To What Extent Is Shylock The Villain Or Victim Of

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To what extent is Shylock the villain or victim of this play? In your analysis of Shylock, consider how and why audiences may respond differently to this character, including the difference between Shakespearean and modern audiences. Shylock is such an interesting character to analyse because he is so complex and different audiences and individuals have different feelings and reactions towards Shylock and his actions. Some people see Shylock as a victim because of the way that the Christians persecute him for being Jewish and because of the loss of his daughter. Also in the play we can see Shylock as the victim because he is often alone and isolated. Also Shylock can be conveyed as the villain because of his obsession with money and his obsession with revenge for what the Christians have done to him and one Christian in particular, Antonio. In Shakespearean times most of his audiences were Christians and many people would have been anti-Semitics which would have changed their feelings towards Shylock. Also when the play was first staged the role of Shylock was supposed to be played as a grotesque villain, but I feel as times have changed people now feel free to judge Shylock as a villain or a victim. At the beginning of the play in the film version Antonio spits on Shylock which immediately makes the audience feel sympathetic to Shylock because of the way Al Pacino plays the role. Shylock does not retaliate to what Antonio has done and instead looks at the floor which makes the audience feel that Shylock is a shy and timid character who is afraid to speak out against Anti-Semitist behaviour. In Act 1 Scene 3, Antonio comes to Shylock hoping to receive a loan from him. In this Scene Shylock can come across as the villain because he can appear to be quite sly and clever. The audience can also see Shylock as the victim here because of the way that he
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