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The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice

  

by William Shakespeare

 Table of Contents

The Merchant of Venice Themes

The Merchant of Venice Themes

Race

In The Merchant of Venice, Judaism and Christianity aren't just religions—they're constructed as racial (and even national) identities as well.  In its portrayal of a bloodthirsty Jewish mon...

Wealth

Money is a very big deal in this play. (Big surprise there, right? The plot revolves around a Venetian merchant who can't repay a loan to a hated moneylender.) In much of The Merchant of Venice, th...

Friendship

"To you, Antonio, / I owe the most, in money and in love" (1.1.4). This is what Bassanio says as he prepares to court his future wife. Like Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Merchant of Venice is intere...

Marriage

These days we tend to associate marriage with romantic love (and delicious cake) but in Shakespeare's day that wasn't necessarily the case. Marriage is portrayed in several different ways in The Me...

Justice

Because Venice's economic stability depends on foreign businessmen like Shylock, the city has laws in place to protect their legal rights. Although the law is on his side when he goes to court and...

Love

Love in The Merchant of Venice is not quite all you need. Sure, there's love between family members, between friends, and, of course, between lovers. But love is more notable for its absence t...

Isolation

The Merchant of Venice is no puppy pile or cuddle puddle: it's riddled with characters who feel a deep sense of isolation. The characters clash on a variety of levels, as they come from different b...

Choices

In The Merchant of Venice, characters have to choose between lovers, friends, family, personal comfort, and societal norms. Um, what else is there? They basically have to choose between, well,...

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