If there is one thing that William Shakespeare is able to do is describe humanity, whether it is favorable or not. His comedies are no exception. Here, throughout Shakespeare’s comedies such as "The Merchant of Venice", "Twelfth Night", and "All’s Well That Ends Well", Shakespeare portrays human nature as being mean, very demanding, and narrow-minded.
In each of the plays described above, one person was always the target of personal attacks. In "The Merchant of Venice" it was Shylock, in "Twelfth Night" it was Malvolio, and in "All’s Well That Ends Well" it could be viewed as Betram (not to mention Parolles). In each of these plays, the people picked on did nothing to do this punishment (except Parolles). Instead, Shakespeare shows the cruelty of human nature by having these characters slighted for doing what to them was right, not deserving this treatment. In "The Merchant of Venice", Antonio clearly agrees to Shylock’s pact by saying "Yes, Shylock, I will seal unto this bond", in Act I scene iii line 168. But later they thought Shylock as being irrational when he came to collect his due. Though the means of payment might have seemed barbaric, none-of–the less Shylock kept his side of the bargain and deserved his payment.
Another characteristic Shakespeare portrays in his characters is a very demanding cast. In each of the plays the characters where never happy, always wanting more until a conflict arose. This occurred in "The Merchant of Venice" with Bassanio excessive surge for Portia, allowing his friend to risk his life for his own gain (Bassanio’s). In "All’s Well That Ends Well" Helena wasn’t happy until she married Bertram, even if she married Bertram without him being willing. She obviously didn’t care for Bertram, just herself.
Besides these traits the characters in Shakespeare’s comedies possessed, they also were narrow-minded, not seeing how their decisions affected others. In "All’s Well That Ends Well" the King, after Helena "saves" him, helps Helena marry Bertram, demanding Bertram to marry her against his will. He didn’t take into consideration that Bertram didn’t love Helena and that a relationship can’t (in most circumstances) last without mutual love. This can also be seen in "The Merchant of Venice" when Antonio kept on accepting Shylock’s deal, assuring himself that his boats would return safely, not taking into account the factor of chance. Lastly, in "Twelfth Night", this occurs with Malvolio and the letter. Instead of thinking the different possibilities out about the letter, he automatically assumes it is for him. In Act II scene v lines138 – 140 he states "M, O, A, I. This hidden significance is not as the former……for every one of these letters are in my name.", not even realizing these letters might stand for something else besides what he thought they belonged to.
All in all, if looked at closely, Shakespeare presents the characters in his comedies in a negative light. Whether it was cruelty or stupidity, the nature of humanity Shakespeare presents in his play is proper for this type of play. The main reason can be attributed to the fact that most people don’t realize they are this, and consequently find it humorous.