A very important and recurring theme in Shakespeare’s plays, The Merchant of Venice, is loyalty. Loyalty is a warm quality that includes devotion, faithfulness, and unswerving allegiance. Shakespeare’s work is still relevant today because we can compare ourselves to the characters and talking about the plays can possibly build friendships. Loyalty is important in today’s society as it help build the success and stability of any lasting relationship. In this case it is represented by Antonio. True loyalty in Shakespeare’s world lies between friends. Antonio is a vital character in this play as he showed the quality of loyalty to his best friend Bassanio. Loyalty can also be represented in two ropes tied together.
As shown in Act 1 Scene 1, Antonio is willing to do anything to help his friend, including loaning him the money to court Portia. Antonio’s loyalty to Bassanio seems boundless. He even risks his life to deliver his dear friend into the hand of another. Even though it’s certain that Portia will turn Bassanio’s attention away from Antonio, Antonio is self-sacrificing and is happy to do it. Antonio says in this scene:
… My purse, my person, my extremest means
Lie all unlocked to your occasions.
Through this example, we can see that loyalty is definitely important, and Antonio’s example will certainly help us even in today’s society. Antonio’s willingness to risk himself to lend Bassanio the money he needs to court Portia is a sign of true friendship and especially loyalty. Therefore, Shakespeare is still relevant today.
In Act 1, Scene 3, Antonio tries to borrow money from Shylock to help his friend, Bassanio. Antonio even states how, until now, has avoided borrowing or lending where interest is involved. He justifies his change of heart by stating that he’ll do anything to help Bassanio. In Act 1, Scene 3, Antonio says:
Shylock, albeit I neither lend nor borrow
By taking nor by giving of excess,
Yet to supply the ripe wants of my friend,
I’ll break a custom…
Shylock even says that if Antonio fails to pay, he will take a pound of flesh from Antonio. Hearing this, Bassanio protests against Antonio’s offer to put up a pound of flesh to secure his loan with Shylock. Even though he says this, Antonio is happy to do it and still willingly risked his life in order to help his friend. This definitely is a sign of loyalty. Antonio’s example certainly teaches us that a friend in need is a friend indeed. Antonio is truly loyal to Bassanio, especially considering the idea that he offered his flesh for his friend. Therefore, Shakespeare is still relevant today.
Loyalty can be represented as two different ropes tied and linked together as an unbreakable chain. This symbolises loyalty, trust and faithfulness for dependence on a trusted partner for support. When you’re part of a team, you stand up for your teammates, and are loyal to them. You would help and protect them though the times big and small, because you know that they will do the same for you. This was shown in the Merchant of Venice through Antonio. There isn’t much more a friend can do that will represent loyalty which is represented through Antonio.
Shakespeare’s work is still relevant today because we can compare ourselves to the characters and talking about the plays can possibly build friendships. We can definitely learn that a a friend in need is a friend indeed. Loyalty helps build the success and stability of any lasting relationship. It is very important in today’s society as it is an important part of any relationship with friends, parents, and lovers and it is a big part of life.
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