Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice

1401 Words Jul 17th, 2018 6 Pages
Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice

The play begins in Venice where the wealthy merchant Antonio is talking to his young friends about the reasons for the depression. Antonio claims not to understand himself his sad nature.

Bassanio arrives with the news that he wishes to court a wealthy, beautiful heiress named Portia. In order to present himself to Portia he wants to borrow 3000 ducats. Bassanio is in terrible debt and he sees marriage to Portia as a way out of financial problem. Antonio claims he cannot raise 3000 ducats himself but he offers to stand as security for any loan which Bassanio can arrange.

The subplot introduces Portia and Nerissa. Shakespeare provides
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Shylock does not know that Jessica his daughter indeed plans to rob her father and elope with Christian Lorenzo that night. When Shylock returns from supper with Antonio he finds his house empty.

The audience learn from Salarino and Solanio of Shylocks reaction to the loss of his daughter. The Christians laugh at the agony suffered by Shylock and the audience begin to realise that Antonio invites Shylock to dinner in order that Jessica could rob her father and elope with a Christian.

The audience hear from Salanio that Shylock has ranted through the streets of Venice “my daughter, oh my ducats, oh my daughter”. We understand Shylocks diamantine in that he cannot speak a simple sentence in order. We also realise that he immediately blames Antonio and Bassanio for his loss. The first inclination is given that Antonio’s fleets are in trouble. When Antonio and Bassanio are parted, Antonio was aware that Shylocks bond may indeed be called to be answered “and for the Jews bond in which he hath of me let it not enter in your mind of love”.

Shylock is further insulted and dismayed by accounts of his daughters behaviour. Salario and Solarinio taunt Shylock with their knowledge of Jessica is nothing like her father, hinting that indeed he is not her true father “I say my daughter is
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