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Law and Love in the Merchant of Venice, Article Review Example

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Article Review

The scholarly article, “Law and Love in The Merchant of Venice” was written by Christopher A. Colmpo. This article is going to analyze Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice with two aspects from a new angle. The first aspect is the law of Venice, and the second aspect is the love between the important characters. He has a very short conclusion of the identity and personality for the important character at the beginning, and provides a very clear idea about what he thinks of this play to the reader. He points out a new vision of the play, and connects it with the original contents. He makes the reader have a different comprehension of the play in relation to the theme of law and love. The article gives certain instances in which love and law are portrayed. The author uses some characters such as Antonio, Bassanio and Portia in enhancing the two mentioned themes.

Love

At the beginning of the article, he believes the whole play is a study of law and love, and states the concept of self-knowledge. In the relationship between Antonio and Bassanio, the writer comes up a new view. In his words, he doubts the men’s love out of friendship, and he believes it is not only the friendship between them, but also something beyond the friendship from Antonio’s actions. Notably, love in merchant of Venice comes in different forms. The author reveals love existing between friends, family members, and between lovers. The play makes love more notable for its absence compared to its presence. Love in the play, however, goes hand in hand with betrayal. A typical example is when Bassano says that he really love Portia but he continue courting her for money. Similarly, Lorenzo does the same to Jessica. In most cases, women in the play seem happy giving love but with some shreds of cynicism. Shakespeare reveals to the readers that Antonio truly loves Bassanio romantically. However, he has to subordinate his love to Portia’s marriage with him. In particular, love in the play is revealed to be affected by some sorts of conditional pretense from different partners. The author of the book starts with the first evidence showing Antonio’s love for Portia. The author states, “I once did lend my body for his wealth, which …”in this case, Antonio tries to speak of his martyrdom as something that if it had succeeded would have led to some sorts of miscarriages. Antonio has proven himself to be incurable and compulsive. Antonio loves his friend to the extent that he is ready to borrow money in order to help him out. He has to go against the rules of ethics and morals and borrow money from Shylock. Despite the fact that Bassanio is already indebted due to the failure of his business plans, he is devoted to Portia and is ready to be indebted due to his devotion to Portia thinking that she might marry him in the end. The author of the article goes further stating that Lorenzo and Jessica are in deep love with one another but their difference in religions prevents them from marrying one another. It is because of this love that Jessica decides to flee her father. She carries with her enough money to pay for their marriage and buy some necessities as they start life together. Nerissa has hopes that the god of love will one day bless Portia as well as bring Bassanio to her.

The author of the article also brings out the theme of revenge in several instances within the play. He states that the law must be enforced in Venice in a precise manner as it is what holds the city together. Specifically, law in Venice is in the form of self-interest service. Shylock complains against Antonio claiming that he is dragging the rates of interest in the town by his act of lending money in the form of gratis. Antonio, on the other hand, condemns the act of taking interest on the loans people borrow stating that it is against friendship among parties involved in the transaction. He does not understand the various laws of Venice regarding business operations. He claims that the practice of charging interest on loans is right only among people who are enemies. The theme of law is also portrayed when Antonio decides to borrow money from Shylock due to the love he has for his friend. The author states that Antonio goes against the societal rule of not borrowing from Shylock. The rule is a symbol of law in Venice. The statement reveals the kind of society Venice it to the readers. The author also talks of the law of contracts as described depicted by Shakespeare in the play. According to the author of the article, the sacred law is continuously being replaced by another law serving only the interest of parties in contracts. The casket rule by Portia’s father is meant to put off some men and select the best suitor for Portia’s marriage. Portia, however, breaks the rule by manipulating the casket test so that Bassanio can win since she loves him. This type of rule signifies the level at which men in Venice defined the destiny of women.

One of the things that surprised me about the play is the idea that Antonio believes that friendship should come first in business. He does not want people to pay interests on loans and say those who do that are enemies. Some of the new ideas I discover include Shakespeare’s means of enhancing various themes in the same scene. The article reveals how the two themes are revealed at the same time in many instances. From the article, I tend to disagree on the kind of law that the author of the article says governed Venice. Laws should not clash with morality of individuals. Further research will be based on how Shakespeare depicts both morality and law.

From the above elaborations, it is inarguably true that merchant of Venice remains the study of love and law. The two themes are enhanced in a society that has the ability to provide a sense of belonging as well as an important basis for self-knowledge. Antonio is very much aware of his sadness but ironically he does not understand nor does he know the cause of his sadness. In most scenes of the play, Shakespeare provides a vivid portrayal of how any of the two themes affect characters in the play in one way or another. Antonio’s melancholy is because of Bassanio’s quest for a wife. Bassanio wants to get married to Portia, the same woman Antonio is eyeing. This makes one of the ways in which Shakespeare enhances the two themes. In essence, love and law makes the most important issues Shakespeare depicts in the play.

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