• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Merchant of Venice

Extracts from this document...


The Merchant of Venice 'Despite giving some good lines to Shylock this is ultimately an Anti-Semitic play "Examine Shakespeare's representation of Jewish people in the play": Though "The Merchant of Venice" the reader finds Shakespeare's representation of Shylock as a man who is hated by many, and he indeed has moments of extreme irrationality and inflexible assertion that make him a rather unattractive and even terrible character. Yet, there are many moments in which Shakespeare overcomes the reader to consider the different angles of this most interesting character. We can say with certainty that Shylock is not without motivation. His treatment at the hands of the Christian merchants is decidedly un-Christian. They spit on him, call him a dog and finally take half of his money and force him to convert. Shakespeare presents Shylock sympathy at the beginning of the play, when Shylock claims a Jewish person is equality with a Christian. All this is in spite of Shylock's famous plea for sympathy in Act III, Scene I: "I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses... ...read more.


He demanded strict loyalty to the rule of law, and possibly it was his stiffness that made his daughter run away. For centuries, Jewish and I am sure all parents in the world expected and required faithfulness from their children. Shakespeare may not have intended to note on this situation, but the play brings this matter to the forefront of my mind. However some readers have no doubt that Shakespeare intended Shylock to be the villain of the piece. Others argue that Shylock does not have a single pleasant characteristic. He is unmerciful, mean, vengeful, and his quality of being careful and not wasteful with money and other resources is hardly to be distinguished from miserliness. "If every ducat in six thousand ducats / Were in six parts and every part a ducat, I would not draw them; I would have my bond" this quote supports some readers views. Shylock will not be discouraged from his revenge. With the use of strong language, Shylock wishes for his daughters death "were dead at my foot and the" "Jewels in her ear! Would she were hears'd at ..."" ...read more.


At third look, the audience is not sure which illustration is the right one. Shakespeare achieves in making the audience to discover controversial matters. The representation of the two religious groups, Jews and Christians, is the focus. Shakespeare leaves us with two different ideas, irony and displacement. But Shylock has lost his livelihood, his property, his self-respect, and his identity. Shakespeare was making an effort to show people that Jews were people too. So again I don't think Shakespeare is anti-Semitic, I suppose he wrote a play about anti-Semitism. Although back in Shakespeare's time racism, prejudice against different religions and other issues dealt with in "The Merchant of Venice" were all acceptable. Back then, 'racism and cruelty' was considered a comedy. But may be this was interpreted wrong. I found myself wondering why it was called a comedy when it wasn't funny. However, perhaps this comedy does not apply to Jews or any other religions may be the humorous part was based on any random people relationships between each other and the poor construction of law, which even unprofessional woman like Portia or Nerrisa is able to manipulate in Shakespeare's time. In anyway this humiliation certainly does not apply to all Jews in the past, present or future. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Playwrights section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Playwrights essays

  1. Compare and contrast the different worlds and different values of Venice and Belmont as ...

    dislike of Antonio leads him to make the bond of flesh "Let the forfeit Be nominated for an equal pound Of your fair flesh," This differs from the casket test that suitors must take in order to marry Portia. Although it deals with a great risk, on choosing the wrong

  2. Who contributes more to The Merchant of Venice Shylock or Portia?

    Shylock also introduces a number of the play's major themes, the first of which is prejudice, a very powerful theme within the play. Prejudice becomes evident in the first act where Shylock remarks "I hate him because he is a Christian....May my people be cursed if I forgive him!"

  1. Shylock is solely responsible for the tragedy that unfolds To what extent, do ...

    Hath been most sound; I charge you by the law, Where of you are a well-deserving pillar, Proceed to judgment", when trying to convince the duke, to rule in his favour.

  2. My Perception of Portias Portrayal in the Merchant of Venice

    And if one of the play's leading characters, in the play's climactic scene, is functioning as a mere spokesperson, speaking the words of a character who never even appears, then the whole play becomes meaningless and certainly Portia's role in the courtroom becomes completely meaningless.

  1. Analysing Shylock's Dual-Role as Villain and Victim

    Jewish, he would be seen as loving the devil more than his daughter. An orchestration of the bond to kill Antonio is not Shylock's only possible motive. Actors who have played Shylock have seen many different motives for the bond.

  2. Merchant of Venice Notes

    Nerissa then reminds her mistress of a gentleman who came to Belmont while Portia's father was living-his name was Bassanio, a Venetian, a scholar and a soldier. Portia recalls him and praises him highly: "He, of all the men that ever my foolish eyes looked upon, was the best deserving of a fair lady."

  1. Discuss the presentation of the Christians in 'The Merchant of Venice'

    willing to give the money, showing his generous spirit and kindness to his friends. We can see for ourselves the generosity and kindness in Antonio. It is suggested that he is in love with Bassanio, yet he is willing to lend out money to pay for him to marry a woman whom he, Antonio, has never met.

  2. How has Radfords film version explored notions about value and culture in Shakespeares The ...

    in the background. Take for example the opening scene where a person from the predominant white society (Antonio), who one assumes is a Christian, spits in the face of Shylock, the Jew. While in the Merchant of Venice original text, this would appear humorous to the audience, Radford incorporates melancholy

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work