In this essay his presentation of victim and villain will be explored as throughout the play his progression into a villain is evident. The Merchant Of Venice was written by poet and playwright William Shakespeare in the 16th century. This play was set in Venice, a Christian city with Jewish residents. The play is about Shylock; a Jewish moneylender, trying to make a living and surviving in a city that despises and alienates him. This is because it is known at that time, Christians and Jews disliked one another, there was much prejudice against Jews because of their religion.
Shylock’s point: ‘For suff’rance is the badge of all our tribe’ explains that this persecution of the Jewish race is not uncommon. This idea of anti-Semitism is elevated in his appeal to common humanity: ‘I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? … If you prick us do we not bleed?’ even though this effect is abated somewhat by him vowing to ‘better the instruction’ of his enemies. So from a racial point of view, Shylock’s hatred is more rational than that of Christians such as Antonio who hates him simply because he is a Jew.
On the Character of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice Critics tend to agree that Shylock is the most noteworthy figure in The Merchant of Venice. Some people read him as a bloodthirsty bogeyman and a clownish Jewish stereotype. They think that he is selfish, cruel, avaricious and niggard. However, the others hold different ideas for the woeful treatments he has got, which makes it hard for us to label him a natural born monster. So, nobody has given him an exact image for now.
Most Elizabethans disliked Jews because of the stereotype that was portrayed of them. Jewish people were thought to be money grabbing and selfish, and a lot of Elizabethans disagreed with there ideas and values. These characteristics are definitely prominent in Shylocks character, and in some ways he is the stereotypical Jew. The play’s a comedy and a lot of the humour3 is based on the Elizabethan reaction to Shylock's character and appearance. However, in modern times society is a lot less prejudice, and audiences are more sympathetic for Shylock.
Although many parts of the play could be interpreted as offensive in modern times, Elizabethan audiences found them comical. The majority of London’s population at the time was anti-Semitic because there were very few Jews living there. Shakespeare’s, The Merchant of Venice, supports anti-Semitism actions and thought. Although people from all kinds of nationalities and religious backgrounds did business in Venice, Shakespeare's setting is full of religious strife, especially between Christians and Jews. This culminates in a big legal showdown over whether or not Shylock should be able to collect his pound of flesh from Antonio.
Explore to what extent Shylock’s discrimination is caused by his religion or his attitude In Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, the Jewish character Shylock is discriminated against due to both his religion and his attitude towards the other characters. His Jewish beliefs contrast greatly with the Christian, Venetian society he lives in, thus he is regarded an outsider and is discriminated against. However Shylock makes no effort to socialise with the other characters despite his and their religion, and he ensures his daughter Jessica acts in the same way as himself. Shylock’s religious beliefs define him as a character. In stage directions he is referred to as “Shylock the Jew” or on other occasions simply “The Jew”.
Throughout the whole play Shylock is not treated equally because of his religous beliefs (Jewish). Shylock in a speech says this about Antonio "He hath disgraced me and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies—and what’s his reason? I am a Jew. ", (3.1.44-48). This speech Shylock says to Salarino & Solanio summurizes the way he is treated by the Christains because he is jewish.
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
The Merchant of Venice was written in 1596. It is a problem play because this play is a tragedy and comedy. The Elizabethan audience would of thought it was a comedy but the modern audience would of thought it was more of a tragedy. Shylock, who is a Jew, is portrayed as a villain: ‘ I will not walk with you, drink with you, nor pray with you.’ (Act 1 scene 3) And a victim: ‘You call me miss believer, cut throat dog, and spit upon my Jewish gaberdine. (Act 1 scene 3) We can see him being a villain and a victim in Act 1 scene 3.
Zack Krug Eng 214 The Villainous Intentions of Shylock Though there is no doubt that anti-Semitism was a theme Shakespeare embedded in the portrayal of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, readers frequently misunderstand the character’s intentions. Often readers and critics alike mistake Shylocks outrageous demand for “a pound of flesh” as one driven by greed rather than justice or satisfaction. (IV.i.89–99) Shylock was an outcast in the Venetian society we found him in. He was continually finding himself with his back against the wall, a position he seemed to have put himself in. Shylock’s true intentions are brought to light when looked at certain passages highlighting the hatred received from Antonio, the discrimination from Christian Venetians, and the marriage to a Christian of his daughter Jessica.
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.
Shylock Although critics tend to agree that Shylock is The Merchant of Venice’s most noteworthy figure, no consensus has been reached on whether to read him as a bloodthirsty bogeyman, a clownish Jewish stereotype, or a tragic figure whose sense of decency has been fractured by the persecution he endures. Certainly, Shylock is the play’s antagonist, and he is menacing enough to seriously imperil the happiness of Venice’s businessmen and young lovers alike. Shylock is also, however, a creation of circumstance; even in his single-minded pursuit of a pound of flesh, his frequent mentions of the cruelty he has endured at Christian hands make it hard for us to label him a natural born monster. In one of Shakespeare’s most famous monologues, for example, Shylock argues that Jews are humans and calls his quest for vengeance the product of lessons taught to him by the cruelty of Venetian citizens. On the other hand, Shylock’s coldly calculated attempt to revenge the wrongs done to him by murdering his persecutor, Antonio, prevents us from viewing him in a primarily positive light.
The main prejudice is against Jew's though. They are not considered equals, which is clear within the court scene, as Shylock is referred to be "alien." This theme is unclear to show whether or not Shakespeare was prejudice himself, or was trying to show how barbaric is was, through the "I am a Jew" speech. Mercy is shown several times within the play. Portia shows mercy to Bassanio (and so does Nerrisa to Gratiano) when they gladly return their rings to their husbands.
Explore the ways Shakespeare presents the inner turmoil and outer conflict of Shylock in the play “The Merchant of Venice” There are many ways that Shakespeare presents Shylock’s inner turmoil and outer conflict in “The Merchant of Venice”. There are two very different views of him by characters in the play as his inner turmoil tells us that he is an evil and nasty man with no compassion for others feelings. This could however, just be that he is extremely over protective of his family and close ones, which is never a bad thing. Then Shylock’s outer conflict tells us that he is highly respected by the other Jews. This is because the Jews have recognized how Shylock has worked very hard to build his fortune by using the profession of a usurer.
Shylock: William Shakespeare’s play, The Merchant of Venice was written and produced as a comedy in order to ridicule Jews while promoting good Christian values. In Elizabethan times where anti-Semitism was rife, Shylock is perceived as a villain who must be made a fool of and punished, however in our time Shylock is seen as sympathetically human. The question that must be posed is that Shylock, by his religion alone must be an anti-hero or should we view him as tragically flawed and as a misguided human being. Historically Jewish people have always been treated with scorn and hatred. Shylock is more than just an ordinary Jew, he is an archetype of the worst that a Jew can be.
Justified Paragraph: There were many ways in which Shylock did not belong in the society he lived in. The treatment that he received by others in his community resulted in his desire for revenge against Antonio. According to Midgley, “…it is not of much importance that Shylock is a Jew…The important thing is that he is a Jew in a Gentile society, that all he is and all he holds dear is alien to the society in which he has to live.” Shylock is portrayed as an outsider, but his treatment by others forces him to act differently as the other Venetians would. Like for example, Shylock doesn’t lend money out without interest, unlike Antonio. “He is an alien, an outsider, tolerated but never accepted.
Act 1 Among all of the Christians, the merchant Antonio is hated the most. Shylock hates him because he is a Christian and because Antonio doesn’t like and respect Shylock for being a Jew. Antonio lends out money without charging interest which brings Shylock’s business down. Shylock uses strong words to Antonio and Bassanio and I think that he is being fair while Antonio is always rough with him: “You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, And spit upon my Jewish gabardine.” With this speech Shakespeare makes the audience to sympathise with Shylock and I think that such manners from Antonio are unacceptable. Although Antonio is the one who asks Shylock for a favour – lending money – he talks to Shylock rudely and looks down at him.
Shylock in The Merchant of Venice In the play The Merchant of Venice Shylock is the hardest person in the play to figure out. As he is perceived to be the most noteworthy character in the play there hasn’t really been any consensus as to whether we should classify him as a bloodthirsty bogeyman, a clownish Jewish stereotype, or a tragic figure whose sense of decency has been fractured by the persecution he endures. Certainly Shylock is the plays antagonist in his “devil like” moments he holds, but he also seems to have his moments of good throughout the play. Few characters created by Shakespeare embody pure evil like the character of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. Shylock is a usurer and a malevolent, blood-thirsty old man consumed with plotting the downfall of his enemies.
Immediately we are made to raise the question ‘What made him like this?’ Shylock is a Jew amongst a predominantly Christian society, similar to that of Shakespeare’s society. It is then quite obvious that he is trapped by intolerance and hatred until his hopes for co-existence are changed into revenge. Although he appears to be a merciless usurer at first, he gains the sympathy from the audience through his monologue and thus we become more aware of the Christian’s harsh preconceptions against the Jews. And this is emphasised once more in the court room scene near the end of the play. Throughout this play, Shakespeare repeats, reinforces and ultimately criticises the prejudices against Jews.
Originally, we understand Shylock to be quite a vengeful character because of the “bond” he makes with Antonio. However, once we acknowledge the reasons why Shylock made such an agreement, we believe him to be quite reasonable. Shylock lives in an environment where Jews are despised, especially by Christians, and in Act 1, Scene 3 he makes it clear to the audience why he is cruel to Antonio: “Many a time and oft In the Rialto you have rated me About my moneys and my usances Still I have 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 gabardine.” This extract reveals that Shylock has been victimised and bullied by Antonio, and the phrase “many a time”, suggests that it constantly takes place. He continues to say the he has “borne it with a patient shrug” which conveys that he has a good side because he has tolerated the abuse and has