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In Act I, Scene iii of The Merchant of Venice, what light do the lines, " Signior...

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bobbyroychoud... | Salutatorian

Posted September 11, 2013 at 11:45 AM via web

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In Act I, Scene iii of The Merchant of Venice, what light do the lines, " Signior Antonio, many a time and oft In the Rialto you have rated me .... You need my help " throw on the relations between Shylock and Antonio?

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 11, 2013 at 12:21 PM (Answer #1)

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In The Merchant of Venice, Antonio does not disguise his dislike for Shylock and his practices. In fact, Shylock, in Act I scene iii (lines 101 - 109) speaks of Antonio's obvious contempt. Shylock reveals that he has been hurt by the often and repeated criticism by Antonio of his "usances." It is also very relevant that the abuse of the Jews, Shylock's "tribe" has been ongoing and there seems to be little Shylock can do except accept it "with a patient shrug."

This reveals the strained relations between the two and also that Shylock feels that he is treated unfairly and worse than even a dog. Shylock has a right to "that which is mine own" but Antonio would even deny that. This passage also reveals the satisfaction that Shylock now feels that Antonio needs his help, revealing a possible opportunity for Shylock - as yet to be revealed.     

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