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Appearance and Prejudice

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One of Shakespeare’s most frequent themes is appearance versus reality. This theme manifests itself in different ways for different purposes. In Merchant of Venice (2.2.181), Bassanio says to Gratiano:

Thou art too wild, too rude and bold of voice—
Parts that become thee happily enough,
And in such eyes as ours appear not faults.
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Christians and Jews

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The first exchange between Antonio and Shylock in The Merchant of Venice (1.3.116) reveals much about their characters, their motivations and the themes of the play. For example, Shylock is clearly less motivated by money and greed, the typical ingredients of antisemitic prejudice, than by anger at having been personally and publicly insulted by Antonio. And Antonio, who was previously shown to be a generous,
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