As Shakespeare's works as a whole become more widely accessible, audiences are looking away from the more well known plays such as "Macbeth" and "Hamlet" and starting to discover lesser known plays such an "The Merchant of Venice". With the popular appropriations of Shakespeare's plays (namely "Romeo and Juliet" and "Othello") to film recently, a wider range of audiences are becoming familiarised with Shakespeare's language and ability to create original and interesting characters. In "The Merchant of Venice" Shakespeare uses these elements as well as inspired plot and visual imagery to create a play that is increasing in popularity today. .
Many of Shakespeare's plots have been reused numerous times throughout history. "The Merchant of Venice" contains four intertwined plots, which allows Shakespeare to include elements that appeal to all audiences, including revenge, romance and humour. The use of an intertwined plot has become a popular element in modern films, with many of these elements being included in movies such as "Snatch" and "Pulp Fiction". For this reason, the historical context of "The Merchant of Venice" is a lasting reminder of the repetitive nature of plots and gives the play popularity because audiences enjoying such adaptations will continue to look for similar stories in different media. .
The Play has two contrasting settings, the harsh, industrial town of Venice, and the more romantic and exotic city of Belmont. This allows Shakespeare to show different elements of the characters and plots he uses. It also continues the "something for everyone" aspect of "The Merchant of Venice", which makes it so universal and popular. The different characters and the way they are represented is where most sociological difference comes when compared to today. In the 16th century setting, non-Christian religious groups such as the Jews were looked down upon. For this reason, the character of Shylock was able to be added as a villain with the adverse characteristics of a stereotypical Jew without Shakespeare having to worry about "political correctness" as we see it today.