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GCSE: The Merchant of Venice

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  1. Is Shylock a victim or a villain? Give your opinion by referring closely to the text In the Merchant of Venice Shylock is portrayed as both a victim and a villain.

    Here our opinion of Shylock is a negative one, as he wants his flesh as pay back and a pound of flesh would be of no use to him. Our opinion then becomes stronger of Shylock being a villain as Jessica his daughter talk of living with him is like hell, "our house is hell and thou a merry devil." From this we understand that she does not like her father's actions and what he believes in, which is that Christians are bad "I'll go in hate to feed upon the prodigal Christian."

    • Word count: 966
  2. Shylock, Victim or Villain?

    Jews were demonised for there role in "The Passion of Christ" So this shallow statement would instantly turn the audience of that time against Shylock. Furthermore, Shylocks role as a greedy moneylender also show him as a man obsessed with wealth. However, in the same scene Shylock states how Antonio mistreats him and speaks racial abuse. He says, "You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, and spit upon my Jewish gabardine" though in Shakespeare time the audience may have cheered on Antonio for these anti-Semitic acts, in more modern times this is more the acts of a villain.

    • Word count: 693
  3. The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare Summary for Act 1 Scene 1

    He describes her beauty and virtues and riches to Antonio and that he needs the loan to furnish his trip to Belmont. His reasoning is that if he wins her she will have more than enough riches to pay his debts. Antonio agrees to the plan, but all of his money is tied up with his ships which are at sea. He suggests that Bassanio set up a meeting with someone in Venice to try and procure a loan based on Antonio's credit.

    • Word count: 517
  4. How is Portia portrayed by Shakespeare in the merchant of Venice

    As the scene continues, this discomfort in following her fathers will is reinforced by her scornful views of many of the suitors. However, the way that Shakespeare makes Portia comment on her suitors in such a way in this scene makes her seem self important because she is talking above some important people, she is very honest and doesn't hold back in insulting these people. However, this scene could be staged as humorous and full of sarcasm, the inclusion of exclamation marks in the scene definitely suggests to create a lighter touch so as to not contradict the character of Portia.

    • Word count: 821
  5. Merchant of Venice: Shylock gets what he deserves

    The running away of Shylock's daughter (with some of his wealth as well) makes the audience sympathise with him because by doing this Shakespeare makes the audience think that everyone is turning on Shylock and he is lonely. By including lines like "my own flesh and blood to rebel" and "I say my daughter is my own flesh and blood" Shakespeare shows the audience how much he loved his daughter and how much he wants her back, this also makes the audience sympathise with him and it gives them a sense of injustice that he didn't get what he disserved from the courtroom scene.

    • Word count: 985
  6. Compare and contrast the two characters Portia and Bassanio

    However, his dashing and daring character complements his romantic role as a chivalrous suitor to the fair Portia. He is a spendthrift that as soon as he gets the money he needs, he immediately organises expensive evening's entertainment for himself and his friends. His lavishness and carefree personality is also evident from the way he agrees to help Gratiano ("You have obtained it"), without knowing what the favour is. However, to view him as shallow is probably harsh, unfair and also inappropriate as it was not uncommon for young gentlemen during Elizabethan's times to be too free with money with their main "occupation" being to seek pleasure, fortune and the fairest lady available.

    • Word count: 987
  7. Shylock Coursework

    After a while of thought Shylock decides that he would like to speak to Antonio. Shylock hates Antonio for he is a Christian and Antonio makes fun of Shylock often. Finally at the end of this scene Shylock says that the terms are that if the loan is not repaid he will take a pound of flesh from Antonio. This seems as Shylock is bloodthirsty. But he wants to keep a good record during the play. This scene sets the play up as you would want to know what is going to happen to Antonio.

    • Word count: 822
  8. Shylock Essay

    When Shylock first appears with Bassanio he is discussing a loan proposal and the terms of it are repeated so many times, this is done to show the contrast between the two characters, the cautious crafty old business man and the decent young client. A bit later on in the play when Shylock is finalising the deal with Antonio and after he has shown the audience how much of a victim he is by way of the long speech about how Antonio has abused him on the street, he suggests a different approach to the loan in time a pound of flesh will be taken off Antonio.

    • Word count: 779
  9. Shylock: Villain or Victim?

    Shylock the right to a pound of Antonio's flesh: 'let the forfeit be nominated for an equal pound of your [Antonio] fair flesh, to be cut off and taken in what part of your body pleaseth me. Shylock can be revealed as a villain because mean attitude towards business and his dislike of Christians, but it is only because of people like Antonio who make Shylock feel this way. In Act I: Scene III, we see how Shylock feels towards Antonio when he says, aside, "I hate him for he is a Christian."

    • Word count: 971
  10. Merchant of Venice

    The Jews in the story are looked upon as the racist ones. Shylock, the villain in the story, is depicted as the one being racist at some points. When he does Shakespeare makes it look as though he doesn't have the right to be racist, for he is a mere Jew. He is equal to a dog in this story from a Christian's point of view. He makes the audience feel sorrow for Antonio, the merchant, for having to borrow money from someone beneath him by saying it was done as a last resort, so that Antonio, out of his good heart, could help out a friend.

    • Word count: 960
  11. Jessica - creative writing

    I know I should love him for he is my father but I know that I will never genuinely love him like a daughter should. I don't need to worry about that now. I've run away with someone I love and who truly loves me. His love is pure he doesn't expect anything in return. We are going to get married and we have taken as much of my father's money and jewels that we could carry. I'm sure he's going to be more devastated to be losing his money rather than me.

    • Word count: 744
  12. The Merchant of Venice- Critical Evaluation

    The bond stated that failure to repay the lent money would result in shylock being able to claim a pound of Antonio's flesh. The climax of the play being the court case deciding if the bond should be executed. All of the play's characters view shylock as a greedy, clownish, Jewish stereotype. This is mainly because he is a Jew living in a "Christian" society and also because he is a moneylender riddled with greed. He was once even referred to as "the devil".

    • Word count: 689
  13. What impressions have we formed of Shylock in the first Act?

    Antonio and Bassanio are looking to borrow three thousand ducats so that Bassanio can impress Portia who he loves dearly. Antonio decides to visit Shylock to see if he can borrow the money off him, even though they do not get on to well. When Bassanio and Antonio first meet with Shylock we first of all see that Shylock is not fond of Antonio as he says, 'I hate him for he is a Christian: but more, for that in low simplicity he lends out money gratis.'

    • Word count: 753
  14. Shylock is the villain of "Merchant of Venice", yet Shakespeare invites us to feel sympathy for him - Discuss.

    , During the first speech of the play, the reader meets Antonio and immediately feels sympathy for him. The author has carefully chosen Antonio to have the first speech, "In sooth I know not why I am so sad" so that the reader is curious about the reasons for Antonio's sadness. After reading the rest of the speech, I felt sympathetic about his mysterious desolation. Because of Shakespeare's effective word choice, "wearies" and "want-wit sadness" in the initial speech, the reader can easily imagine the sad tone in which Antonio is speaking. The reader immediately feels a bond with feels a bond with Antonio and this is the intention of the author at this early stage of the play.

    • Word count: 725
  15. Shylock is a victim of Venetian society - Discuss this with close reference to 'The merchant of Venice'.

    In 'The merchant of Venice', Shylock's status as a usurer is never in doubt because his first line in the play defines him as such. Shylock is first seen pondering the amount of a loan to Antonio: " Three thousand ducats, well" (I, iii, 1).Shylock's rival, Antonio, hates Shylock because of his business practice which depends on usury and Shylock's Judaism. For this part, Antonio both verbally and physically abuses Shylock: "Signior Antonio, many time and oft, In the Rialto you have rated me, About the moneys and my usances.

    • Word count: 921
  16. "It is money, above all, that produces conflict and concord throughout the play." Discuss the truth of this statement with close reference to The Merchant of Venice.

    A second instance of money being a main issue is found in Act 1 Scene 2. Portia is heard saying she is "aweary of this great world". The reader finds out that her dead father left her a will, with his assets, however stating a condition: If any suitor intended to seek Portia's hand in marriage, he would have to choose the correct of three chest (gold, silver or lead). And only if he chooses the correct one, would be eligible for marriage. In accordance with the depiction of Shylock as the antagonist of this play, his servant, Launcelot leaves for greener pastures (money-wise), considering such actions only necessary ("To leave a rich Jew's service, to become / The follower of so poor a gentleman").

    • Word count: 659
  17. The Merchant of Venice - Critical Evaluation.

    But it was the revenge that cost Shylock so dearly. At the trial he scorned an offer from Bassanio of three times the original loan because he wanted to kill Antonio so much for all that he had done to him. And in the end he was left cursing when all that he had ever loved was removed from him. Love played a very important part in the play with six of the main characters in the play eventually paring off with each other.

    • Word count: 960
  18. Shylock: Villain or Victim?

    Although Shylock has an image of being strongly hated and a villain, Shylock can also be perceived by the audience as a victim, firstly when Jessica, Shylock's only child, elopes with Lorenzo, a Christian taking many of his precious jewels and a lot of his money. Shylock has been deserted by his own flesh and blood, abandoned and robbed of his most precious possessions. Although Shylock appears a cold and cruel man, it becomes apparent that he does have compassion and concern within him.

    • Word count: 927
  19. Consider Shakespeare's Presentation of Shylock in 'The Merchant of Venice'.

    He has been played by Anthony Sher, John Woodvine, Ralph Richardson, Dustin Hoffman, John Gielgud and Barrie Rutter. Each of the actors has tried to show him in either his best or his worst possible light. In some interpretations of 'The Merchant of Venice', the technique that the directors use is to cut a lot of Shylock's original lines to make him seem less harsh and more undeserving of all the hatred that the people around him give him constantly. In most cases, the intensity of the performances, of the actors playing Shylock, go towards getting his character across to the audience.

    • Word count: 841
  20. "It is money, above all, that produces conflict and concord throughout the play." Discuss the truth of this statement with close reference to The Merchant of Venice.

    Another conflict has also been pointed out within this scene, which is the conflict between love and money. Bassanio explains to Antonio that the route to riches for him has already been found. Portia, a lady in Belmont has been "richly left", having inherited a large sum of money from her dead father. She is thus a magnet for poor noblemen, such as Bassanio, for Renaissance law states that the husband is the ruler of the wife. Therefore when a man marries a wealthy woman, her money passes into his control. Because many men will be after Portia, Bassanio believes that he will need the help of Antonio's money to impress her.

    • Word count: 952
  21. 'The Merchant of Venice' written by William Shakespeare and 'My Children! My Africa!' by Athol Fugard.

    The play is classified as a Shakespearean Comedy. The play is based on themes of prejudice, love and money. There are characters from different parts of the hierarchy, the society of this play is considerably poor, and also the society is prejudiced. Although Portia is a wealthy princess, money is not valued as her pride possession. The character of Shylock values money more. But even though Shylock is often 'bullied' by Antonio, he is still happy enough to loan money away.

    • Word count: 733
  22. What importance does money assume in The Merchant of Venice?

    The last relationship is that of Shylock and Jessica. In the play, Shylock agonizes over the loss of his ducats and is reported to running through streets crying, "O, my ducats! O, my daughter". The words he used clearly show that he values his money at least as much as his daughter. All the above relationships depict the importance of money over love, and illustrates the moral significance of how love is not before money, rather, only after the value of money, is the love valued.

    • Word count: 823
  23. The merchant of Venice - With reference to act 4, scene 1, examine the interaction between Shylock and Portia. Is Shylock presented as a victim or a villain?

    heart. Three months latter, Antonio has not paid Shylock. Shylock seeks revenge on the Christian society in which he lives for reasons of which I will explain later on in this essay. And he expresses his anger by demanding his pound of flesh in court. The duke of Venice (man in power at the time) sends forward a doctor to sort the shambles out in court, but the doctor is actually Bassanio's new wife. In this essay I will be examining the interaction between Shylock the "Jew" and Portia as the doctor.

    • Word count: 715
  24. The Response Phase.

    In every case the better item always seemed to lead the conversation and put the other one down. Our teacher picked pairs at random to perform their conversation. These were called inferiority improvisations and made us use a defined character for each individual item. We had to adopt the idea into how we felt with items like the shoe, with people often adding something to make the bad one sound worse. A lot of the work we have done has been based on the Russian practitioner Stanislavski. He taught many people how he thought it was best to act.

    • Word count: 868
  25. How does Shakespeare manipulate the audience's response to Shylock in Act 1 Scene iii, Act III Scene I and Act IV Scene i?

    He refuses to accept twice the amount of money he lent to Antonio, he insists on taking Antonio's life. Shylock is not only a monster he is also a victim. He is treated badly by all Christian's, all because of his religion. 'Fair sir you spat on me Wednesday last; you spurned me such a day; another time you called me a dog; and for these courtesies I'll lend you thus much money?' His viewpoint can be fully explained and can occasionally make the whole audience feel sorry for him.

    • Word count: 819

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