Tory Historian has been wading into literary studies of a kind by reading a fascinating book by that well-known man of letters, John Gross, on Shylock (a review in the Independent). Among other many fascinating things even in the first third, Tory Historian found this aperçu:
Between them, Antonio and Shylock represent two extreme versions of Economic Man, one benevolent, the other malign. Jekyll-Antonio embodies the fantasy that you can enjoy the benefits of economic enterprise and confer them on your society, without being competitive and self-assertive. Hyde-Shylock is the capitalist as total predator conferring good on no one except himself. They are twin aspects of the same phenomenon; and a tremendous amount of the play's energy is pent on keeping them apart.Antonio is the merchant of the title who has trading interests all over the world and is known for lending money without interest, which annoys Shylock for the very good reason that it undercuts his own business and that of people like him.