venice, he included characters which are neither good nor evil; instead, in order to make the play more realistic and create metaphors for real life situations, Shakespeare created the characters with both positive and negative aspects, as the same applies in real life. In this essay, the positive and negative aspects of Antonio, Portia, and Shylock will be discussed, and the effect of these aspects on the total outcome of the play.

Shakespeare was successful in creating many complex characters in The Merchant of Venice, although from my point of view, Antonio is one of the less complex characters introduced in this play. Antonio is a good and generous man, who promises to pay shylock the money borrowed by Bassanio or else allow shylock to cut off a pound of his flesh.

This risk that Antonio is brave enough to take upon is a great example of Antonio's devotion to Bassanio, and his generosity to the person who Antonio loves the most in this play. Although Antonio's part in the play is rather a passive one, he very much shows his hatred to Shylock, the money-usurer. Antonio simply does not comply with the Jew's occupation, and his religion, and shows his hate towards Shylock. He makes him "To quit the fine for one half oh his goods... He presently become a Christian... The other, that he do record a gift, here in the court, of all he dies possessed unto his son Lorenzo and his daughter". Because of these, Shylock is utterly defeated in the trial scene. It is correct to observe that Antonio did...