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Merchant of Venice – Secular and Religious Views

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 reverses.

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 being of 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, becomes 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 successful.

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 judgements based on first impressions. Antonio and Shylock showing their good qualities, suggest that men may look perfect, but deep inside, they acquire negative characteristics.

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