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

Critical Essay - Merchant of Venice

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The Merchant Of Venice In the "Merchant of Venice" by William Shakespeare, Shylock the Jewish moneylender is portrayed as a villain, motivated only by revenge and is generally seen as a bitter, lonely, old man. In my essay I intend to show that, while the above may be true, Shylock had been driven to this state by years of prejudice and abuse. In the play, Bassanio needs to borrow money from his merchant friend and the title character, Antonio, in order to woo Portia, a wealthy heiress. Antonio however, does not have the money as all his funds are tied up in ships and trade goods. Antonio decides to borrow the money for Bassanio from the Jewish moneylender, Shylock, who makes no qualms of the animosity between Antonio and himself. The money is borrowed under the terms that if Antonio is unable to repay the money within three months then Shylock may take a pound of Antonio's flesh. ...read more.

Middle

see the extent to which he does hate Antonio when he turns down the offer of three times the amount of the loan in the courtroom scene since when he learned that his daughter, Jessica had eloped with a Christian man, Lorenzo and stolen gold and possessions he was reported as running down a street, yelling: "O my daughter! O my ducats!" In my opinion this suggests that Shylock cares equally for his wealth as he does his own daughter. This shows how much he hates Antonio because he cares more for revenge then for wealth and in turn, more for revenge than for his only child. I feel that the reason for Shylock's bitterness and hatred towards Antonio and the Christians in general stems from of abuse and taunts, mainly from Antonio and his friends, Solanio, Salerio and Gratiano. We first hear of this abuse in Act One Scene Three during Shylock's speech during discussion with Antonio and Bassanio: "You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, and spit upon my Jewish gaberdine...you come to me, and you ...read more.

Conclusion

This also shows how bitter Shylock has become that he has also become as prejudiced against Christians as Antonio and his friends are against Jews, as he sees Christians as a single entity who all stand against him and his people. Another reason I feel Shylock deserves our sympathies is how lonely he must be as he only had his daughter, Jessica who ran away. As well as feeling upset and lonely after Jessica running away, he must have felt betrayed as his only child, his own flesh and blood has eloped with a Christian, one of the "enemy", as well as hearing that Jessica had exchanged one of his most treasured possessions for a monkey. A final reason I believe Shylock is justified in his desire for vengeance is that he was fully and legally entitled to claim his bond and was tricked out of what he was owed by technicalities. To conclude, I feel that although Shylock is embittered towards the world and driven purely by revenge, I think he was driven to this by years of prejudice and abuse. I therefore feel Shylock deserves out sympathies. ...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. The Merchant of Venice - Critical Evaluation.

    in Venice. Portia also pretends to be doctor Balthasar and dresses as a man before entering Venice. Lorenzo and Jessica do finally slip away and go on a spending spree all over Italy before finally winding up in Belmont. The multiple marriages in the play seemed important because they signified

  2. Merchant of Venice- Scene by Scene summary & analysis

    Antonio offers his assurance that neither Bassanio nor Graziano will ever give away their wives' gifts again. Portia thanks him and asks him to give Bassanio another ring to keep. Bassanio looks at the ring and recognizes it as being the same ring he gave away.

  1. Merchant of Venice essay

    To explain this it is important to look at how Shylock is referred to and how he is differentiated from other Jews. Christian characters call Shylock names such as "misbeliever" and say that his daughter, Jessica has "no mercy in heaven," because she is a Jew's daughter.

  2. "It is far from clear in The Merchant of Venice where our sympathies ought ...

    Roderigo Lopez was accused of high treason for plotting to poison the Queen. However many people doubted this but in 1594 he was hung, drawn and quartered. The prevailing anti-semitic hysteria fuelled by the stereotypes in his book could have contributed directly or indirectly to this sad event.

  1. to what extent can the Merchant of Venice be seen as a fairytale

    even Shylock himself confesses that 'a pound of man's flesh taken from man is not so estimable, profitable neither as flesh of mutton, beefs, or goats,' but he seals the bond for his own vendetta against Antonio. Through this Shakespeare shows us Shylock's vengeful side, showing us that he is only doing this because he can.

  2. Merchant of Venice Essay

    Shylocks problem with Antonio is that Antonio doesn't let people see Shylock in a positive light; instead Antonio makes us see Shylock as a miserly, cruel and in a tedious form. Christians treat Shylock as if he isn't human and that he shouldn't deserve to live.

  1. The Merchant of Venice Essay

    But not only does the villainous view of Shylock effect himself, but also the story and the events that take place in the rest of the play, for example the outcome of the trial. By making Shylock look like the villain of the play, and Antonio to look like the

  2. Shylock Critical Essay

    It is a close case and right up until the end it looks as though Shylock might just win but at the very last moment Portia, posing as the lawyer, catches him out, and he is charged with attempted murder.

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