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GCSE: The Merchant of Venice

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  • Marked by Teachers essays 1
  • Peer Reviewed essays 10
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  1. Peer reviewed

    Did Shylock get the result he was hoping for when he took his case to court

    3 star(s)

    She managed to overturn the conditions and turn the tables on Shylock in three main ways. Firstly she said that the contract clearly said that he could clearly have his flesh but it did not say he could take one drop of blood. She also told him that he could not take more or less than exactly one pound of Antonio's flesh. Portia tells Shylock to go ahead and take his flesh but he may not break either of these rules. Portia says that if he does break one of then rules then all his lands and goods will be confiscated.

    • Word count: 688
  2. Peer reviewed

    Is Shylock a villain or victim?

    3 star(s)

    Furthermore, they insult his culture and religion, pushing him to the extent of Shylock proclaiming that "sufferance is the badge of our tribe". This general negative perception of Shylock seriously damages his business and reputation. Words are one thing, but physical abuse is much more powerful. In a heated argument, Shylock even exclaims to Antonio and Bassanio, "You that did void your rheum upon my beard, And foot me as you spurn a stranger cur" (1.3.109-110). Shylock is clearly disturbed by society's outward sign of hatred and disrespect.

    • Word count: 883
  3. Peer reviewed

    To what extent is Shylock the villain of the play?

    3 star(s)

    The Christians of Elizabethan time, and the time before hand, blamed the Jew's for the crucifixion of Christ. Shylock shows himself a villain in many different ways. Firstly, in the way he treats Antonio and Bassanio, because they are Christian and he is a Jew he shows forms of dislike towards them. He dislikes them so much he will not even consider eating with them "...I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you." Some people would agree that Shylock had a reason to dislike Antonio and Bassanio because of the way the treated him, "You spet upon my Jewish gaberdine" This would give Shylock a means to vent his anger, this could show him not to be a villain because people could argue that he is provoked to be spiteful back.

    • Word count: 818
  4. Is Shylock More sinned than sinning?

    For example, Shylock is called a "dog Jew" by the other characters and spat upon by Autonio. When his daughter and money goes missing and he walks down the street, lamenting, the children on the streets follow him around, mimicking him. This tells us that the people of Venice learn to discrimination against Jews at a very young age. In Act 2, we can see the degree of discrimination against Shylock, that even his daughter runs away from him, betraying her father and religion.

    • Word count: 413
  5. In the Merchant of Venice, not all villain wear Jewish gabardines Do you agree with this statement?

    Besides that, he is unwillingly to bend or compromise his bond with "I have my bond. So speak no more against my bond", even refuses "a sum twice the gross sum" offered to him by Bassanio. In addition, he is merciless to the aspect that he refuses to get a doctor for Antonio to treat his wounds with the excuse of "it is not stated in the bond". In addition, he ensures all means into to trick Antonio into his trap as when Bassanio asks for three thousand ducats.

    • Word count: 910
  6. Racial and Cultural Stereotyping and Bigotry in The Merchant of Venice

    At the time, only Jews were allowed to lend money with interest. As we learn when Antonio seeks a lender, Shylock is a loan official, following the stereotype of a common Jew. Antonio then falls into the common stereotype of a high-class businessman. He is rich, shown by his amount of wealth he loans to his friends. He is a nobleman, as he did not try and escape Shylock's bond. He could not care less about a lower class citizen or Jew, as stated by Shylock, "You that did void your rheum upon my beard..."

    • Word count: 706
  7. Portia - A Character Analysis

    Later that day, Bassanio received a letter that his best friend, Antonio was going to die of debt in Venice. She offers to cancel Antonio's debt by paying more than enough to Shylock. From her reaction, we could see that she is generous and unselfish. She would do whatever it takes to help others and that money is used to help out those who are in need. She is intelligent and good with words, and she likes to perform in front of people, for example in Act 2 Sc 1, she hides her real feelings from Prince Morocco, by speaking and acting politely and sincerely.

    • Word count: 701
  8. How does Shakespeare present the character of Shylock in the play?

    Antonio is a bigot and, like many Christians in that period, an anti Semitic. On several previous occasions he has bullied Antonio by insulting him, calling him "misbeliever and cut-throat dog" and has "spat on my [Shylock's] Jewish gabardine". In his soliloquy, Shylock admits that he "hates him for he is Christian" and plans to "catch him once on the hip". In his speech in Act 1, Scene 3, he is extremely polite to Antonio at first, addressing him as "Signior Antonio" and "Fair sir" and using a calm tone and several anecdotes. However, his resentment and bitter feelings towards Antonio soon emerge, shown by the way in which he uses harsh, unpleasant phrases

    • Word count: 922
  9. Merchant of Venice Essay

    When Antonio asked for the loan Shylock replied, "He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies." What Shylock has said here means that Antonio has humiliated him in so many different ways, has delayed returning him his half a million, sniggered in his face when Shylock lost, scorned him when he gained, stole his friends and motivated his enemies.

    • Word count: 808
  10. The Merchant of Venice

    Even the Duke calls Shylock "an inhuman wretch/uncapable of pity." At the beginning of this scene Shakespeare makes it clear to the audience that shylocks inhumanity and obsession with revenge is what motivates his demands. "The pound of fletch which I demand of him is brought tis mine and I will have it." When shylock says this he isn't speaking of rights he is demanding his enemy's blood, he admits that his desire for revenge lies in the "lodge hate" that he bears towards Antonio. Shakespeare also uses repetition to show shylocks determination as well as inpatients "Are you answer'd?"

    • Word count: 835
  11. Marchant of Venice

    Shylock is a person who believes that making money from money is religion. For example, when Shylock told Bassano and Antonio the story of Laban's sheep. Shakespeare wants us to see a Shylock as person who hates Christians, for example, when he said 'I hate him for he is a Christian'. In Act 2 Scene 5 Shakespeare presents Shylock as a person who adopted a superior attitude. For example, Shylock said to Lancelot 'the difference of old Shylock and Bassano'.

    • Word count: 653
  12. Deception and disguise in William Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice

    (I, iii, 99). Nonetheless he unfortunately proceeds to accept the 'merry bond' (I. iii, 69) at face value, thinking that Shylock 'grows kind' (I, iii, 174). Bassanio is less confident: 'I like not fair terms and a villain's mind' (I, iii, 176). The ability to look below the surface and perceive true values is exactly what the test of the caskets is designed for. Morocco learns that 'All that glisters is not gold' (II, vii, 65), and Arragon is sped on his way with a maxim on the same theme (II, ix, 69-70): There be fools alive iwis, Silvered o'er,

    • Word count: 704
  13. Merchant of venice, discuss the relationship between shylock and antonio in scene 1 and scene 3 of act 1

    He feels quite silly because of his sadness, I can see this from where he mention "and such a want-wit (idiot) sadness makes of me". This shows us that Antonio is usually a very upbeat and solemn person because he feels embarrassed of his depression. We can see that Antonio is a keen businessman from where he says "my merchandise makes me not sad" answering a question from one of his friends, telling them that it isn't his business which is troubling him. When Solanio asks Antonio if he is in love, he bluntly replies with "fie fie" meaning nonsense.

    • Word count: 712
  14. Write on Shakespeare's characterization of Portia in "The Merchant of Venice."

    She is cultured, refined, young and beautiful. Portia is one of the intellectual heroines of Shakespeare. Her intellect is seen in wit, which is an expression of her wisdom. When we are first introduced to her in the play , she comments on the various suitors that have already arrived and her comments in each case are witty. Portia shows wisdom in carrying out her plan of appearing in court of Venice, disguised as a lawyer. She conducts the case with ability. Actually her wit and wisdom have made her character interesting to the readers. Portia is an aristocratic woman.

    • Word count: 690
  15. Merchant Of Venice

    Before Antonio enters in the scene, Bassanio asks Shylock to dine with him. Shylock's reply is that he will not dine with the Christians because they might try to feed him pork, which he is not allowed to eat because of he is a Jew. Shakespeare's audience must have disliked this but the modern audience will think that Shylock is being clever and uses his brain around those he does not trust. In Act 1 Scene 3, Line 104, Shylock starts to talk about how Antonio has been treating him, calling him misbeliever which is considered racist, a dog and how Antonio has spat on him on several occasions.

    • Word count: 863
  16. the merchant of venice

    Antonio tells shylock "I am as like to call thee so again, to spite on thee again" He also says, "Lend it not as to thy friend, lend thee as enemy" Like Antonio the Christians disliked shylock as he was a Jew. Jews were allowed the jobs that Christians hated like skinning animals. Their education was separated. I know that shylock and Antonio hate each other as shylock tricks Antonio into signing the contract. At the end of the agreement they both get what they want as shylock tricks Antonio and Antonio gets his money.

    • Word count: 659
  17. Explore the presentation of Shylock in Act 1 Scene 3: Ehat are your first impressions of him?

    Also keeps his life more secret from Bassanio from the content of the conversation. In Act 1, Scene 3, Shylock is equated with the name devil. "The devil can cite scripture for his purpose" and "An evil soul producing holy witness is like a villain with a smiling cheek. Antonio, who is trying to persuade Shylock to lend the money to him for Bassanio, gives Shylock the name 'devil'. Antonio is comparing Shylock with the devil, by saying that even the devil that is evil is prepared to use scripture, which is holy for his own purposes.

    • Word count: 838

    However, during the court scene, we witness him drastically trying to kill Antonio, by demanding a pound of flesh by the law. This, in front of Elizabethan audiences, would be seen as unacceptable and evil. Antonio is often compared to Jesus for example, sacrificing himself for his friend, Bessanio. Portia is portrayed as a smart woman, as Shakespeare would have compared her to their Queen, Elizabeth. Shakespeare had definitely tried to please the queen and today's audience with the punishment of Shylock ad the 'justice' of Portia.

    • Word count: 957
  19. How much do you think the character shylock, from Shakespeare's 'The merchant of Venice' has been influenced by the environment in which he lives

    Bassanio uses his friend Antonio to take the bond of three thousand ducats because he is a rich merchant. If the money is not paid back in three months then Shylock, who makes a very strange bond, may take a pound of Antonio's flesh. This is because, as Shylock explains aside, because he hates Antonio because he disrespects Shylock because he is Jewish. 'You called me a dog' Shylock says this to Antonio in a subtle way to annoy him.

    • Word count: 976
  20. In the Merchant of Venice explore Shakespeare's presentation as a villain and as a victim.

    This shows the audience that Shylock is teasing Antonio when he asks Shylock for help. But Shylock is mostly angry because after Antonio has spat on him and called him names he now expects Shylock's help. Showing us that he is both a villain and a victim. Another manner in which Shakespeare shows Shylock as villain as well as a victim is when Jessica feels she needs to change her religion, as she wants to marry a man of different religion which was not accepted.

    • Word count: 622
  21. Merchant of Venice. Act 1 scene 3, act 2 scene 5. Act 1 scene 3, introduces Shylock for the first time in 'The Merchant of Venice' as the plays villainous Jew. Shylock is an arresting presence

    This act reinforces the strong anti Semitic views in the Elizabethan era of sly money driven Jews. When Antonio arrives, Shylock, in an aside confesses his dislike for him and reveals the motive behind this passionate hatred saying: '' I have hate for him for he is a Christian.'' This is an explicit statement but he then goes further and says he hates him even more as '' he lend out money gratis and brings down the rate of useance with us here in Venice.'' Shylocks intends wholeheartedly to use this opportunity to ruin Antonio, saying '' If I can catch him once upon the hip.''

    • Word count: 900
  22. Examine the methods used to present the character of shylock in the trial scene showing how these might affect an audience's response to him.

    The trial scene is an crystallisation of the play. The question in the scene is shylock a victim or villain? Shylock is in an emotional state during the happenings at this time. Shylock is the plays antagonist. Shylock is described as a crooked old man "Thou unfeeling man" This is what Bassanio says about him. This shows that shylock is described as a wicked man. The trial scene also relates to the themes of justice and mercy. Shylocks identity has just been lost in the play. He sticks to his demand of a pound of flesh from Antonio; he is discriminated against the court.

    • Word count: 699
  23. Explore how both original and contemporary audiences might respond to the trial scene in Merchant of Venice. Shakespeare wrote the merchant of Venice in a time when Jews were seen as the most inferior

    The merchant of Venice by Shakespeare was originally intended to be a comedy and the original Christian audience would have found Shylocks misfortunes amusing because they were waiting until the Jews was outsmarted by the Christians ,but a contemporary audience might feel sympathy towards Shylock because of the way he is treated. The original audience would have seen the trial scene as humorous because they know that Jews plan to get a pound of flesh will fail and that in the end shylock would end up getting his comeuppance.

    • Word count: 868
  24. This adaptation of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice is a deal site better than those preceding it. Michael Radford has successfully made the play for a wider range of audiences than the rich, Elizabethan audience it was originally made for

    Instead, he offers his reliability to receive a loan from a Jewish usurer of his acquaintance. The usurer, Shylock (Al Pacino) eventually gives the money to Bassanio with a pound of Antonio's flesh if he does not pay on time. Bassanio then rides off into the distance to take the suitor's test. He wins and they get married. Then, horror strikes for Antonio when he receives news that his ships have been wrecked out at sea and he therefore cannot repay the bond. It is up to Portia and her handmaid, Nerissa (Heather Goldenhersh), to try to persuade the outcome of the court battle that is to follow.

    • Word count: 868
  25. An Analysis of Shakespeare's Intentions on the Shylock as a Devil Jew

    Venetians would therefore spend a lot of there riches on glamorous fashion for themselves and for their servants. Venice also had other types of professions; one known quite well to all Venetians was 'Usury'. Usury is a profession of lending money and charging the borrower interest till he or she pays all of the loaned money back. This is where Venetians would turn to if they had run out of money. Almost all Usurers would have not been a Christian, because the holy Bible forbids Christians from lending money with interest. Jews were hated by Christians for a number of reasons, one is because there involvement with usury was and still is against the Bible.

    • Word count: 693

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • To what extent would an audience have sympathy for Shylock?

    "In my essay, I have summarised the key points regarding why or why not an audience would feel sympathetic towards Shylock. Many different people would have different opinions on whether they would agree or disagree with Shylocks views. In my opinion, I think that what Shylock was doing was wrong but his reasons for wanting to get revenge were, to a certain degree, justified. He was merely giving Antonio a taste of what it felt to be the subject of hatred and misery. However, the way that he channelled all this hatred for the Christians onto one man was wrong and he shouldn't have done it. There were other ways he could've sought justice, but not in the way he planned to. In conclusion, I feel that I have concluded the main areas of the play that were crucial to this essay and drawn up a good conclusion about whether and audience may or may not feel sympathetic for Shylock and why they would feel like this."

  • Compare and Contrast the two worlds of Venice and Belmont depicted in Shakespear's 'The Merchant of Venice'.

    "In conclusion, Venice and Belmont are two very different worlds with different societies and people. Overall, if you compare the characters of Belmont with the characters of Venice you will find that they are not very similar probably because they were brought up in different societies. Furthermore, the two central characters Antonio are both left unsatisfied. This is because in the end Antonio didn't find anyone to love and marry and Shylock didn't get his revenge on Antonio. The main reason why Antonio can't find love is probably because he is too busy in his trading and business. On the other hand Shylock can't be part of Venetian society because he is a Jew so they are both similar from this perspective."

  • To what extent does 'The Merchant of Venice' reflect the anti-Semite feelings of the period in which it was written?

    "Personally, I believe that Shakespeare wanted to show the harsh reality of anti-Semitism to his audience, and he thought that through the eyes of a Jew was the best way to do it. The play shows definite anti-Semitism in its characters, but in my opinion, 'The Merchant of Venice' is not anti-Semitic."

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