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How is the theme of revenge explored in The Merchant of Venice?I'm doing a school essay...

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jodie123 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 10, 2011 at 7:13 PM via web

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How is the theme of revenge explored in The Merchant of Venice?

I'm doing a school essay on the topic 'Those to who evil is done do evil in return' and i'm a bit stuck on how it is explored.... thanx so much in advance.

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muddy-mettled | Valedictorian

Posted September 21, 2011 at 12:56 PM (Answer #1)

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"The play's opening scene, from which Shylock is excluded, sets forth the interrelated themes of friendship, romantic love,  and risk, or "hazard," wrote Professor Bevington.  In the scene where Shylock is introduced, the character seems to decide that providing a loan and not charging interest is a better idea than wrestling Antonio.  Later, when he tells Salerio "Let him look to his bond"(3.1), one might recall the negotiations that led to the bond.  The line where he first mentions revenge reads:  "To bait fish withal; if it will feed nothing else, it will my revenge."  The first words resonate through the play and beyond to the first conversation in ROMEO AND JULIET(see my answer to an imagery question in the ROM section from last spring).  Even in the court scene, Shylock may change his mind as Professor Gross noted the line "to offend, himself being offended."  Like Hermia's father Egeus in MND, Shylock brings his problems to the local Duke.  Then, it might seem that the author has the problem of revenge creep around like the rat or serpent that Shylock refers to.  Better still, like "The smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on floor"(MND5.1).  When Solanio says "I am sure the Duke / Will never grant this forfeiture to hold"(MV3.3), is there any solid reason to think otherwise?

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