William Shakespeare's, The Merchant of Venice, is an abiding play in terms of the values and ideas. The applicable values and ideas of gender equality and religious discrimination that are displayed during the play, represent how the present society can relate to them and still remain heavily debated topics. The injustice that Shylock receives, demonstrates the impact the value of religion can have to the behavior of a character. This advances the relevancy of the play as religion is still influential in today's society. Additionally, through Shakespeare's characterisation of Portia, the values, and ideas of gender equality are represented in the play, which are compatible with the modern society.
Foremost, the religious discrimination directed at Shylock, reflects the significance the value of religion has, which continues to be source of controversy now. The current society can relate to this, as the prejudice Shylock encounters, corresponds to the discrimination Muslim's face today. Shylock, is evidently vilified by an anti-semitic society, where hostility and acrimony is aimed at him due to him being a Jew. This is exhibited when Shylock portrays the discrimination he sustains from Antonio, being labelled as a 'misbeliever', 'cut-throat dog' and being spat and kicked upon, which he describes are the 'courtesies' he has received from Antonio. The recognisable sarcasm Shylock uses, exposes his acerbity to the injustice he must withstand and highlights how the value of religion can influence the actions of a character. Thus, the affect of the values and ideas of religion are still important in the modern society, just as in Shakespeare's society. The result of the religious intolerance Shylock faces, can be related to the discrimination in the present society. For instance, in Act 3, scene 1 in Shylock's speech, 'If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge', it states that if a Jew wrongs a Christian it's permitted if they seek revenge.