Racism in The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare

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In one of his plays, titled "The Merchant of Venice", Shakespeare presents to us several views on a form of racism, namely anti-Semitism. The main "victim" is the character Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, who is mistreated by Antonio. Antonio openly hates Jews, and makes like hard for Shylock for no other reason than religion. It should be noted though that Shylock himself has also become a racist. This is proven when he makes a comment about Antonio saying "I hate him for he is a Christian." Both of these men are prejudiced towards people of other religions. This is likely to apply nowadays too where "victims" of racism themselves begin to hate the other race. Therefore they cannot sincerely say that they are better people.

The theme of racism also appears in the character of Portia, the otherwise seemingly innocent and flawless lady. She judges one of her suitors by their skin color before she has even met him.

She considers him to have "the complexion of the devil" and so he does not even have a chance with her (disregarding the caskets) because of something he was born with and cannot change (disregarding Michael Jackson). In reality, this suitor, who is the Prince of Morocco, is as far as the audience can tell from the play, not a bad man. He also seems not to care that Portia is white.

In today's society we have learn tat prejudice is wrong, at least in the more civilized parts of the world. A person's religion is now rarely referred to, and when it is, it makes no difference as to how that person is treated. While skin color is harder to ignore, most people will get used to, accept, and finally disregard the difference it makes when they learn...