Notes on "Merchant of Venice" by William Shakespeare

Essay by sanaa622 July 2007

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Usury was discussed in Act 1 Scene 3 between Shylock and Antonio. Shylock is a moneylender and he charges interest on his loans. Antonio dislikes his way of money-lending and dislikes him too because of that and his religion. Antonio lends money for free to people who owe Shylock, and Shylock hates him because of that. When Bassanio comes to Shylock for a loan by the name of Antonio, he wants to get back at him and agrees to give him money but only if he signs the bond saying that if the money isn’t paid back on time, Antonio is to give a pound of his own flesh to Shylock.

Good friendship was shown in Act III Scene 2 between Antonio and Bassanio. Antonio agrees to sign the bond that Shylock made because Bassanio needed the money badly and he was confident that he would be able to pay him back before time.

Bassanio travels all the way to Belmont for his love Portia and wins her and marries her. But when he hears that Antonio’s ships were all wrecked, he tells his wife he has to leave her to go back and see his dear friend. He leaves his love and rushes back to his friend Antonio.

In Act IV Scene 1, the whole scene was a plea for mercy towards Antonio from Shylock. Everyone was expecting mercy and some pity out of Shylock, The Duke, Bassanio, Gratiano, Portia and Antonio. But Shylock stayed stubborn and did not give in. He was just so confident that he will get his bond that he wasn’t listening to anyone. He declined all the offers made to him. Offers that were better than a pound of flesh; twice the money owed to...