Shylock: Sympathy?

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To what extent does Act 3 Scene 1 show Shylock in a sympathetic light? Act 3 Scene 1 starts with Solanio and Salarino gossiping about what has been happening to Antonio and then Shylock enters and he is angry with Salarino for not telling Shylock that Jessica, his daughter, had run away with Lorenzo. When they are in conversation they make reference to birds as imagery and they use words such as “fledged” and “dam” which is the mother bird or carrion which refers to things that are already dead and bird imagery. Shylock talks about how Jessica is his own flesh and blood and now she has runaway so he can’t even control her, this is the reason for his angry outburst. The fact that Salarino and Solanio are Christians might increase Shylock’s anger. Shylock’s speech is about him comparing the Jews and Christians and about how they should be equal. It is written in prose and it can be seen as Shylock trying to gain sympathy from the audience and showing his status. He uses words like “feed” when he talks about how his deal with Antonio will not benefit anything and then he repeats the word “feed” when he talks about his revenge. He then starts listing things that Antonio has done to him, such as “disgraced me, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains”. Shylock might be pointing all these things out so that people can feel sympathy for him but it can also be read as if he is trying to make Antonio look bad and he really isn’t a good person. When Shylock says “I am a Jew.” He then starts referring to the things Christians have in common with Jews, he starts with anatomical parts like hands, organs, etc. And then moves on to more important things like emotions, feelings and passions. He uses this to show that the only differences between Jews and Christians are their

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