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Word Count: 991
In the play The Merchant of Venice William Shakespeare used two characters to show his point of view of what he thought Christianity was The first character Antonio the merchant of Venice was presented as the hero at the beginning of the comedy because he was a good Christian trying to help out a friend The second character Shylock the Jewish usurer was presented as the villain However as the plot gradually became more intense it became harder and harder to distinguish who was the antagonist and who was the protagonist At first it might seem that Shakespeare was a Christian He introduced Antonio in the play as a hero and a good Christian Antonio unable to loan his friend Bassanio the money he needed asked Shylock for a loan Shylock albeit I neither lend nor borrow by taking ripe wants of my friend Ill break a custom This showed how Antonio was a hero He was willing to do anything to help his friend Antonio even went as far as to have agreed to give up a pound of flesh if he did not return the loan in three months Content in faith Ill seal to such a bond and say there is much kindness in the Jew Furthermore Shakespeare presented Shylock as the antagonist His first unfavorable characteristic was that he was a Jew and Jews charged interest on loans His second negative characteristic was that he hated the hero Antonio He lends out money gratis and brings down the rate of usance here with us in Venice If I can catch him once upon the hip I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him This statement from Shylock illustrated both of his unfavorable characteristics It showed that he charged interest on loans and hated Antonio Everything mentioned to this point would make Shakespeare appear as a Christian However the small amount of clues proving that he was
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