Essay, Research Paper: College Paper On Shakespeare


Free Shakespeare research papers were donated by our members/visitors and are presented free of charge for informational use only. The essay or term paper you are seeing on this page was not produced by our company and should not be considered a sample of our research/writing service. We are neither affiliated with the author of this essay nor responsible for its content. If you need high quality, fresh and competent research / writing done on the subject of Shakespeare, use the professional writing service offered by our company.

Stereotypes in "The Merchant of Venice" "Dumb jocks! ",
"Women don't belong there, doing that!", "He must be a criminal,
just look at his clothes." How often have we heard somebody mention these
things, yet, how often have we said something similar? Our society is based on
face values where we categorize people because of a few actions. All of the
above statements are prejudicial notions used to define members of a social or
an ethnic group, and are called stereotypes. Stereotypes are explored greatly in
the Shakespeare play "The Merchant Of Venice", as most of the main
characters are looked upon with a stereotypical point of view. However Not all
of the main characters are, some take a different perspective and are a
completely different breed of character compared to the others. A good example
of a stereotypical character in "The Merchant of Venice" would be
Shylock. Shylock is a Jew, and in this time period, Jews where used mainly as
loan officials. The stereotype that he is placed with is that of a Jew, or as it
was seen back then. While the character Portia is a good example of a character
that hasn't been implemented with any stereotypes. Some of the play's characters
have some stereotypical aspect about them. Antonio is the main character, and is
affected by stereotypes. He is noble, rich, high class, dominant and couldn't
care less for the Jew and always wants to make a buck. This was the stereotype
for a rich businessman, and this is how the audience views Antonio. " You
call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, And spit upon my Jewish gabardine,"
(A1, S3, Ln103-104) Here Shylock is telling us what Antonio has done to him in
the past, which shows that Antonio is both a snob and high class, as he looks
down upon the Jew and spits on his clothes. "... I thank my fortune for it,
…Upon the fortune of this present year: Therefore my merchandise makes me not
sad" (A1, S1, Ln41-45) Here Antonio is expressing his sadness for his ships
that are at see. He is sad because he is unsure if they will return bringing him
his riches or if that they will sink on their mission. This is when the audience
is first shown his greed and businessman like attitude. His nobility is shown
well in the courtroom scene. "For Herein Fortune shows herself more kind
Than is her custom: it is still her use To let wretched man outlive his
wealth" (A4, S1, Ln263-265) Antonio is saying that it was fate's choice to
let him die here, and he has accepted that. This shows his nobility, as he is
ready to accept defeat to the Jew and receive his punishment, instead of trying
to wriggle out of it. Another character that is also very stereotypical is
Shylock, the villainous Jew. He is a man who is sought after only for a loan, as
it was only Jews who could give loans and receive interest. Shylock's character
of cunning, evil and mischievous man was the stereotype of a Jew back then. This
is how Shylock is portrayed through out the play. " Fair sir, you spat on
me Wednesday last, You spurned me such a day, another time You called me dog:
and for these courtesies I'll lend you thus much monies." (A1, S3,
Ln118-121) Many people would ask the question, why would someone in Shylock's
position want to give anything to a person who has treated them as badly as
Antonio. However, under the interest free bond that Shylock has created with
Antonio lies a need for revenge so great that Shylock will do anything to take
the life of Antonio. This shows how cunning and mischievous he is as he then
agrees and instead of paying interest, if Antonio is late, he will pay a pound
of flesh. " Expressed in the condition, let forfeit Be nominated for an
equal pound Of you fair flesh, to be cut off and taken" (A1, S3, Ln141-143)
This again shows his cunning and corrupt character. Although both Antonio and
Shylock and both stereotyped in the play, there are some characters that are not
stereotyped. The best example of this is Portia. Back in Shakespeare's time, the
woman was stereotyped as being obedient they also never usually were expected to
do anything socially of any real importance. And although Portia is partly a
stereotyped character with the fact that she follows her father wishes in that
the person she marries must pass the test of choosing the correct chest, she
brakes this pattern of being stereotypical during the courtroom scene, where she
dresses up as a man. "Enter Portia [disguised as Doctor Balthazar, followed
by officials]" (A4, S1, Ln162.5) This is very unusual for a woman to dress
up as a man, and so because of this we know that Portia doesn't follow the
stereotypes like Antonio and Shylock do. Jessica is another example of a
character that doesn't follow the stereotypes as Antonio and Shylock do. Jessica
is the daughter of Shylock, we know from the first time we meet her that she
doesn't follow the stereotypes as she wants to elope with Lorenzo and she has
stolen from her father. "But love is blind, and lovers cannot see The
pretty follies that themselves commit" (A2, S6, Ln37-38) Here Jessica is
expressing her love for Lorenzo, who is a Christian. From this we can determine
that she isn't a stereotypical character, as Jew's weren't supposed to fall in
love with Christians. Overall, there are some characters in the play that are
portrayed as being stereotypes, while there are also some that are not. This
balances out the play instead of having all stereotyped characters. So 'The
Merchant of Venice" does explore stereotypes to some extent with some of
the characters while on the other hand as there are some characters that
aren’t stereotyped then the idea that 'The Merchant of Venice' only has
stereotyped characters validity decreases.
Good or bad? How would you rate this essay?
Help other users to find the good and worthy free term papers and trash the bad ones.
Like this term paper? Vote & Promote so that others can find it

Get a Custom Paper on Shakespeare:

Free papers will not meet the guidelines of your specific project. If you need a custom essay on Shakespeare: , we can write you a high quality authentic essay. While free essays can be traced by Turnitin (plagiarism detection program), our custom written papers will pass any plagiarism test, guaranteed. Our writing service will save you time and grade.

Related essays:

Shakespeare / Merchant Of Venice
In this play two characters have a bigger role than one might imagine. Salerio and Solanio are the storytellers in The Merchant of Venice. They fill in important information that the audience needs t...
Shakespeare / Merchant Of Venice
When William Shakespeare wrote, The Merchant of Venice, he included a female character that influences the play dramatically. In most of Shakespeare's plays, the women have little power and intellige...
Shakespeare / Merchant Of Venice
“How little is the cost I have bestowed in purchasing the semblance of my soul,”(3.5.19-20) is where the heart of this play is in my eyes. Portia doing what she can for her one true love, Bassanio. M...
The first thing that struck me about The Merry Wives of Windsor was the appearance of some characters from Henry VI: Falstaff, Bardolph, Nym, and Pistol. The second thing that struck me was the compl...
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of Shakespeare’s most read play’s this romantic comedy illustrates how complicated love ties can be. Thesis: In this play one of the characters that catches the eye o...