As we known that the merchant of Venice is one of Shakespeare’s most important works. It is a comedy. The theme of this play is to extol kindheartedness, friendship and love. And also it reflects the conflicts between the capitalists and usurers at the beginning of the capitalist society. And it expresses the author’s humanist idea on money, law and religion in capitalist society. This thesis analyzes the main figures in the play by using independent and contrast ways. It shows the heavily flavor of humanism at the beginning of capitalist society; and expresses some thoughts for society and human being. The thesis also makes a hard criticism to Shylock, who is a representative of feudalism, and puts a heavy humanism on Portia. It displays the thoughts of feudalism personality liberation, and stressing the great breakthrough of woman’s status and feminine consciousness in Elizabethan era.
Character analyzing; humanism; personality liberation; women consciousness
众所周知，《威尼斯商人》是莎士比亚着名喜剧之一。 该剧的主题被定义为对善良、友谊和爱情的颂扬。 本剧不但反映了资本主义早期资产阶级同高利贷者间的矛盾冲突，也揭示了作者对资本主义社会金钱、法律和宗教信仰的人文主义观点。本论文采用了个案分析法以及对比分析法对该剧的主要人物形象作了一一剖析，展示了资本主义萌芽时期人文主义的浓厚气息，表达了莎士比亚对社会、对人类生活的反思，并寄以自己的理想。课题对封建旧势力的代表——夏洛克作了无情的批判，而对形象鲜明、富有光彩的鲍西娅则添上了浓厚的人文主义理想色彩。文章彰显了女性个性解放，突显了文艺复兴时期伊丽莎白当权期，女性地位、意识的重大突破。
The Merchant of Venice is one of the Shakespeare’s famous comedies in his early time. It’s theme is to extol kindness, friendship and love. It is the mirror of the contradiction between business bourgeois and usurer at the beginning of the Capitalist society. It’s also expressed the author’s humanism ideas on money, law and religion in this society. There, we mention Humanism--the main distinguishing feature of that period, also the brightness characteristic which is shown from the important role in this play.
In this thesis, the author introduces the background of the play firstly. Reading the play, we can know that the social background in the play is according with the real society. We know at that time, the society was under the leadership of Elizabeth who was the symbol of power in England. Next the thesis gives an introduction of the main figures in the play. Antonio is rich and kindhearted. From him we can see the spirit of humanism. Portia plays the most important part in the play. The thesis talks about her character, her hobbies, and her attitude of love and the inner meaning-humanism of this figure. She is the center of all these figures the play refers to. Humanism is an ideological weapon for capitalism to fight the feudalism combat, and also it is the core idea of capitalism advanced-literature in Renaissance, and its combat refers to the ideal of Feudalism in Middle Age, especially the religion belief of Catholics. After that, the thesis gives more details about the information mentioned above. Then the thesis compares the figures to give a highlight of the humanism spirit.
Ⅰ. Social Background of the Play the Merchant of Venice
As is known, England is a developed country. Today, it also obtains very important status in the world. It is very necessary to talk about the history of the growth of capitalism in England, especially in 16th century.
A. The Social Information in Elizabeth Throne
Henry VIII died in 1547 and his nine-year-old son succeeded him. The son was known in history, Edward Ⅵ. The boy-king’s reign was a time of extreme Protestantism, for the Regency Council for him consisted almost entirely of the protestant faction. Edward Ⅵ died in 1553. only 15years old. Then his half-sister, Mary, a Catholic, became Queen. The new Queen came to the throne at the age of twenty-five. After the coronation, her parliament passed the necessary legislation to abolish the papal supremacy over the church, and gave Elizabeth all the powers over the church which her father had held, though with the more modest title of “Supreme Government” of the Church of England instead of “Supreme Head” Elizabeth died on 24 March, 1603 at the age of sixty-nine. Her forty-four-year reign had not only ensured the triumph of Protestantism in Britain and in Northern Europe, but had greatly increased the wealth, power and prestige of England. Her navy triumphed over the great Armada of the king of Spain; her sailors’ circum navigated the world, and established a colony on the North American continent which they named Virginia after their virgin queen. At home, the merchants were prosperous; the common people enjoyed a higher standard of living than in most other European countries, and her reign w