Merchant of Venice - Conflict and Loyalty

The Merchant of Venice
The Correlation between Loyalty and Conflict

Loyalty is recognized as the dedication of oneself to another, and is prevalent in nearly all of today’s societies. Its importance is unparalleled, as a bond formed by loyalty and trust is one that should last a lifetime. This play presents the forming of bonds of loyalty, though not all of these bonds end well. In Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice, he emphasizes the conflicts and struggles that arise as a result of the forming or consummation of past loyalties, and how they result in the loss of trust and acceleration of the plot.
The most prominent example of how loyalty is displayed in the play stems from the platonic relationship between Antonio and Bassanio. This loyalty was found throughout the novel, and was best illustrated by Antonio in the following quote. “Try what my credit can in Venice do” (I.I.180). The proof of loyalty between Antonio and Bassanio is shown here – Antonio is willing to provide for his best friend to reach his goals, even if it results in the borrowing of money from a Jew (who charges interest). The following quote initiates the plot line of The Merchant of Venice, and outlines the negative impact loyalty can have.
This kindness will I show you:/
Go with me to a notary; seal me there/
Your single bond,… let the forfeit/
Be nominated for an equal pound/
Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken/
In what part of your body pleaseth me. (I.III.140-148)

This quote introduces and foreshadows the major plot line of the play between Shylock and Antonio. These two quotes illustrate and emphasize how the loyalty presented between Bassanio and Antonio results in future struggles due to the bond and help to advance the plot line, both of which support the thesis. Not only does the loyalty between Bassanio and Antonio cause hardships for Antonio, it also creates a romantic struggle between Bassanio and his wife Portia.

The loyalty formed...