The Merchant of Venice – Sample Introduction

Written between 1596 and 1598, “The Merchant of Venice” is one of William Shakespeare’s most enduring plays. Categorised as a “comedy”, the play has a much darker tone than many of his others (“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, for example). Central to the story is the conflict between the noble Christian, Antonio, and the slighted Jewish moneylender, Shylock. The prejudice of Shylock can be said to push him towards his unfortunate fate, but is it fair to say that this is the only spur? Over the course of this essay, I shall throw light on Shylock’s prejudice, and explore some of the ways in which he may not be entirely at fault for his ending.

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