Shylock a Victim or Villain in Radford's Adaptation and Shakespeare's Play?

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Victim or Villain: how are the audience’s views of Shylock manipulated? Compare Michael Radford’s adaptation of the Court scene with the original text. William Shakespeare wrote the play, The Merchant of Venice, in 1596 with the intentions of showing that distinguishing the greed of a villain and the mercy of a victim isn’t as apparent as is first thought. The play presents the current issues at the time, anti-Semitism and debt. The merchant, a Christian named Antonio, requested a loan of money to satisfy the desires of a friend, Bassanio. Antonio acquired this money from a money-lender, Shylock, who we soon question the generosity and kindness of this character when he demands a pound of Antonio’s flesh if he doesn’t repay the money to Shylock without interest, which is rare for Shylock. Both Michael Radford’s adaptation and Shakespeare’s play manipulates the audience to think two things. Shylock’s a villain or Shylock is in fact a victim because of the anti-Semitic Christians. Shakespeare and Radford made the spectators of the play/film give Shylock a chance. They felt as if he was being provoked to be such a negative person by the Christians. The audience therefore comes to the conclusion that Shylock was a villain because he had been a victim to the anti-Semitic comments he received. He’s both villain and victim. Shylock, the money lending Jew, lived with his daughter for the majority of her life. The play says nothing of any death or disappearance of the mother of their daughter but it’s clear that he has lost something he once loved before and his dire manner is due to this. Later on in Shakespeare’s text, Shylock’s daughter, Jessica, is seen running away with a Christian named Lorenzo. Shylock’s hate for Christians is revealed throughout but soon rapidly turns to loathing, when he realises his money and gold has been stolen by his adolescent

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