Is the outcome of "The Merchant of Venice" a fitting resolution to the clashes between Shylock and Antonio?

Expert Answers
malibrarian eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think you need to consider this question from both of their points of view - Shylock's and Antonio's.  From Shylock's point of view, absolutely not - he's been stripped of everything that he holds dear - his fortune, his faith, his dignity...He's been forced to become a Christian, but he'll never really be accepted as a Christian by the Christians of Venice.  He's a man without a country.

Antonio is definitely the winner in this situation, and I hope personally, he becomes wiser through his experiences.  As Shylock hopefully learned a bit about mercy, hopefully Antonio also learned that one reaps what one sows.  His mistreatment and hatred of Shylock led to Shylock's desire for revenge and the pound of  flesh.

Modern audiences probably have a bit of trouble with the ending, and sometimes can have a problem with the entire play because of its anti-Semitic overtones.  From our 21st-century point of view, it can be hard to see the ending of this play as having any kind of a fitting resolution.

Read the study guide:
The Merchant of Venice

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question