Personal Response to The Merchant of Venice

Throughout this play, we see so much un-reasoned hate towards Shylock and his people, the people that hate shylock and his people are prejudiced towards him. People that are prejudice are usually prejudice because of generalized hate for something and do not have actual hate towards it or they actually have some prejudice against someone. With the first part about that about generalized prejudice, is that people hate others because of what others are doing which isn’t a good mindset, but I do think this actually happens and is something very real. An example of this is when Shylock enters the courtroom in the movie we watched that he gets spat on, called names, and looked at as if he is an alien. The generalized hate / generalized prejudice is from the people doing the weird stare and not saying anything, and then the people that are spitting on him and calling him names have actual prejudice against him.

With this prejudice against Shylock and his people, I feel as though there shouldn’t be revenge The first being why it isn’t justified, this is because the odds were stacked against Shylock to begin with, this is shown when in the story from line 345 to 361 on Act 4, Scene 1. The summary of what happens here is that Portia says that if you shed any blood from a Christian under venetian law that you will be put to death or in prison. So even if he tried to to take the pound of flesh he would shed blood and this pound would be his revenge for losing his money, and in this it isn’t worth it meaning it’s not justified to do so because he would just die or go to prison. Also with not taking revenge, in my opinion I feel as though its more powerful to give mercy in hope that they are nice to you back especially if they are mean to you, which could decrease prejudice and possibly form a bond (which is kind of unlikely).

The last question being Is it possible to be both rich and good, or does wealth inevitably corrupt us? I feel as though with this you need to define what good means because are you good if you donate to charity? if you volunteer every weekend at a homeless shelter? if you are nice to people? if you have never sinned? the word can have many meanings which makes the question almost impossible to answer, but lets say what makes you a good person if you are kind to others and have a big positive impact on the world (without the direct cause of money ex. planting 100 trees in the forest over a week by yourself or with others.) with this meaning now here I feel as though it is possible for someone who is rich to be good. But with the wealth inevitably corrupting you, it depends how you get your wealth, like if you are an owner of a chain of a loan lending company with lots of interest, then the more money you get the more corrupt you get because you are taking it from the people that need it the most, because they can’t go to a bank, in turn you are taking money from very poor people, and in turn it is immoral to keep running this business. But if you are like Khan Academy which like helps people learn things and is a free service, and gets a lot of donations which in turn increases wealth (after like all taxes and other expenses) then in this case wealth wouldn’t inevitably corrupt you. This relates to The Merchant of Venice, most of the people in the Merchant of Venice are not kind at all to Jewish people which in turn (in that aspect) every rich Christian in that aspect is not good, and wealth in the story is usually only by Christian people (I think) so this means that no one in the story is a good person in any aspect.

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