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

“Shylock victim or villain?”

Extracts from this document...


"Shylock victim or villain?" In this essay I will try to determine whether, in the Merchant of Venice, Shylock is portrayed as a victim or villain. The Merchant of Venice is set in Venice, which is positioned in the North East of Italy and is sometimes known as the "Queen of the Adriatic"; it has got this nickname for its strong naval power. The majority of people in Shakespeare's era had no respect for Jews and the higher classes of society treated them as lower class citizens. The play was written at the time of Queen Elizabeth I and the people found in the audience would not sympathise with the character of Shylock who was a Jew. The hatred towards Jews was so great that Shakespeare had to set this play away from England as, on a number of occasions Shylock is shown to be right in what he says or does and so by setting the play so far away people could disassociate themselves with the play since Jews were always seen to be wrong. I think that in this play Shakespeare tries to tell people to treat everybody as equals by showing sympathy towards Shylock and with Shylock's speak in Act 3 scene 5. ...read more.


This gains him sympathy as a victim because by saying this he is saying that because she is gone, he feels a big part of him is missing, but Salarino says; "there is more difference between thy flesh and hers than between jet and ivory." this is saying that because she has left the Jewish religion she is no longer anything like Shylock. Then Shylock says; "he was wont to call me usurer; let him look to his bond. He was wont to lend money for a Christian courtesy; let him look to his bond." This is telling us that Shylock is going to stick to the bond and if Antonio does not pay him back in the time he will take his flesh. Salarino is horrified; "Why, I am sure if he forfeit thou wilt not take his flesh. What's it good for?" he cannot understand why Shylock would want Antonio's flesh. Shylock then says why he wants it; "To feed my revenge." He wants nothing more than to feed his revenge. Shylock also begins a plea for equality; "What's his reason? I am a Jew. Hath not a Jews eyes? ...read more.


Shylock is left completely alienated from both Jews and Christians, he is left with what brought him down and lost him his money, Christianity. This leaves the audience feeling sorry for Shylock and therefore leaving the image of Shylock as a victim. Shylock can be seen as a villain in the Merchant of Venice because he can respond so quickly to the insults thrown at him throughout the play. And victim because of the loss of everything near and dear to him, his daughter, friends and possessions. I think that the abuse Shylock seemed to suffer everyday pushed him to bitterness towards the Christian community. At the end of the play Jessica, Shylock's daughter sings a Jewish song, as she is welcomed into the Christian community to show the peace and harmony that she has found. This shows that Shylock's downfall was not due to his being a Jew but was his evil villainous rage, while Jessica a Jew has found peace. Therefore I feel that Shylock was more of a villain than victim because it was his personality and how he felt was best to deal with people opposing him that lost him what he had. By Josh Congdon ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE The Merchant of Venice essays

  1. Merchant of Venice - is Shylock an evil villain?

    Just before Shylock goes ahead with it, Portia says that Shylock cannot shed a drop of Antonio's flesh. This means that Shylock cannot proceed his duties. Now that Shylock cannot have his revenge, he tries to settle for nine thousand ducats.

  2. Shylock - Victim or Villain?

    that Antonio will not be let off lightly, and Shylock will be vicious with him. Here, he uses sarcasm to help state his point, as this gives a distinctive impression of Shylock being very vicious. Repetitive use of "I will have my bond."

  1. Shylock - Victim of Villain?

    'Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is?

  2. The Merchant of Venice: Is Shylock a villain or a victim who deserves our ...

    When Shylock is asked why he gets his knife out so quickly, he explains it is to get the pound of flesh from Antonio "(That bankrupt there!)". When Gratiano gets into a rant and rave about this, Shylock comes back with "Till thou canst rail the seal from off my

  1. Shylock: Victim or Villain?

    But perhaps she's only loyal to him because he was caring enough to consider the matter. Shylock on the other hand didn't pay enough attention to his daughter to notice her relationship with Lorenzo. I consider the way he neglected Jessica to be quite villainous.

  2. In relation to the play, The Merchant of Venice there has been much critical ...

    Would she were hearsed at my foot and the ducats in her coffin!" This shows that Shylock is very angry at his daughter as Jessica has run away with Lorenzo and taken her father's money. Furthermore, Lorenzo is a Christian which intensifies Shylock's anger and he is deeply annoyed at his daughter.

  1. The Merchant of Venice Coursework Essay - Shylock; Victim or Villain

    When Shylock enters, the two men immediately begin to taunt and bait him, "How now, Shylock, what news among the merchants?". First they try to get him to react to Jessica's flight, "I for my part knew the tailor that made the wings she flew withal,".

  2. Shylock - Villain or Victim?

    Expressed in the condition, let the forfeit Be nominated for an equal pound Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken In what part of your body pleaseth me. Antonio: Content, in faith! I'll seal to such a bond, And say there is much kindness in the Jew.

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