Tragedy in The Merchant of Venice

According to, a tragedy is a form of art based on human suffering; furthermore, it is a dramatic composition, dealing with a serious or somber theme, typically that of a great person destined through a flaw of character or conflict with some overpowering force, as fate or society, to downfall or destruction. Tragedy elements are that in which a protagonist agonizes disconnection from society and also, he or she makes an error or shows awful decision making. There are typically deaths which arise at the end or near the end of the play. The Merchant of Venice can be classified as a tragedy because it contains the rather sinister elements generally found in tragedies and the play Antigone can be considered a tragedy, because of the severe consequences of the story's proceedings.

As a tragedy, The Merchant of Venice focuses on the collapse of a Jewish moneylender, Shylock, who exits the stage a wrecked man and is unavoidable at the conclusion of the play to become a Christian and to surrender his assets. In this play, Shylock is the tragic hero because he has a tragic flaw. His fault is fairly obvious, all the way through the play, which is that his material prosperity depletes his judgments on a daily basis. One example where it is noticeable that he merely cares about his belongings is the instance when his daughter, Jessica, runs away. He says, “O, my ducats! O, my daughter! Fled with a Christian! O, my Christian ducats” (Shakespeare 2.8.15-16). He incorporates his daughter right in between as if she is one of his assets. Near the conclusion of the play, Shylock is humiliated. Shylock experiences disgrace when Portia, masked as a man, employs his personal remarks and bond in opposition to him. This occurs because in the beginning of the trial, Portia devotes him for being clever and honorable, but then he learns that in reality, she is not on his side like she portrays to be. Shylock faces anguish all over the play by being mistreated a great deal of times. Antonio spits on him and kicks him like a dog: “Thou call’dst me dog before thou hadst a cause; But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs” (Shakespeare 3. 3. 9-10). An additional instance is when his daughter, Jessica, runs away from him; moreover, this bothers him wholly because she runs away with a Christian. Furthermore, Shylock is mistreated when Antonio is liberated from the agreement. The means, by which Shylock is acted towards, by the Christians, is pretty appalling and tragic.

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The Merchant of Venice can also be in the category of a tragedy because Antonio goes through human distress. He is a tedious character who arises in Act one as a austere, mournful human being who has trouble identifying the source of his downheartedness and who, for the duration of the play, transfers into a maudlin tumescence, not capable to assemble the liveliness crucial to secure himself against punishment. Shylock is adequately portentous to critically cause danger to the bliss of Antonio and by this being the foremost motivation, Antonio agonizes. Antonio is extra cheerful to bid his fine credit status so that Bassanio can depart to Belmont in the newest styles with the intention to beseech Portia. One of the reasons why Shylock extremely dislikes Antonio is because Antonio obtains Shylock's beggars by loaning them currency at the very last minute to reimburse Shylock; in addition, Antonio on no account requests for credit. Antonio proposes that Bassonio loan currency from Shylock, with Antonio’s excellent bond as security. Shylock accedes to lend but requests for a pound of Antonio’s flesh as an agreement. All throughout Act three, Shylock repetitively continues to utter “I’ll have my bond” (Shakespeare 3.3.5). This portrays how Shylock would relatively accept a portion of Antonio’s flesh than to have three times the quantity of currency he owes.

Furthermore, this illustrates how Shylock desires to cause Antonio a great deal of hurt. A further way to acknowledge Shylock’s wish for a portion of Antonio’s flesh is to reckon the conditions under which Shylock stresses his agreement. As soon as Shylock becomes conscious of the information about Antonio’s penalty, he, additionally, apprehends news that his daughter, Jessica, runs away to wed a Christian. Shylock’s answers saying, “I’ll plague him [Antonio]; I’ll torture him” (Shakespeare 3.1.13).

Perhaps, Shylock is trying to reimburse for the defeat of his own flesh and blood (Jessica) by means of commanding to have a little bit of Antonio’s flesh and blood. Since Antonio is incapable to compensate back his lend, Shylock agonizes him and desires to have him lifeless by resolutely nagging to get the portion of Antonio’s flesh. 

In Antigone, the two protagonists, Antigone and Creon can equally declare the title tragic hero. In the story of Antigone, Oedipus already died and his two sons, Polyneices and Eteocles, are left to contend for the throne of Thebes. During their conflict for the throne, the two brothers slay one another, leaving Creon to be the King of Thebes. He issues a ruling allowing a memorial service to one of the brothers, however, not to the other. He respects Eteocles for protecting the city, but leaves Polyneices elsewhere to rot. Nevertheless, as being a part of his family, it is Antigone’s responsibility and right to inter both of her brothers, and she does this. In Creon’s decree, he issues the death penalty for Antigone. During this time, Creon progressively becomes obstinate and will not listen to anyone, not even the Gods. Creon imprisons Antigone lively.The mystic Teiresias approaches Creon and he ultimately, apologizes and agrees to free Antigone. He finds that it is too tardy and sadly, Antigone commits suicide by hanging herself, his son also commits suicide by falling to his foil, and his wife also kills herself abruptly following, leaving Creon with nothing. 

Creon’s tragedy and tragic flaw is his obstinacy and unwillingness to observe anyone else’s outlook. He follows the rule of the city and as well, as a King, by maintaining to his edict. While Antigone attempts to replace the constraints of the edict with her own, Creon becomes obstinate and provincial. He verbally abuses Hades by means of degrading the decease, Aphrodite in ending the matrimony of Haemon and Antigone, and the Earth by punishing Antigone lively; in addition, Creon does not pay attention to Antigone’s viewpoint and discounts his son’s begging request for rationale and compassion. This results in Creon being brought down by the Gods and his wife and son committing suicide. In the end, following when Creon gets together with Teiresias, Creon becomes aware of his fault and as well, how he will endure if he wrongly gives ruling upon Antigone; yet, for him, it is long overdue.

Antigone’s tragedy results from her firm devotion to her brother Polynices and her willpower to provide him with a suitable interment, regardless of the individual harm that she may obtain. Her insolence and disregard to Creon results in him chastising her lively in a tomb, where she kills herself. Antigone's collapse has cosmic importance to the exterior world; this is a further mark of the tragic hero. As a representation of the populace, Antigone’s fatality is a corporeal mistake through Creon. Antigone’s death not only resulted in the death of Creon’s son, Haemon, it slowly ended in the final devastation of Creon himself. Antigone's defeat is from her personal hasty measures, but there is a feel of misfortune for her because of the consciousness of her circumstance, of her shabby faithfulness, and her obvious deficiency of additional alternatives. Her collapse demolishes Creon, however this itself causes Antigone's defeat to be no less catastrophic. Antigone’s destiny is unquestionably disastrous but it is quite palpable starting from beginning that she is destined for fatality. Antigone exclaims, “If I die for it, what happiness” (Sophocles 136). This portrays how Antigone is certainly a tragic character with a tragic destiny. 

Both Antigone and The Merchant of Venice are examples of tragedies. The Merchant of Venice is noticeable by a pungent and ostracized Jewish moneylender, Shylock, who looks for vengeance in opposition to a Christian mercantile who fails on credit. Shylock and Antonio together experience personal distress which can categorize these plays as tragedies. Antigone is a story distinct by true misfortune as Creon is overpowered by his individual measures and Antigone's individual tragic fatality notes the start of that collapse. Antigone and Creon mutually have vital tragic flaws that eventually end in their tragedies, therefore, Antigone and The Merchant of Venice equally compare in making these two plays tragedies. 

Works Cited:

“Tragedy.” Dictionary, 2011. Web. 1 Dec. 2011. 
Shakespeare, William. The Merchant of Venice. New York: Washington Square Press, 1992.
Sophocles, . Antigone. Clayton: Prestwick House, 2005.

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