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The play Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare has two major themes running through its story Even though it was written in the late 1500s these themes still have significance today The main characters of this play are Shylock the Jew who is a money lender charging interest to make living Antonio is another character of this play and he is a fairly rich merchant Antonio has a very good friend Bassanio who wants to marry Portia a wealthy woman who is Shakespeares heroine Prejudice At first this play may seem to be anti-Semitic but prejudice can be found on both sides This theme mainly involves two characters of the play Antonio and Shylock The character of Shylock seems to be the villain because he wants the pound of flesh of Antonios who seems to be a good Christian But the story behind is much deeper and Shakespeare gives evidence that all is not as it seems At the beginning Antonio expresses his hatred for Shylock but he doesnt give any reasons for this Later it can be seen that Shylock hasnt really done anything to harm Antonio and therefore Antonios hatred is completely unfounded Furthermore Antonio knowingly drives down the interest rates by lending money without interest This makes hard for Shylock to make living since he as a Jew cannot do anything else except lend money and charging interest Also Antonio spits on Shylock and kicks him whenever he sees him It is clear that Antonios actions spring from pure prejudice and nothing else As for Shylock it is obvious that Shylock has many reasons to hate Antonio It is understandable then that Shylock seeks revenge when he wants the pound of Antonios flesh even though the revenge is fairly cruel It is interesting to me that Antonio even though he hates Shylock so much comes for help to Shylock Because Bassanio Antonios good friend needs money to be able to
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