The Merchant of Venice
The Merchant of Venice is a play written by William Shakespeare. It is a classic play, but has quite a few modern themes. This wasn’t uncommon of Shakespeare, in almost all of his literature we can relate it to things that are happening in our society today. In this particular play, three modern reoccurring themes that stand out to me are love, anti-Semitism, and inter-racial marriages.
The main theme in the book is love. This love includes, but isn’t limited to, the love between a man and woman. Portia and Bassano, Jessica and Lorenzo, and Nerissa and Gratiano are all examples of love between a man and a woman. Another type of relationship that is explored is man-to-man. This is shown between Antonio and Bassano. We cannot say for sure whether or not this is a homosexual kind of love, or just a friendly love. Either way they certainly share some sort of loving relationship. The final type of loving relationship we see if between man and money. Shylock is so in love with his money that he will give up anything for it, including his own daughter. All of these examples are seen today as well.
The second recurrent theme in the play is anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is hostility or prejudice towards Jews. Shylock is a Jew and several times in the play he is called things like “a Jew dog.” He is also perceived as “the typical Jew” wanting to kill all Christians. He is portrayed as very mean and conniving man who wants nothing but revenge and money. We can’t be sure if Shakespeare himself was being Anti-Symetic or he was just trying to show how most people perceive Jews. Either way this is an important theme in the book that also occurs in modern times.
The final theme I want to discuss is inter-racial marriages. This is explored by Jessica and Lorenzo. Jessica grew up a Jew and Lorenzo grew up a gentile. However, the fall in love and marry. Shylock does not approve of their marriage and is extremely upset that he lost his Jewish...