People’s rewards are determined based on their actions. The fact that Shylock is not merciful to Antonio and that he is hateful towards the Christians, has resulted in him losing his possessions. Bassanio not only helps Antonio, but is also wise and being wed to Portia is his reward. Antonio gives money to Bassanio and is willing to die for his friend and his reward is his life. The particular actions and decisions made by Shylock, Antonio and Bassanio causes them to reap the benefits or misfortunes of their behavior.Shylock is one of the more evil characters, who shows no mercy and is robbed of his possessions for these deeds. Shylock is not merciful towards Antonio’s situation and he does not care for his life. When Shylock is about to take a pound of flesh from Antonio, Portia asks for a doctor to help Antonio with his wound.
All Shylock can say about this is, ‘I cannot find it; ’tis not in the bond.’; (IV i 260). He does not care for Antonio’s life.
Not only does Shylock hate Antonio, but he also hates all Christians. He shows this when he says, ‘I hate him for he is Christian’;(I iii 39). He is almost basing his whole dislike for Antonio on his religion. Shylock’s cruelty causes him to be punished. Portia tells him, ‘Thou hast contrived against the very life / Of the defendant; and thou hast incurred / The danger formally by me rehearsed’;(IV i 358).
Shylock’s cruelty towards Antonio and his prejudice against Christians results in his punishment by the law. Bassanio uses his wisdom to wed Portia and he courageously helps Antonio. His reward is having Portia’s hand in marriage. Bassanio is willing to give up his life for Antonio. When he says ‘Good cheer, Antonio! What, man, courage yet! / The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones, and all, / Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood.
‘; (IV i 111) He is saying he appreciates Antonio’s courage for him, but he also says Shylock will have to take his flesh, blood, bones and all before he can get at Antonio. Bassanio’s love for his wife is shown by his reluctance to give up his wedding ring. When Bassanio says, ‘Good sir, this ring was given me by my wife, / And when she put it on, she made me vow / That I should neither sell nor give nor lose it.’; (IV i 439). Bassanio shows Portia that he loves her and that he is worthy of her love. Portia says, ‘I had it of him. Pardon me, Bassanio, / For by this ring the doctor lay with me.’; (V i 258).
She trusts Bassanio and gives back his ring because she knows Bassanio loves her. Bassanio’s brave acts towards Shylock to help Antonio and his love for his wife allows Portia to see that Bassanio is a nice, honest, courageous man and that she can forgive him.Antonio gives money to Bassanio to help towards his happiness and he is willing to die for his friend so his reward is not being killed. Antonio says to Bassanio ‘I pray you good Bassanio, let me know it; / And if it stand, as you yourself still do, / Within the eye of honor, be assured / My purse, my person, my extremist means, / Lie al unlocked to your occasions.’; (I i 139).
Antonio says that he trusts Bassanio and that all his money is available to him if he needs it. Antonio is also willing to die for Bassanio because he says, ‘Give me your hand, Bassanio; fare you well! / Grieve not that I am fall’n to this for you,’; (IV i 263). Antonio is telling Bassanio not to worry about him but to try and live his own life to the fullest. Antonio does not die but is given his life back by Portia because Shylock had broken the contract and threatened his life without reason and that is a crime in Venice. Antonio’s generous nature and sacrifice for his friend results in him living on, and not being killed.
The characters in the Merchant of Venice’s decisions and actions coincided with what happened to them later in the play. Shylock is a mean character who showed no mercy and he has hate for Christians which results in him losing all of his goods. While Antonio and Bassanio are generous and courageous they get rewarded; Bassanio gets to be with Portia and Antonio gets to live on and not be killed or wounded severely. It is therefore true that people get what they deserve accordingly, based on their particular actions.