The Merchant Of Venice


by William Shakespeare
Antonio And Shylock: A Comparison Study
The secular and religious views of both, Antonio and
Shylock, were portrayed very bluntly. The religious
opinions of both characters were that their religion was
superior to infidels and also very stereotypical. In the
business world, Antonio owned ships with valuable goods and
was extremely generous. He always relied on their return to
shore and expressed his faith in this book. On the other
hand, Shylock was a greedy man and used the Bible for
sources of interest to collect more money. Relating to
religious views Antonio and Shylock were very parallel, but
in means of business the two were opposite. 

"I [Shylock] hate [Antonio] for he is a Christian. . .
[Antonio] hates our sacred nation." This phrase said by
Shylock, a Jew, is based on the beliefs of other Jews upon
other Christians. Shylock is being very stereotypical
because Shylock doesn't really know Antonio, Shylock heard
of Jew-hating Christians, so he thinks that all Christians
hate Jews. Antonio happens to be a great man and Shylock
didn't even give him a chance, he just hates Antonio for
believing in a different religion. 

"The Hebrew [Shylock] will turn Christian; he grows kind."
Antonio says this, thinking that no Jews are kind,
emphasizing naiveness. Then Antonio sees the Hebrew,
Shylock, become amiable, so he believes that's impossible.
So Antonio interprets the scenario as Shylock being
Christianized, because he is becoming generous. This
quotation shows how Antonio thinks that his religion,
Christianity, is superior to Judaism. The previous
quotation illustrated how Shylock was stereotypical about
Christians. Both characters have similar beliefs about
other religions. 

"Why, fear not, man, I will not for felt it! Within these
three months- that's a month before this bond expires-I do
expect, return of thrice three times the value of this
bond." This phrase was said by Antonio assuring Shylock
that his ship with all his goods will return with the
interest that Antonio owes Shylock for borrowing money.
This shows Antonio's trust in his ship even though there
were strong winds and high chances that his ship will be
overturned. Antonio is very naive about the real world of
business and no matter what happens he thinks he will be

On the other hand, Shylock is a wise business man, but very
greedy. These characteristics are displayed in the
following quotation: "Mark what Jacob did . . . and in the
doing of the deed of kind [Laban] struck them up before the
fulsome ewes, who then conceiving did in eaning time
fullparti-colored lambs, and those were Jacob's. This was a
way to thrive, and he was blest; and thrift is blessing if
men steal it not." When Shylock gave Antonio a loan, he
charged him interest justified by the story in the Bible
mentioned before. Shylock compares Antonio to Laban, both
being kind, therefore both must be givers of interest. My
view is that Shylock puts himself on the level of Jacob, a
righteous man, showing his egotistical character. His
greedy personality is expressed when Shylock finds sources
of interest in a farfetched manner. In truth, this passage
is an act of kindness, stressing Shylock's characteristic
of being narrow minded. 

Antonio and Shylock are very similar people as well as
opposites. Both, as proven in the story, are against the
infidels to their religion and believe that their religion
is the superior one. In terms of business, Antonio is
generous, being willing to give thrice the loan, and
Shylock is greedy, by asking for three times the loan.
Antonio agrees to the deal, being very naive that his ship
will return safely, and Shylock is very clever, but sneaky,
in terms of this deal, while Antonio's perspectives on the
secular and religious world are very naive, Shylock makes
judgments based on first impressions. Antonio and Shylock
showing their good qualities, suggest that men may look
perfect, but deep inside, they have negative


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