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

Shylock is solely responsible for the tragedy that unfolds To what extent, do you agree or disagree with this.

Extracts from this document...


Critical Essay Shylock is solely responsible for the tragedy that unfolds To what extent, do you agree or disagree with this. "In Merchant of Venice, no individual character exclusively causes the occurrence of tragedy" states Harold Bloom when presenting his perspective on the character and personality of Shylock. Merchant of Venice is a Shakespearean tragedy play, written in the Elizabethan Era, between 1596 and 1598. The statement, "Shylock is solely responsible for the tragedy in Merchant of Venice", is proven to be completely false by the actions of Bassanio, who failed to repay the debt, therefore making him responsible for the tragedy in the play. Although Shylock is not solely responsible for the tragedy, he is presented as the key antagonist due to his constant desire for revenge against Antonio, which causes the introduction of tragic and dramatic context. Shylock does not single-handedly cause the tragedy in the play, but, the conventions of society villainies the Jewish community, therefore, producing a misinterpretation of Shylock's action. ...read more.


The repetition and use of the phrase, "pound of flesh", symbolises Shylock's desperate desire for vengeances, which also supported through the use of, "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", which clearly represents Shylock's desire for Antonio's life more than the repayment of the debt, therefore signifying him to be the key antagonist. In addition, his expectations of inhumane and unrealistic penalties for simply failing to pay the debt on time, such as the "The pound of flesh, which I demand of him, is dearly bought; 'tis mine, and I will have it", give the viewers or readers, a very accurate interpretation of the Shylock's character, which is, as the main villain in Merchant of Venice and due to this, the previously triggered chain of event intensifies and later concludes in tragedy. ...read more.


This undoubtedly shows, Shylock's respect for the law, on the other hand, Antonio and Bassano defaulted the borrowed loan, therefore, failing to follow the law. This juxtaposition shows the involvement of anti-semitism in the Merchant of Venice because of the discrimination against the Jewish community as Shylock was following the law and yet, the audience were presented with the idea of Shylock being the key antagonist. When play was performed during the time it was written, the conventions of society were a major influence on who was the key antagonist in the Merchant of Venice, because during of the religious conflict between the two religions, Christianity and Jewish, and with the setting of the play in Venice, where the Jewish community for banned several years and later treated as second class citizens. Furthermore, this is supported through the use of simile, in "Antonio spat on me just last week and treated me like dog", since, it clearly displays how the Christian, Antonio, has used to setting of Venice, where the religion in majority was Christianity, to discriminate against Shylock, the Jew. ...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 The Merchant of Venice 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 The Merchant of Venice essays

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

    Shylock then retreats and wishes to take the original 3000 ducats, but Portia is insistent and stops him, saying that he must take the pound of flesh or nothing. Portia then increases the penalty furthermore, "Tarry Jew, The law hath yet another hold on you.

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

    It is the moment when we realize that she is noble and courageous (and much more intelligent than anyone else in the courtroom).

  1. Merchant of Venice Notes

    Yet they pride themselves that Antonio is a virtuous man because he lends money to friends, with no interest involved. Is this loan, Shylock inquires, a loan to be arranged among "friends"? On the contrary; this is not to be regarded as a loan between friends, Antonio asserts.

  2. Show how Shakespeare employs tensions and oppositions to present conflicting principals and prejudices of ...

    "All that glitters is not gold" (II.vii.65). This is a famous quote from 'The Merchant of Venice' and symbolises the theme of deception. This theme of deception is used throughout the play to mislead and confuse so things may not always be what they seem. Shakespeare also uses this to enhance the unfolding drama of the play and to make it more exciting.

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

    Antonio is the most prominent Christian in this story, and is also the most prominent abuser of Shylock. He kicks, spits, and attacks his business openly. While this may seem an odd choice for a hero, he is seen as a fighter in a crusade against Jewish infidels, another example

  2. The Merchant of Venice

    He explains that she carries a sin for both her father and mother because they did not change their religion. But Jessica retaliates "I shall be saved by my husband. He has made me a Christian." This dialogue supports the idea that Jessica aimed since the beginning to betray her father and symbolically leaving the Jewish faith.

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

    Calling Shylock an "apple rotted at the heart" shows how Antonio really believes these Jews to be. This is the first instance within the play that we see the double views of these Christians; we wonder how people who are so complimentary and kind towards their friends can be so insulting and venomous towards people of another religion.

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

    Although the aforementioned notions all play a role in this aspect, it is much larger than that. Anti-Semitism is a theme that is continual and visible throughout Merchant of Venice, the original play, and is used as a major comedic element as well as the foundation of the play itself.

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