The Merchant of Venice Essay

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[Draper provides historical background on English Jews and the practice of usury (money lending for interest) as they existed in Shakespeare's time to prove that the chief concern of The Merchant of Venice is conflicting economic ideals rather than race or religion. The critic argues that Shylock hates Antonio not only because he lends money interest free, but also because he denigrates Shylock's profession and thwarts his business. According to Draper, Shakespeare is merely representative of his age when he idealistically compares Antonia's Christian business ethic with Shylock's more rigid and unforgiving value system. This fundamental distinction, the critic concludes, reflects "the difficult transition from the medieval economic system to modem capitalism" which was occurring in Elizabethan England.]

The character portrayal of Shakespeare shows the widest human sympathy, but Shylock is an exception. He is an object of loathing and contempt: he is depicted as unprincipled in business...

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This section contains 2,457 words
(approx. 7 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Merchant of Venice Study Guide
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The Merchant of Venice from Shakespeare for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.