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Critic Harold Bloom listed it among Shakespeare's great comedies.Bassanio, a young Venetian of noble rank, wishes to woo the beautiful and wealthy heiress Portia of Belmont.These take the form of legally binding contracts, such as the bond between Antonio and Shylock, as well as less formal arrangements, such as the ring given by Portia to Bassanio. Morocco objects to the terms of Portia’s father’s will, because it doesn’t allow the individual to succeed on his own merits. Gratiano must agree to curb his usual behavior if Bassanio is to allow him to join his expedition. Morocco must leave Portia and remain a bachelor for the rest of his life, for failing to solve the riddle of the three caskets. Aragon suffers the same fate as Morocco for failing in his choice.
However, Shylock adamantly refuses any compensations and insists on the pound of flesh.
As the court grants Shylock his bond and Antonio prepares for Shylock's knife, Portia deftly appropriates Shylock's argument for "specific performance".
The second suitor, the conceited Prince of Aragon, chooses the silver casket, which proclaims, "Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves", as he believes he is full of merit.
Both suitors leave empty-handed, having rejected the lead casket because of the baseness of its material and the uninviting nature of its slogan, "Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath".
Having squandered his estate, he needs 3,000 ducats to subsidise his expenditures as a suitor.
Bassanio approaches his friend Antonio, a wealthy merchant of Venice who has previously and repeatedly bailed him out.
Shylock has become more determined to exact revenge from Christians because his daughter Jessica eloped with the Christian Lorenzo and converted.
She took a substantial amount of Shylock's wealth with her, as well as a turquoise ring which Shylock had been given by his late wife, Leah. At Belmont, Bassanio receives a letter telling him that Antonio has been unable to repay the loan from Shylock.
This struggle is primarily manifested through the various contracts characters must fulfill throughout the course of the play.
Topic #2 Much is made of differences between races and religions in The Merchant of Venice. Portia and Nerissa discuss the former’s suitors on the ¬basis of their national/racial characteristics. Shylock refuses to dine with Bassanio and Antonio for religious reasons. Shylock tells the audience that he hates Antonio “for he is a Christian…” D. Morocco, on meeting Portia, asks her to “Mislike [him] not for [his] complexion” (i.e.