Timon and Shylock

“His best companions, innocence and health; and his best riches innocence of wealth.”—Oliver Goldsmith. Wealth can bring about a multitude of problems. In Shakespeare’s two plays about money, both of its protagonists Timon and Shylock suffer great heartache through having ample sums of money. Timon is too generous and Shylock too insidious. Timon gives very generously, as he feels that if he should ever run out of money, all of those that he gave to would be there to help him; he finds this to be utterly false. People are quick to take but reluctant to reciprocate, especially when they feel like they won’t directly benefit. When the person that once gave them much has little, they feel like there is nothing in it for them as they see nothing to gain. But friendship shouldn’t be motivated by immediate personal gain. In the Merchant of Venice, Shylock creates corporal terms (a pound a flesh nearest the merchant’s heart) for the defaulting of his bond, as he can afford to not be repaid. He puts his hatred of Antonio and his Christianity to travail by demanding the heinous bond be fulfilled in order to “feed fat the ancient grudge he bears him.” But this could of never happened without having ample means at his disposal (he lends the high sum of three thousand ducats). This bond he devises ends up “hoisting him with his own petard,” as he violates Venetian law in the process and loses all his possessions. In both cases money engendered much malady. One because of generosity and the other because of the malevolent abuse abundance.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s