Portia has to deal with prejudice against her gender, the Prince of Morocco has to cope with prejudice against his race but the character that is most discriminated against is Shylock. He is hated for being a Jew and a money-lender, but Shakespeare has not made Shylock a character easy to sympathize with. He appears to be mean and cruel and it seems as though he loves his money above all else. However during the play there are moments when Shakespeare gives Shylock speeches which show his humaneness and compassion. In these moments, although at the time it was written there was little tolerance of Jews, during these moments the modern day audience would certainly feel sorry for him.
By doing so he showed insincerity and selfishness. To be forgiven a person should show true sincerity, and consider the victims situation. Karl did not do either of these things and therefore should not be forgiven. He said he needed forgiveness from any Jew so that he could die peacefully. He did not consider the additional burden he was handing over to Simon so that his conscious could be clear and the last minutes of his life would be peaceful.
Shylock: The victim of a 21st century tragedy William Shakespeare wrote The Merchant of Venice during the Elizabethan era, a time when anti-Semitism was a prevalent theme, and conventional literature depicted Jewish characters as being greedy and malicious. Because Shylock is Jewish, England’s 16th century audience considers him the ultimate cultural villain; however, 21st century readers see him somewhat differently. While The Merchant of Venice is a 16th century comedy, it is a 21st century tragedy, portraying Shylock not as the villain but as the ultimate victim. Shylock is the victim of discrimination; and while this anti-Semitism is the norm for Elizabethan culture, modern-day literature denounces this injustice and does not celebrate prejudice. In 16th century England, Christians denounced Jews for valuing money and business more than human relationships.
Also, while accusing Abigail of being a harlot in Act III, he throws away his name, claiming “…To Danforth: A man will not cast away his good name. You surely know that.” (P. 1259). John feels that he is respected enough to be heard about his confession of adultery with Abigail, and claims that he would not carelessly throw away his good reputation without a reasonable cause. Early on in the play, Arthur Miller uses dramatic irony to show that John Proctor is a
During the 1600’s Jews were extremely disliked and according to Peter Gintro were ‘usurious, cunning, malevolent and potentially murderous’. A stereotype of the Jewish community originated from medieval and again is ironically attributes we see surrounding Shylock. One way Shakespeare reinforces and challenges contemporary attitudes to cultural outsiders is through Othello’s character. Othello is a Moor and Shakespeare presents him in a way which would suggest that he is humble around the other characters and aware of the fact that his cultural differences cripple him in
This was one major factor which enforced the separation of the Jews and the Christians. In Shakespeare's time Jews were simply not allowed to be English nationals but the Christians Were. Basically that is all the right that the Christians had that the Jews did not. Male friendship Male friendship was something that the society of that time saw as far removed from the notion of sodomy, even though it was a close emotional and physical relationship between males. Contrary to sodomy, it was completely socially acceptable.
Shylock is the universal Jew yet he is theatrically more complex. Shakespeare makes reference to the attitudes towards race and religion in Elizabethan England, only to show how hypocritical the Christians are. For example, Shylock is not treated with respect when Portia calls him, “The Jew” continuously throughout the courtroom scene. Lancelot Gobbo identifies Shylock as “the very devil incarnation” and fears that he will turn into a Jew if he continues to serve under him. Hypocritically, he plays tricks on his sand-blind father.
Therefore, The Jews denied the Gentile culture and neglected them. Paul’s gospel did not exclude the importance of the law. However, he included that man can be justified by faith, as well. Before Paul’s words, relationships between the Jew and Gentile cultures were disastrous. The Jews viewed the Gentile culture as unrighteous and not worthy of redemption.
The character Jewish money lender, Shylock, has been seen as both an anti-Semitic character, but throughout The Merchant of Venice Shylock’s speeches and emotions given, say otherwise. For instance, during an aside near the beginning of the play Shylock gives his reasons for hating Antonio and Shylock’s need for revenge played acted out through the rest of the play. His quote here is referring to the misdeeds of Antonio that Shylock reveals during said aside, “lends out money gratis, and brings down the rate of ursance here with us in Venice….He hates our sacred nation, and he rails…on me, my bargains, and my well-worn thrift” (Shakespeare 20). Another pivotal scene that shows the true side of Shylock, is where Salerio and Solanio are talking about the previous night, when they heard the wailing of “Stol’n by my daughter!-Justice! Find the girl!” (40), emanating from Shylock due to his loss of his daughter who ran away after stealing nearly all of Shylock’s fortune.
It should be seen as a tragedy/comedy. Life is not always 100% happy, so why should a play be ? We have to remember that in Elizabethan times, Jews were universally hated. The audience couldn't feel any sympathy for Shylock's fate but instead find it laughable instead of tragic just because he's a Jew. Furthermore, the play is set in far away Venice, which makes it less real for an English audience and makes them less able to relate to the tragic elements of the play.