In Shakespeare’s comedy called, The Merchant of Venice, two character of different religions clash. One of them is a man called Shylock, a Jewish money lender, and the other is called Antonio who is a Christian merchant. (In this essay I will also be referring to the recent film, starring Al Pacino as Shylock and Jeremy Irons as Antonio) There is a lot of hostility between the Christians and the Jews of Venice, and this of course fuels the hatred between Shylock and Antonio. So the reason for why, Antonio and Shylock have ended up in court as Antonio has failed to pay Shylock back the money he had owed him, as they had a bond which stated that if Antonio failed to pay Antonio back by the Jewish date, Shylock would be obliged to a pound of Antonio’s flesh closest to his heart. So why did Antonio need Shylocks money?
He also stole from his people which suggested he is greedy. A quote from Matthew Paris states ‘He always took money from his people for all his wars’. John also wasn’t religious because in a source from Gervase it says that he argued with the pope. Also he said ‘all monks were public enemies’. Furthermore he imprisoned monks.
Is shylock a villain or a victim In this essay I am going to talk about whether shylock is a villain or a victim. I am going to talk about what sort of things he has done for us to think he is a victim or villain. Shylock is seen to be very selfish in this play as he wants the best for himself and as readers we think that he doesn’t really care about his daughter that much and just cares about his money. We understand this by the terms and things he says in the play. Firstly, shylock is seen to be a racist person in this play who is being racist towards Christian people like Antonio.
Antonio has reviled and despised this Jew, even humiliating him publicly because of his money lending and usury. Shylock believes that his profiteering is not a sin, which is contrary to the Christian belief, held by Antonio, that money should be lent for charity and not for profit. By his profession and his religion, Shylock is seen as the outsider in a happy and fun-loving Venetian society. His being an outsider causes him to be bitter and his humiliation makes him seek revenge. Antonio becomes the target of that revenge, and Shylock uses the letter of the law to try and take a pound of flesh from his enemy.
At the time of Shakespeare, anti-Semitism was a big issue. Jews had faced and suffered from irrational hatred, persecution and discrimination, and yet they still had to live and even to some extent, to blend and fit in a Christian community in order to do business and earn a living. This play is set exactly in this situation, mirroring the reality. Antonio, a Christian and Shylock, a Jew who lives in a society full of his opponents, full of people who hate his ‘tribe’. Shakespeare uses the character of Shylock to give us negative impression of the Jews.
Variety Shylock sees himself as an outsider, alienated by his society which spites him for being a Jew. Shylock makes it very obvious he hates Antonio, because he is a Christian, "I hate him for he is a Christian”, but also because he lends money without interest. Shylock is a man who deals more with money than with people. Shylock deliberately lent Antonio money to trick him so he could get his revenge. He takes revenge because Antonio has been horrible to him in the past by calling him a “Misbeliever, cut-throat dog,” and was spat at on the streets of Venice.
Maria says that "sometimes he is a kind of puritan" (2.3.6), which aligns Malvolio with the religious group despised for its opposition to the theater, winter festivals, and other forms of entertainment (just about everything Twelfth Night celebrates). Malvolio's not a Puritan, per se, but the fact that the play aligns him with the sect and goes out of its way to stage his humiliation makes Malvolio's disgrace an important part of the play's rebellious, nose-thumbing spirit. Puritans were also accused of being power hungry and Malvolio's secret social ambitions fit the bill. When we catch Malvolio daydreaming about marrying Countess Olivia, we learn that his desire has less to do with love than it has to do with his aspirations for social power. What does Malvolio's power fantasy look like?
At the time the play was written, puritans were not popular with the general public because of their miserable rules against most forms of entertaintment. Malvolio displays desire for expensive materialistic things in Act 2 Scene 5, such as “some rich jewel”. He is being hypocritical since he scolds others for having
They often indulged in hunting expeditions and drinking parties and completely neglected their religious duties. 8- The church consisted of 'unholy men in holy orders'. Often the churchmen used the church as a means of business. Thus, the church office was openly sold and quite often unsuitable men were appointed as priests. 9- The common masses were also unhappy with the Pope and church: not only unhappy with the prevailing corrupt practices in church and the flimsy grounds- on which the church collected funds from innocent people- but also disliked its interference in the secular affairs; some clergymen took keen interest in politics.
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