The Merchant of Venice is one of Shakespeare’s greats, part of the reason why it is regarded so highly, which includes the way it can be interpreted as an extremely complex play, is the way in which the characters interact and their personalities which evolve into incredibly detailed, three dimensional figures. One main person that falls into this category of being truly complex is the title character, Antonio. Although he may seem straightforward in many situations his relationship with the other characters is very highly debated and may be quite different to the way Shakespeare intended him to be interpreted. One main character that has a strong view of Antonio is that of the Jewish moneylender, Shylock. This view differs greatly to that of those who know Antonio well, as to most he is an incredibly generous, popular person.
First of all Shylock hate Christians, when he meets Antonio the first time he says; "I hate him for he is a Christian;" and we begin to find that his hatred for Antonio is planted and only grows stronger from there. Shylock’s life revolves around money and because of this it plays a major role in his life. Being a Christian means Antonio must lend out money with no interest charged, this causes problems as it puts people who do charge interest, including Shylock, out of business; "He lends out money gratis, and brings down / the rate of usance here with us in Venice." From there we begin to see the