Merchant of Venice Essay
The Merchant Of Venice Essay May 31, 2012 There are two emotions commonly shown to motivate characters in the Merchant Of Venice, both positively and negatively, namely that of love and hate. These two emotions motivate characters such as Shylock, who’s actions are motivated by his hate for Antonio, Jessica’s love for Lorenzo and hate for her father and Antonio’s love for Bassanio and hate for Shylock. Antonio’s actions are motivated from both love and hate. These actions are arguably positive or negative.
Antonio shares a very special friendship with Bassanio. He shows a special kind of love towards Bassanio, which leads him to give up all his wealth to his best friend. Antonio willing tells Bassanio “Thou know’st that all my fortunes are at sea; Neither have I money nor commodity To raise a present sum: therefore go forth; Try what my credit can in Venice do: That shall be rack’d, even to the uttermost, To furnish thee to Belmont, to fair Portia. Go, presently inquire, and so will I, Where money is, and I no question make to have it of my trust or for my sake.
Antonio is explaining that even though all his fortunes are at sea, he will try to acquire a loan in order to pay for Bassanio’s trip to Belmont, in attempt to marry Portia. Antonio’s action can be positive or negative. It can be positive in a way that he truly cares about Bassanio and he respects that he is in love with Portia or negative because little does Antonio know, he will be potentially giving up his life for Bassanio. Later in the play another side of Antonio is revealed.
Antonio is displayed as a hard cruel man, although a Christian, he displays hatred and contempt towards the Jewish race, usurers and especially towards Shylock. After kicking and spitting upon Shylock, Antonio shows no remorse or sympathy for the man he has abused. Antonio even goes to the point of saying “I am as like to call thee so again, to spit on thee again, to spurn thee too. If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not As to thy friends, for when did friendship take A breed for barren metal of his friend? But lend it rather to thine enemy; who if he break, thou may’st with better face Exact the penalty.
These action are clearly motivated by hatred towards Shylock in a very negative way. They are negative because Antonio is treating Shylock with no respect and also physically abusing him at times. Even in what Antonio thought were his last days, he lovingly says, “ Pray god Bassanio come to see me pay his debt (die), and then I care not” (3. 3. 38-39). Antonio is asking Bassanio to come see him one more time before he dies. This action is motivated by love because Antonio is not scared to die; he simply wants to see his best friend, who he loves one last time.
Jessica’s love and hate are motivated in a positive and negative way. Her love for Lorenzo motivated her to run off with him and abandon her father, Shylock. This action can be either positive or negative because Jessica loves Lorenzo and it’s what she wants to do but she will be disobeying her father and leaving him behind. Jessica hated her father very much. She reveals this before she leaves by saying “I am sorry thou wilt leave my father so, our house is hell and thou a merry devil.
Her hatred for her father motivated her to steal his jewels and ducats before she left. Jessica’s final words to her father were “Farewell; and if my fortune be not crost, I have a father, you a daughter, lost. ” (2. 6. 57-58). This action is negative because it is wrong for her to steal, especially from her father. From the motivation of both love for Lorenzo and hate for Shylock, Jessica converts to the Christian religion and plans to marry Lorenzo. Jessica reveals this saying “ If thou promise, I shall end this strife, become a Christian and thy loving wife.” (2. 3. 20-21) These actions are positive. They are positive because Jessica is doing what her heart and love is telling her to do, even though her father does not agree. Hate is a very strong and dark emotion that motivates the actions of Shylock in a negative way. Shylock’s mind is set on one thing, the pound of flesh in which Antonio owes him for failing to pay back the bond. The bond is “ Three thousand ducats in three months from twelve. ” (1. 3. 113-114) If Antonio fails to pay back the bond; Shylock is entitled to remove one pound of flesh from Antonio.
Shylock expresses this demand of the pound of flesh by saying “I’ll have my bond; speak not against my bond: I have sworn an oath that I will have my bond. ” (3. 3. 5-6). This quote clearly identifies that shylock has sworn on oath that he will have his bond and nothing will get in his way until he gets what he deserves yet even when he is offered back double the money Shylock purely out of hate refuses. These actions are negative because Shylock can spare Antonio’s life, but from hate he chooses not to.
The hate from Shylock to Antonio comes from his hatred of Christians. Shylock reveals this when he says, “ I hate him for he is a Christian” (1. 3. 42). This quote indicates that Shylocks negative actions are all motivated from hatred because Antonio is simply a Christian. In conclusion, love and hate are two very common emotions expressed throughout the play Merchant Of Venice. Love and hate are two emotions that can motivate people to do both good and bad things. They both positively and negatively affect characters such as Antonio, Jessica and Shylock. 822 words