Shakespear Merchant Venice Essay Examples & Outline

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Shakespeare’s representation of evil in Macbeth and the merchant of Venice

Evil is any act in the society considered unacceptable. It can be looked at as a conflict between people’s behavior with the expected conduct. In the religion aspect, evil is considered to lead to sin. It is the source of injustices in the society. Where it exceeds some levels, may contribute to murder as a result of greed of power and wealth. In many instances, evil generates from trusted characters that are influenced by external desires and end up accelerating it. This essay will discuss the various instances of evil as seen in the plays The Merchants of Venice and Macbeth.
Macbeth is shown as a supernatural evil person. In the play, he is used to represent the supernatural world. In his ambitions to lead, he is introduced as a heroic character even though this quality fades away once he gets the throne. His courageous nature is substituted by fear a he crops a new belief on the three witches.

In the play The Merchants of Venice, Shylock’s hatred to the Christian is a show of evil. Bassanio requests Antonio to borrow money from Shylock in order to pursue his love. The loan lent to Bassanio was three thousand ducats. This was really three times the amount of the bond. It is through this unjust nature of Shylock that we learn the evil in the Merchants of Venice’s society.
Shylock, who plays a role of lending money to other people, can be termed as an evil character. His high interests charging rate on money lent to other people, is a show of how evil he was. With the money lent to Bassanio, through Antonio, Shylock changes the bond and claims that he really needed a new bond. It is through this act and his statements that show his he hatred to Christians. Hatred to other people and his in human nature is a show of evil.

In the play, we are introduced to the mistreat that shylock had received from the Christians. In addition to the hatred that had grown from this mistreat, evil between the two religions cropped where each religion considered the other as inferior. This is another form of evil that was as a result of what Shylock had gone through under the arms of the Christians. Conflict between these two religions is a form of evil.

Another evil in the same play is evident in Shylock’s nature of wanting to revenge. The fact that shylock is not willing to forgive the Christian is a show of how he is evil. Shylock is shown as a character who considers Christians as inferior and their religion as a religion of evil people following what he went through while he was under them, is a show of how biased he is in terms of religion is concerned. Shylock tries through all means to revenge to Christians and he is able to achieve this when he imposes high interests to the money lent to Christians. His revenge to Christian is a show of evil

In the play Macbeth, Macbeth’s relation to evil is symbolic. As seen in the scene where Lady Macbeth even though she rejects her husband’s conscience, she was aware of the planned Duncan’s murder. Furthermore she was responsible for the murder as she pressed on Macbeth to commit this murder. We see that once this murder has been committed, guilt haunts her and she slowly leaves her husband to carry the whole responsibility of the committed murder. She avoids talking over this planned murder unequivocally and cannot even commit herself in it. This is as a result of fear as Duncan seemed to be like her father. This hypocrisy in Lady Macbeth is a show of evil in Macbeth’s rule.

The pervasive magic in Macbeth’s world portrays unnatural nature of Macbeth. Magic in his leadership emphasizes the mystery of human nature. The unnatural nature of witches influenced Macbeth’s political ambitions. His magic based leadership is a show of evil. The scene is a show of the effects of evil deeds among the people.

Lying, which is a form of evil in the society is evident in the play Macbeth. Macbeth is a character who is shown to be relying wholly on the witches where he believes everything that these witches predict to him. He lays his trust to these witches and the evil powers. The witches’ influences Macbeth’s life where he is forced to respond in ways along the predictions of the witches. It is through this that all his ruling becomes totally influenced by the witches. When Macbeth realizes that these predictions from the witches were not true, he denounces the witches and claims that their message could be mistaken with the truth. Macbeth utters negative statements against the witches claiming that the witches deform the lives of people as they disturb an important quality of the human personality.

Shakespeare uses imagery to represent evil in his play Macbeth. In the scene where storms, bad weather, lightning and thunder, evil is bound to be happen. This representation is clear where we are introduced to the witches; their evil nature and their supernatural activity are depicted through these natural happenings.

Blood, which is used widely in the play Macbeth, is used to represent guilty in the play. References on blood are made throughout the play where and lastly in the play we are showed Duncan being killed is a representation of evil. Evil, being linked with blood is done to all instances that we have several individuals being dying. In the same manner when Lady Macbeth commits suicide, evil is brought forward where she is overcame by her evil deeds and finally commits suicide.

Evil is evident in the scene where Lady Macbeth uses her feminine nature to appease the witches in order to help her kill Duncan. It is through this scene where we are shown her nature as seductive where she uses witches to unsex her. This is a show of evil in Lady Macbeth’s behavior. Her idea to unsex the witches clearly shows how evil she is.

The three witches are brought out in the play Macbeth as a symbol of evil in the society. Their prophecies are used in the play to confuse human ambitions as seen in Macbeth’s ambitions. In the play, Macbeth’s ambitions are altered with by these supernatural powers. From the incidence where these witches are introduced in the play we can conclude that evil prevailed in the society where
On the other hand, Macbeth’s failure to stand by what he believed is another show of evil. He is stuck in a dilemma of whether to murder Duncan or not. Influence from his wife Lady Macbeth shows the level of evilness in her. Through this manipulation, Macbeth does not accomplish his ambitions to the society. Even though he was masculine in nature and could easily fight other armies, the fact that he did not stand to his ambitions he had for the society is a clear show of his weakness. Lady Macbeth influence on Macbeth is a show of evil in the society as they were greedy of power where they opted to kill Duncan who was the king.

In the play The Merchants of Venice, evil is evident when Shylock claims that he is ready to give up three times the loan in exchange of Antonio’s flesh. This is a clear show of how he had great love for money other than care for his fellow people. His hatred towards Christians is a contributor towards his attitude towards the Christians. His lack of mercy towards the Christians is a show of evil in the play. These evil deeds as from Shylock are contributors as to Antonio’s helplessness situation at the end of the play

[ Roberts, Nora. Divine Evil. (New York: Bantam Books, 2004)pg 106].

We are told that for Shylock to fit in the society he had to change his character. It is through this that Portia insists to Shylock to change his behavior in order to fit in the society. Through Shylock’s adamant nature that he fails to listen to Portia’s advice and continues with his evil deeds. His unjust nature as shown in is hate to the Christians. We are introduced to him being a person who plots evil to destroy the hero and is shown as a person who have his behavior fueled by the evils of others to exhibit his evils.

Portia plans to make young German, the Duke of Saxony's nephew drunk in order for him to make the wrong choice. This is a show of her jealous nature towards other people and in the same way her greed for money is seen where she pressures Bassanio. Through her deeds we are introduced to other instances of evil in the society. The author has chosen her to show the level of greed for money among many women in the society. This is also a show of evil in the play The Merchant of Venice.

Inter-religion differences are also other evils in the play The Merchant of Venice. In the play, the two main characters, Antonio and Shylock are from two different religions. Antonio, who is a Christian, believes that his religion is better than that of Shylock. On the other hand Shylock, a Jew, believes that Christians are evil as to the mistreat he received from them. This inter-religion conflict is the main source of evil as hatred among these people has the base from this conflict

Evil is a source of injustices in the society. In the two plays, evil, brought out in the behavior of the main characters is evident to be the source of these injustices. In Macbeth, his greed for power leads him to committing other forms of evil. His greed contributes to the killing of Duncan. On the other hand, Lady Macbeth’s evilness on reliance on witches haunts her conscious and guilt of having known about the planned murder of Duncan leads her to committing suicide. Evil is brought out be a contributor towards the evil deeds done by the characters. It suppresses the human personality contributing to change in their behavior.

As a contribution of evil in the play, the heroic nature of Macbeth fades away. His ambitious plans he had to the society are never achieved as he turns out his trust on witches. They influence his actions as he tries to adjust his behavior as to their predictions. Through this act, evil is highlighted to have a role of hindering those in authority to offer what they are expected to. Macbeth was expected to lead the community in a heroic nature but his ambitions are negatively affected by the supernatural powers of witches.

In the other play, we are introduced to Shylock who is wealthy character. Shylock imposes high interest rates on Bassanio just because he was a Christian. This contributes to a high amount being paid back by Bassanio. Hatred is as a result of evil. Injustices committed by Shylock are as a result of hatred. In Shylock’s character, we learn the outcomes of evil in the society. His humanity is carried away by the hate he had to the Christians. As a result of this, conclusion can be drawn that evil contributes to injustices within the society as learnt from Shylock

From these two plays, we can draw a conclusion that evil is the mother injustices within any society. Evil diminishes humanity. Shylock is claims that he can take Antonio’s flesh. In the same manner, he is not willing to reduce the interest. In the other play, murder committed by the characters is a show of how evil plays a role in suppressing the human nature.


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Christie, Agatha. Evil Under the Sun: A Hercule Poirot Mystery. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2006.
Harbage, Alfred. William Shakespeare: a Reader's Guide. New York: Octagon Books, 1971.
Williams, C K, and Charles Lamb. Tales from Shakespeare. Harlow: Pearson, 1999.
Roberts, Nora. Divine Evil. New York: Bantam Books, 2004.
Ashley, Michael, and William Shakespeare. Shakespearean Whodunnits. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1997.