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Antonio's melancholy and his excessive hatred of Shylock are two puzzling aspects of The Merchant of Venice, most critics agreeing that the cause of the first is never revealed. However, the two (melancholy and mutual detestation) are closely linked. Antonio's state of mind, his confusion, is brought on by his being (or, more accurately, having been) a Jew, too, who will always have to play the role of the born Christian. His original religious orientation is revealed throughout the play,doi:10.4102/lit.v10i1.819 fatcat:fp7bcyr7v5d4llhdx6vckq26i4