Shylock Essay

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The play The Merchant of Venice revolves around one of its most complex and compelling characters- Shylock. Many times we saw shylock actually becoming the victim of Christian prejudice while other times show him as the villain. He is one of the few Jews in the play and feels the wrath of the Christians simply because he is a Jew. Shylock, however, does not endure these insults and misdemeanour by them; he also indulges in the narrow-minded acts. He offers a bit of reverse psychology only to “better the instruction”. Indeed not all of his actions can be blamed on the actions of the Christians, for shylock has a mind of his own. However, the question stands, is shylock more sinned against than he sins?
Often shylock is referred to as the villain in The Merchant of Venice, however; he has been the victim of Christian prejudice on many occasions of which can be seen in Act I, scene III as well as the ever famous trial scene (Act IV, scene I). In the first instance stated in Act I, scene III, in his speech to Antonio, though it is not of the present, shylock reveals that he has borne insults from and was once tormented with words by the Christians in the play.
“Signior Antonio, many a time and oft
In the Rialto you have rated me
About my moneys and my usances.
Still have I borne it with a patient shrug,
For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe.
You call me ‘misbeliever’, ‘cut- throat dog’,
And spit upon my Jewish flesh garberdine....”
It is so ironic that Antonio even offers to borrow money from shylock, a Jew, whom he so despises. Furthermore, how can he want to borrow money (three thousand ducats) from a “dog” that he spat upon? Is a dog capable of lending money? Antonio, to show his true image with amplified prejudice replies,
“I am as like to call thee so again,
To spit on thee again, to spurn thee too.
If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not
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