Shakespeare's play, The Merchant of Venice, has often been mistaken as a love story. Although the play does involve love as a theme, the majority of existing themes contradict the qualities of love and prove this play is not a love story. Hatred is a common issue dealt with by Shakespeare throughout the play, as is seeking justice. Another frequently explored theme is deceit. One of the sub-plots involves love but the main plot is centered on money lending and the bond. The Merchant of Venice cannot be described solely as a love story. .
Hatred is very evident throughout The Merchant of Venice. It could be described as the driving force of the play as it was hatred that led to Shylock's notion of the bond in the first place. Shylock's hatred for Antonio is introduced in the first act and carries on to the end of the play. "How like a fawning publican he looks! I hate him for he is a Christian" (act 1, scene 3). Shylock seeks only revenge and will not consider showing mercy or any other qualities that resemble love. The Merchant of Venice is a play that contains a lot of hatred that leads to incidents that do not involve love and this play cannot be described as a love story.
Shakespeare also deals with the act of seeking justice as a major theme throughout The Merchant of Venice. Seeking justice throughout the play could also be seen plainly as getting revenge. This is specifically evident through Shylock's extreme longing for justice against Antonio. Shylock believes that Antonio has insulted and hindered him so much in the past that he is determined to "feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him" (act 1, scene 3). More than anything Shylock would love to have revenge on Antonio and see him dead, "if every ducat in six thousand ducats were in six parts, and every part a ducat, I would not draw them. I would have my bond." (act 4, scene 1). It is obvious that through this amount of hatred and need for selfish justice shown, The Merchant of Venice cannot be described as a love story.