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Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice is a comedy by William Shakespeare, written between 1596 and 1598. Though classified as a comedy in the First Folio and sharing certain aspects with Shakespeare's other romantic comedies, the play is perhaps most remembered for its best known Shylock and the famous 'pound of flesh' speech.

? Context
? Synopsis

of the Play ? Analysis of the main character ? Most wonderful segment ? Summary of The Play


In 16th century, Venice was renowned for its wealth and diversity of cultures, for it was a cosmopolitan market where Eastern goods made their way into the West. Since Shakespeare's interactions with Jews in England would have been limited, Venice provided him with the example of tolerance and heterogeneity that he needed.

Main characters Shylock(高利贷商人)



Bassanio 求婚 Portia

a merchant of Venice ? Kind ? Wealthy ? generous

An impoverished young Venetian, Bassanio, of noble rank but having squanderded his estate, wishes to travel to Belmont to woo the rich and beautiful heiress Portia .

The Merchant of Venice



The Merchant of Venice
He asked his friend Antonio, a merchant of Venice , to lend him the money necessary for the voyage to Belmont , but Antonio's money was all invested in ships at sea. But promised to cover a bond if Bassanio could find a lender



So, Bassinio turned to the Jewish lender Shylock. Actually Shylock hated Antonio, 1 Antonio was a Christian

2 Antonio insulted him for being a Jew
3 Antonio undermined his money lending business by lending money at 0 interest
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A Pound of Flesh
However, though Shylock hated him ,he agreed with a demand: If Antonio could not repay It at a specified date, he must take a pound of Antonio”s flesh.

In Belmont
Portia was awash with suitors. Her father Had left a will that each of her suitors must Choose correctly from the 3 caskets. Choose right, get Portia Choose wrong, go away and never trouble Her or any other women again with proposal.

Gold: Choose me and get what u desire ? Silver: Choose me and get what u deserve ? Lead: Choose me and risk hazard

? ? ?

Gold –Prince of Morocco A few coins and Verse All that glisters is not gold Often have you heard that told Many a man his life hath sold But my outside to behold Gilded tombs do worms enfold Had you been as wise as bold, Young in limbs, in judgment old Your answer had not been inscroll'd: Fare you well; your suit is cold.


Silver-Prince of Arragon

A picture with a jerk”s Head Some there be that shadows kiss Such have but a shadow's bliss: Take what wife you will to bed will ever be your head — meaning that he was foolish to imagine that a pompous man like him could ever be a fit husband for Portia, and that he was always a fool, he always will be a fool, and the fact that he chose the silver casket is mere proof that he is a fool.

Bassinio remarked: ? So may the outward shows be least themselves. The world is still deceived with ornament

In Belmont
Very soon. Portia and Bassanio got married, but then Bassanio received a letter telling him that Antonio had been unable to return the loan taken from Shylock. Because Antonio's ships were reported lost at sea. This leaved him unable to satisfy the bond . ? Shocked, Bassanio left for Venice immediately, with money from Portia, to save Antonio's life by offering the money to Shylock.

? Then

the climax comes in the court of the Duke of Venice

Duke 公 爵 法 官 夏 原 洛 克 告

一 场 诉 讼 案 件
被 安 东 尼 告 奥 巴萨尼奥 朋友

一磅肉 律 师



Portia 鲍西娅

The Merchant of Venice
At the beginning, B wanted to give 6000 ducats, twice the amount of the loan, but Shylock refused it. The Duke also wanted to save Antonio but unwilling to set a dangerous legal precedent of denying the law of Venice. So they were just in the deadlock.
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The Merchant of Venice
A young doctor of law arrived at the court. He first appealed to Shylock for mercy, but the Jew insisted on taking the pound of flesh, so that the doctor let him have it, but warned Shylock that he may take his pound of flesh, but there was no mention of blood in the bond; if he shed a single drop of a Christian's blood, he would be held guilty of breaking the bond, and his lands and goods would be confiscated by the state according to the law of Venice. Seeing himself thus cornered, Shylock had no choice but to obey the verdict of the court.
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The young doctor of law who saved the life of Antonio was no other than Portia in disguise! The play ended with jubilant celebration of the happy union of several pairs of lovers.



Analysis of Shylock
Shylock in this play is the antagonist. He is the model of usurer. Most people read him as a clownish Jew. He is selfish, and niggard. Once he has the chance to revenge his foe. He will try his best to make the other into death. In the court, he is clam and wise. But most of his speech is coarse. All of this makes people take unkindly to him. But being a pagan who lives in Christian society he has strong emotion on racial constriction and the enthusiasm of raising Jewish people’s status. Living in this society, he suffers too much public humiliation and oppression.


He hath disgraced me, and hinder’d me half a million; laught at my loss, mockt at my gains, scorn’d my nation,thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and what’s his reason? I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal’d by the same means, warm’d and cool’d by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laught? If you porion us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”

His frequently mentions of the cruelty he has endured at Christian hands make it hard for us to label him a monster. Shylock argues that Jews are humans and calls his quest for revenge by the cruelty of Venice citizens. . In such condition, his “malicious” is much more reasonable. Besides the facial of Shylock’s malignance, actually, he is a person whose sense of decency has been fractured by the persecution he endures. Comparatively,those kindness and wisdom Christian, in fact, have another hideous feature. So,in my mind, Shylock is a man who is worth sympathizin

The Merchant of Venice
Theme: Through the contradicts between Antonio and Shylock, the play shows the conflict between friendship, love and greed, cruelty. Shakespeare, as a humanist of the time, praises the friendship between Antonio and Bassanio, the love between Bassanio and Portia and exposes Shylock's greed and cruelty. Many people today regard the play as a Christians' hypocrisy and love, their cunning ways of pursuing worldliness and their unreasoning prejudice against Jews.
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