The True Hero in the Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice is a play by William Shakespeare set in the 16th Century, Venice. This is a play about a Merchant, Antonio, who borrows money from a Jewish moneylender, Shylock. Antonio is borrowing the money for his friend, Bassanio. Antonio wishes to give the money to Bassanio so he can attempt to win the hand of Portia, a wealthy lady. When Antonio finds himself unable to repay his debt, his life is at stake and the drama unfolds. 16th Century Venice was not like the world we live in today. Although it was a very successful city, life for most people was hard.

It was a judgemental Christian city where slavery and arranged marriage were commonplace. Shakespeare uses this environment to bring out the worst in his characters. We see greed, prejudice, and revenge as each character fights for what they believe to be correct. In these surroundings, it is not difficult to find a villain but it is difficult to find a hero. So who is the true hero in the Merchant of Venice? Antonio is one of the main characters; he is the Merchant of Venice.

He is wealthy, well known, and a loyal friend to Bassanio. However, he has hatred towards Jews. Some may consider Antonio to be the hero, for borrowing three thousand ducats for his dear friend Bassanio but some may consider him as a villain due to his prejudice towards the Jewish moneylender, Shylock. When he is unable to pay his debt and his life is about to be taken he still holds the values of friendship higher than his own life:

“And he repents not that he pays your debt,

For if the Jew do cut but deep enough

I’ll pay it instantly with all my heart”

(Merchant of Venice, Act 4, Sc. 1, 277-279).

But I do not think Antonio can be considered a hero because although he was honorable to his friend and to Venice, his treatment of Shylock was unforgivable. Even when asking for the loan he admits his prejudice towards Shylock because he was a Jew:

“I am as like to call on thee so again,

To spit on thee again, to spurn on thee too.”

(Merchant of Venice, Act 1, Sc. 3, 125-126)

And although he spared Shylocks life and left him half of his fortune, his terms were very cruel:

“He presently become a Christian;

The other, that he do record a gift,

Here in the court, of all he dies possess’d

Unto his son Lorenzo and his daughter.”

(Merchant of Venice, Act 4, Sc. 1, 385-388).

Bassanio didn’t have to make Shylock a Christian; he could have just let him go. This cruel term overshadows all the good things that he’s done for others so that’s why I think Bassanio is a villain. Shylock is also a big part of the play. He has the potential to be a hero because he’s a hard-working honest man, true to Judaism and endures prejudice in his everyday life:

“You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog,

And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine”

(Merchant of Venice, Act 1, Sc. 3, 107-108).

His daughter, Jessica, runs away from him to be with her Christian lover, Lorenzo. She also converts to Christianity and steals all his riches. At this point, the reader feels sorry for Shylock but when he finds himself in the position of power, he turns out to be as cruel as everyone else:

“I’ll have no speaking, I will have my bond”

(Merchant of Venice, Act 3, Sc. 3, 17).

His attitude doesn’t change when he goes to court and by this stage, the reader has no sympathy for him so Shylock is definitely not a heroic or likable character. Portia is one of the only three main female characters in the play. She is loyal to her late father, intelligent, witty, and mischievous. Will she be a hero or a villain? Portia seems a victim at first; how she’s forced into a marriage and doesn’t have a choice.

However when Bassanio, the man she’s loved from the first sight, picks the right casket she seems content and she tells him that he is her “king” – (Merchant of Venice, Act 3, Sc. 2, 165). When Bassanio’s dear friend, Antonio, is in trouble and needs three thousand ducats, Portia shows her kindness and love for Bassanio by offering to pay even more:

“Pay his six thousand, and deface the bond.

Double six thousand, and then treble that,

Before a friend of this description

Shall lose a hair through Bassanio’s fault.”

(Merchant of Venice, Act 3, Sc. 2, 297-300)

Her greatest act is saving the life of Antonio. It is easy for a rich person to pay a bond but Portia makes a greater sacrifice by disguising herself as a male doctor of law and facing the courtroom. When she cannot persuade Shylock to change his mind, she says that he is quite entitled under the law to cut off a pound of Antonio’s flesh.

However, she outwits him by failing to mention that he cannot legally draw blood and therefore can in fact not take the flesh he so desires. I think this shows that Portia is very heroic and witty. In my opinion, I think that the true hero in the Merchant of Venice is Portia. I think this because she is kind, generous, helps others, and saved someone’s life. This makes her stand out as a heroic character above all the others.

Calculate the price
Make an order in advance and get the best price
Pages (550 words)
*Price with a welcome 15% discount applied.
Pro tip: If you want to save more money and pay the lowest price, you need to set a more extended deadline.
We know how difficult it is to be a student these days. That's why our prices are one of the most affordable on the market, and there are no hidden fees.

Instead, we offer bonuses, discounts, and free services to make your experience outstanding.
How it works
Receive a 100% original paper that will pass Turnitin from a top essay writing service
step 1
Upload your instructions
Fill out the order form and provide paper details. You can even attach screenshots or add additional instructions later. If something is not clear or missing, the writer will contact you for clarification.
Pro service tips
How to get the most out of your experience with MyhomeworkGeeks
One writer throughout the entire course
If you like the writer, you can hire them again. Just copy & paste their ID on the order form ("Preferred Writer's ID" field). This way, your vocabulary will be uniform, and the writer will be aware of your needs.
The same paper from different writers
You can order essay or any other work from two different writers to choose the best one or give another version to a friend. This can be done through the add-on "Same paper from another writer."
Copy of sources used by the writer
Our college essay writers work with ScienceDirect and other databases. They can send you articles or materials used in PDF or through screenshots. Just tick the "Copy of sources" field on the order form.
See why 20k+ students have chosen us as their sole writing assistance provider
Check out the latest reviews and opinions submitted by real customers worldwide and make an informed decision.

Notice: Array to string conversion in /home/myhomeworkgeeks/ on line 18
The writer was timely and proficient. I had to ask for a revision, but I got it back quickly with no other issues. Would use this essay writing service again
Customer 0, November 14th, 2021

Notice: Array to string conversion in /home/myhomeworkgeeks/ on line 18
First of all, the writer made sure that he completely understood my assignment and all the guidelines before he began writing. My paper was finished very fast and well before the specified deadline. I thought it was written excellently. He definitely completely grasped the topic. Overall, he is a great writer and I couldn't have asked for better.
Customer 0, November 29th, 2021

Notice: Array to string conversion in /home/myhomeworkgeeks/ on line 18
IThank you
Customer 0, April 6th, 2021

Notice: Array to string conversion in /home/myhomeworkgeeks/ on line 18
Thank you!
Customer 0, April 19th, 2022

Notice: Array to string conversion in /home/myhomeworkgeeks/ on line 18
It's the second time I use this service and it does not let me down. Work quality is so good for its price!
Customer 0, December 3rd, 2021

Notice: Array to string conversion in /home/myhomeworkgeeks/ on line 18
Customer 0, May 23rd, 2022

Notice: Array to string conversion in /home/myhomeworkgeeks/ on line 18
awesome work
Customer 0, June 15th, 2022

Notice: Array to string conversion in /home/myhomeworkgeeks/ on line 18
Very fast response and did a excellent job.
Customer 0, May 31st, 2022

Notice: Array to string conversion in /home/myhomeworkgeeks/ on line 18
Awesome job, Thank you
Customer 0, June 12th, 2022

Notice: Array to string conversion in /home/myhomeworkgeeks/ on line 18
awesome work
Customer 0, October 14th, 2021

Notice: Array to string conversion in /home/myhomeworkgeeks/ on line 18
Received before the deadline. Great job!
Customer 0, January 15th, 2022

Notice: Array to string conversion in /home/myhomeworkgeeks/ on line 18
The writer did not follow my choice of topic (Food/Water Insecurity, Hunger, & Poverty), the paper was instead written about Climate Change in Africa. However, the paper was still great and informative. Thank you!
Customer 0, January 28th, 2022
Customer reviews in total
Current satisfaction rate
3 pages
Average paper length
Customers referred by a friend
15% OFF your first order
Use a coupon FIRST15 and enjoy expert help with any task at the most affordable price.
Claim my 15% OFF Order in Chat
Live ChatWhatsApp

Are You Looking For Assignment Help? We Can Certainly Assist You