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And they all lived happily ever after (except Shylock...), to what extent was Shylock's misfortune due to anti-Semitism and to what extent did he bring it upon himself?
The first 200 words of this essay...
And they All Lived Happily Ever After
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare is a play composed of multiple narratives, the most interesting to me being the fate of Shylock, an unfortunate Jew. An unfortunate Jew was not an uncommon thing in 16th century Venice where the play is set: it was a society ruled by Christians to whom Jews were second class citizens. I think Shylock represents the entire Jewish community; he is a symbol of their suffering. But to what extent was Shylock's misfortune due to anti-Semitism and to what extent did he bring it upon himself? In this essay I will be exploring the balance of these two factors as causes for Shylock's unhappy ending in the play.
As a Jew, Shylock has been subject to much abuse before the play has even begun - a whole
lifetime of abuse in fact. When he first appears Shylock does not delay in conveying this to the audience: "he rails...on me, my bargains, and my well-won thrift", he spits in an aside. Shylock elaborates on this statement - almost, it seems, with the intent of winning the audience over to his side
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