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The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare - Book Report/Review Example

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The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

As the title page of the Quarto text indicates, the play mainly focuses on three important plot lines: first, Antonio the merchant of Venice; second, Shylock, the rapacious Jewish money-lender; and third, the courting and winning of Portia, a singularly wealthy young heiress. Significantly, the courting and winning of Portia is achieved by an odd sort of lottery-like procedure and the relationship between love and money is most obvious all through the play. In the play, the playwright weaves together two ancient folk tales and each of these tales revolves round money and love. The first story involves the vengeful and greedy Jewish money-lender trying to haul out a pound of flesh from the protagonist's body and the underlying theme is that of money. The second story focuses on a marriage suitor's choice among three men and the winning of her companion and the theme of love is emphasized by the playwright. It is in the blending of these two ancient folk tales that the reader recognizes the relationship between love and money in the play. A profound analysis of the major plot and themes of the play confirms the close relationship between love and money. ...
As Antonio's business falters in the course of the play, he is unable to repay his debt and Shylock plans to demand a pound of Antonio's flesh, as per the terms of the loan agreement. This leads to the climax of the play in which Portia's clever intervention resolves the crisis in the play. Therefore, a close analysis of the plot and major themes of The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare confirms that love and money are closely connected all through the play and this paper discusses the different types of love in the play in relation to money.
Unlike most of the works of literature which deal with the conflicts between love and money, Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice emphasizes the relationship between the two. It is indubitable that one of the major themes of the play is the relationship between love and money. Shakespeare has been highly effective in offering the basic principle working in this relationship and he is extraordinary in the treatment of this relationship between love and money. "In The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare takes a more unusual approach to this subject, treating love as just another form of wealth. Love and money are alike, Shakespeare seems to be saying, in that they are blessings to those who can pursue them in the right spirit. On the other hand, those who are too possessive, too greedy, will get pleasure neither from the pursuit of romantic love nor from the accumulation of wealth. Bassanio sets out to win Portia's love, solving his money problems at the same time. Shylock, in contrast, is a miser who hoards both his gold and his love and loses his daughter and his riches simultaneously." (Milton, 34-5) Similarly, Antonio demonstrates the love of a friend for another when he pledges his own flesh to get ...Show more

Summary

The Merchant of Venice, the celebrated romantic comedy by William Shakespeare, has been one of the most renowned plays by the author and it deals with various themes including the relationship between love and money. The play is generally recognized as a lively comedy of love and money in the sixteenth century Venice and the major plot of the play brings out the relationship between the two…
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