The authors achievement is when he is able to leave an everlasting imprint on his Audience. William Shakespeares fictional characters, in The Merchant of Venice greatly influenced the way I view the world and myself. So, how is one of Shakespeares characters related to me? Through Shakespeares ability to create multidimensional characters possessing every human characteristic possible, I was not only able to sympathize, but was also able to relate to most of the personages.
When reading the play, I saw myself as Shylock, angry and bitter at the world for all the injustices placed upon him. He was the main character to whom I was related the most. I was also able to understand Portia, trying to save her lovers life. Jessica was another character to whom I was able to relate to also, she was overprotected by her rigid father, Shylock, who forbid her the relationship with the man she loves. Shakespeares The Merchant of Venice also opened my eyes to reality, and how difficult it is for people to change their views and accept difference.
However, what really makes this play memorable for me is Shakespeares ability to create multidimensional characters who possess both good and evil qualities, thus making them tangible and believable. Through these complex characters, Shakespeare was able to introduce to his audience very valuable social dilemmas and problems, issues still pertinent to this day. Shylock, the Jew, is portrayed as a wicked, greedy, witty old man mostly hated and despised by everyone. Nevertheless, Shakespeare decided to give this obvious villain a sympathetic side, mentioning how Shylock is laughed at and spat upon for the sole reason of being a Jew.
He says, he[Antonio] hath digracd me, and hindred me half a million, lauphd at my losses,scorned my nation–and whats his reason? I am a Jew,(p. 21) thus underlining the injustices placed upon people of a different religion. Ironically, centuries after this play was written, people in the United States and all over the world still experience prejudices. When I was living in Soviet Union, the people there were prejudice against Jews. I was often the scapegoat for everything that was going bad in the country. Many times I was cursed and beaten just for being a Jew.
My family had no choice but to pack up our bags and immigrate to United States of America. This is why I can relate to Shylock, who was discriminated against in this play. Nevertheless, towards the end of The Merchant of Venice, Portia, disguised as a doctor of laws, pleads to Shylock for mercy, saying, The quality of mercy is not straind, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven, upon the place beneath: it is twice blest, it bletheth him that gives up, and him that takes (p. 35) Perhaps what our society needs is to be reminded of this speech, which will allow us to think about forgiveness, thus coming one step closer to perfection.