Appearance vs Reality of Merchant of Venice

One of the greatest writers of history is Shakespeare. William Shakespeare was an English playwright, poet, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist in the history of English literature.

He has written many masterpieces. In which are are Macbeth, Othello, Romeo and Juliet extra etc. 

In which Merchant of Venice is one. The storyline of the play goes :

The play commences on a street in Venice. Shakespeare introduces the central character of the play, Antonio, as a Merchant of power and influence. Bassanio, his friend, confesses to him that he is in love with Portia, a rich heiress of Belmont. To present himself as an eligible suitor to Portia, he seeks a loan from Antonio. Antonio has no money in hand to lend as his fortunes are tied up with his ships at sea. However, he promises to help us Bassanio to take a loan from money lenders using his(Antonio's)name. The entire play is based on the scenario that happens as a continuation of this situation. And then the place carried on by the test of Fortune, the bond story, Jessica's deceit, the choice of caskets, the trial scene and the happy ending.

The play has many teams which include love, friendship and loyalty, love of wealth, justice and Mercy, and most importantly appearance and reality.

In this segment of the blog, I have decided to give my point of view of a very famous question which is discussed in this play. Which is the theme of appearance and reality in the play.

The most obvious points would be:

1. How Shylock was discussing the terms of the bond appearing friendly to Antonio but had an ulterior motive of taking revenge on him.

2.How in Jessica-Lorenzo Love Story where Jessica pretends to be meek and submissive in front of her father; though in reality, she is rebellious.

3. The message of how outward appearance is liable to be deceptive which is shown in in the play through the principle of the lottery caskets. The lottery ordeal has been used to test the sincerity and character of the suitors for Portia. In the choice of caskets, not only their appearance but also the mottoes inscribed on them are to be considered.


Throughout the play, we see how each character is portrayed.

Antonio is characterised as a wealthy merchant, a popular figure, a true friend, philanthropist, a gentleman and melancholic in nature.

Bassanio is shown to be an extravagant young man, a true lover, optimistic, cheerful and has genuine affection for Antonio.

 Portia's portrayed to be beautiful, witty, humourous, resourceful, has a compassionate nature and is a loyal daughter.

While Shylock is attested to be having a complex personality, greed for money, ribbons for, deceitful and crafty and is suspicious in nature.



I strongly believe these are these things that Shakespeare, himself, wants his audience to believe in the play. but deep down I feel different. My real question is are all the characters in Merchant of Venice as good or as bad as they are portrayed in the play?


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