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GCSE: The Merchant of Venice

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  1. Shylock is undeserving of our sympathy. Comment on this view of Shylock with specific reference to Act 4 Scene 1.

    Shylock has three main feelings in the courtroom, they are confidence because the bond is a legal document, resentment because of his treatment, mocking of his religion, and verbal abuse and finally devastation at the loss of his daughter. I think this makes him more defiant in exacting his bond. When he approaches the court they belittle him because of his profession (money lender) and mainly his religion which is Jewish. He contradicts the court when asking if Jews are ''Fed with the same food, hurt by the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means and cooled and warmed by the same winter and summer as a Christian is?''

    • Word count: 980
  2. Shylock is inhuman because he is inhumanly abused.

    The Christians hated the Jews because of conditions under which they lent money. They charged usance or interest whenever they lent money. This was seen as a cardinal sin by the Christian faith. By being apart of a minority that is scorned and treated as exiles, Shylock has been inhumanly abused. Shylock later shows his inhumanness towards Antonio, a Christian, in the third scene of the first act. He uses the word 'hate' so freely when describing his feelings regarding Antonio.

    • Word count: 1418
  3. Choose any important scene from 'The Merchant of Venice'. Give an account of the play's background and via analysis of language and staging, show its importance to the play as a whole.

    I have only gone upto line 115 for the purpose of this essay. It would take too long to analyse any more. I am going to stage this in modern times as it gives you more freedom of props and equipment. The first event that would happen in this scene would be the entrance of the cast. I feel the best effect would be to have all the cast with the exception of the Duke already on stage. Then sharply raise the curtains, slowly brighten the lights and finally enter the Duke.

    • Word count: 937
  4. Discuss Shakespeare's presentation of Shylock in the Merchant of Venice- villain or victim?

    The most obvious observation of this scene is the hatred of Antonio and dislike of Shylock. Shylock summarises his approach to Christians when he explains what he will do with Christians and what he won't ('I will buy with you...I will not eat with you'). Even though speeches like this and 'How like a fawning publican...' make us regard Shylock as being callous and vengeful we do find just causes of complaint at this time. When Shylock accuses Antonio of spurning him, Antonio replies with 'call thee so again' and 'spit on thee again'.

    • Word count: 1972
  5. Is Shylock the villain or victim in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice?

    Act one scene two, At Belmont, Portia and Nerissa discuss the importance of Portia finding a suitable honest suitor. Just as her father wanted for her before he died. The 'right' suitor must be the one who is honest, loyal, and not money grabbing. This will be determined by a test of these qualities. Portia's various suitors must choose between three chests, one of gold, one of silver, and one of lead, and select the one that contains her portrait. The man who guesses correctly will win Portia's hand in marriage, but those who guess incorrectly must swear never to marry anyone. Nerissa lists the suitors who have come to guess, and mocks them in a conversation with Nerissa.

    • Word count: 2323
  6. The Merchant of Venice

    Another friendship is the one between Solanio and Solerio, they are very useful characters, because they are gossips and so can keep us informed on what is happening. Generally there is a quite tight knit community within the Christians, and they have a rivalry with the Jewish community who are also quite close to each other. Two specific friends within the Jewish community are: Tubal and Shylock - Tubal comforts and tells the truth to Shylock when everyone else is laughing at him, or spreading rumours about him.

    • Word count: 2090
  7. Merchant of Venice - is Shylock an evil villain?

    Shylock says aside, "How like a fawning publican he looks. I hate him for he is a Christian." He also says, "If I can catch him once upon the hip, I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him." By this he means if Shylock can get a hold over Antonio, it can get him at a disadvantage. When he mentions the ancient grudge, he is talking about the traditional hostility between Jews and Christians apparently originating in the accusation that the Jews were responsible for killing Jesus Christ.

    • Word count: 2442
  8. Is the Merchant of Venice anti-Christian or anti-Semitic?

    First of all, Shylock is a mean miser who knows nothing but money. In fact, Shylock seems to care more for his money than for his runaway daughter, "I would my daughter were dead at my foot, and the jewels in her ear: would she were hearsed at my foot, and the ducats in her coffin." The way Shylock makes his precious money is by lending money to people by taking the interest, or "well won thrift" as he calls it.

    • Word count: 1941
  9. Shakespeare reveals prejudice of a character with dark complexion with the very first line when the Prince of Morocco entered, "Mislike me not for my complexion."

    The Prince of Arragon didn't defend himself in any way even though he was Spanish, as at that time England and Spain were constant enemies and even being an adversary he didn't mention anything. Prince of Morocco's boastful and flattery nature is seen in the lines, "I would not change this hue except to steal your thoughts my gentle queen" and "the best regarded virgins of our clime have lov'd it too". This clearly tells us that he is a very haughty and egotistic person.

    • Word count: 1865
  10. Textual Transformation - The Merchant of Venice

    I only had two real friends in Venice, father's foolish servant Launcelot, and my future husband and saviour, Lorenzo. Of course even though father had all that money, he strangely never gave much of it to me. Maybe because he thought I would squander it, I don't know. But it meant that I had little knowledge of what money was. Maybe this is why I ended up spending so much of it on my honeymoon. In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have spend so much, but back then I didn't care, I was a young girl new to the world and in love.

    • Word count: 1359
  11. Is the Merchant of venice a racist play?

    We must not forget that Christians were forbidden from usury (lending money on interest) and Jews filled this economic vacuum. Jews played a necessary role in society and there were also laws forbidding Jews from taking many other professions. Many Christians resented the fact that Jews were allowed to make money from lending money. The Bible Scriptures also played a role in the amount of anti Semitism in Shakespeare's' era when the Bible was taken a lot more literally than nowadays. So John's Gospel 19:38 "For fear of the Jews" would have been taken very seriously.

    • Word count: 2249
  12. exploring the various forms of love displayed in Shakespeares Merchant of Venice

    This makes the audience doubt that Bassanio's love for Portia is genuine, but perhaps it is because she is rich that he is fond of her. It is in Bassanios first reference to Portia that the theme of the Greek myth of Jason and the Argonoughts is introduced; ' And her sunny locks Hang on her temples like a golden fleece'. This theme runs throughout the play, and it shows that Bassanio does value Portia very highly, and that he is willing to do anything for her.

    • Word count: 2620
  13. How dose Shakespeare make the characters Antonio and Shylock realistic and build up audience sympathy for them? The Merchant of Venice

    Then he will cutoff one pound off Antonio's flesh. Shylock says, "this kindness will I show- go with me to a notary, seal me there your single bond, and in a merry sport, if you repay me not on such a day, in such a place, such sum or sums as are expressed in the condition, let forfeit be nominated for an equal pound of your flesh, to be cut off and taken in what part of your body pleaseth me".

    • Word count: 534
  14. Shylock, if he is a victim or villain of his religious prejudice. The Merchant of Venice

    Because of Shylocks retribution he deserved everything he got, to take Antonio's flesh would be a very inhumane thing to do. And the readers or even characters would have thought just about he same. This is which makes it more the reason to hate him, and for Bassanio to avenge his death. When Shylock said in the court case said, "If every ducat out of that 6000 were multiplied by six, I would not take them. I would rather have my bond."

    • Word count: 2623
  15. Shylock, hero or villain?

    of business; "he lends out money gratis(free), and brings down the rate of usance here with us in Venice" and because Antonio mocks on him in public he says that his "tribe" will be "cursed" if he forgives him. Shylock takes his time with the bargain slowly repeating and asking the price and conditions as if to keep Antonio and Bassanio on edge. This shows he is a clever and careful man, especially when it comes to money. Then we start to see the other more sinister side of Shylock.

    • Word count: 1167
  16. The Merchant of Venice is a racist play - Discuss

    Portia thinks the devil is black, she is truly racist, but in the Elizabethan times they did think the devil was black, which means the Elizabethan times, were racist times. So many people in those times must have been racist, not just Portia. Also when the Prince of Morocco tries and fails, she says, "May all of your complexion fair the same". When Shylock does appear for the first time, it is when Antonio goes to Shylock to borrow money so that Bassanio can try his hand at winning Portia, Shylock agrees, but says he won't eat, drink, or pray with them.

    • Word count: 4753
  17. How just is the outcome of the trial scene for Shylock in the Merchant of Venice?

    We are aware from the beginning of the play of his view: 'tell me not of mercy' (Act 3 Scene 3). This supports the fact that he only wants justice since only justice can save him from bringing what he wants- the pound of flesh symbolising revenge and success for him. Shylock only wants his bond, hence the reason why he rejects the offering of six thousand ducats (double the original offering in the bond). His refusal to show any mercy in the trial is due to the treatment he has suffered from at the hands of the Jews, especially Antonio who 'lends out money gratis, and brings down the rate of usance' (Act 1 Scene 3).

    • Word count: 4371
  18. Shylock: Victim Or Villain - The Merchant of Venice written by William Shakespeare

    Luckily, he was able to create this sense of pity in the public. Shakespeare uses Venice for two reasons. First of all, in the period that it was written, Venice was a wealthy city, full of commerce, which was a result of trade routes crossing straight through it. This creates an image of trading for the play, which is an apt name for the title, The Merchant Of Venice. Secondly, it could not be set in England as the Jews were a very controversial subject at the time and it would be very dangerous to write a play set in England about this subject.

    • Word count: 1312
  19. Examine the different forms of prejudice which are presentin The Merchant of Venice

    The rage against the Jews that began then lasted for a long period before settling down many years later. However, it was not only Jews who were discriminated against; all foreigners were generally viewed as being suspicious and distrusted. During this play, we see that although Shakespeare lived in a society that despised Jews in many ways, and was extremely discriminating against them, Shakespeare himself appeared to understand how any discrimination affects those who have to deal with it. He appears to, at least it some ways, sympathise with Shylock; particularly as he gave him the line "Hath not a Jew eyes?"

    • Word count: 1532
  20. The Merchant of Venice Discuss Shakespeare's Presentation of Shylock

    and also because he lends money with no interest which discredits Shylock's business. We also learn that he is spat on in the streets and publicly humiliated, "And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine," which makes us feels sorry for him and portrays him as a victim of anti-Semitism from Christians. He also shows himself to be devious and cunning by hiding his hatred beneath a fa´┐Żade of friendship in order to entice Antonio to become indebted to him, not just with money, but also with his life.

    • Word count: 1828
  21. Shylock - Victim or Villain - What is your assessment of the presentation of the character and role of Shylock in 'The Merchant of Venice'

    In contrast to this however, modern attitudes to racism, in particular anti-Semitism, are different. All throughout history Jews have been persecuted, most recently in the Holocaust in Germany. I would think that many people today would be affected by this, that such persecution could happen just because people stood up for their faith. It is this view that makes 'The Merchant of Venice', and particularly Shylock, so complex and still extremely relevant to modern society. Shylock is a Jew in a Christian city, isolated and vulnerable.

    • Word count: 4325
  22. Show how the tension between Jew and Christian Is brought to ahead in the trial scene of 'The Merchant of Venice'

    In the lead up to the trial scene, Shakespeare shows the tension between Jews and Christians. Shylock (Jew) and Antonio (Christian) clearly hate each other and have no respect for each other's religion or way of life. When Shylock and Antonio meet for the first time, in the play, Shylock tells us just how much respect Antonio has for him, "...you spat on me Wednesday last, You spurned me such a day, another time You called me dog: and for these courtesies I'll lend you thus much monies." This short little speech of Shylock's is showing us the kind of things Christians did to Jews.

    • Word count: 1730
  23. Discuss Shakespeare’s presentation of Shylock in the Merchant of Venice

    For this reason Shakespeare was compelled to make Shylock a malevolent character and Characters like Antonio and Portia seem on the side of good. If he hadn't though there would of certainly have been riots in the theatre and Shakespeare would have been in danger of losing his respect and many fans. If he had shown the prejudice more, it is very possible that he could have been accused of being a Jew himself. First one must look at the prejudice towards Shylock in the Merchant of Venice.

    • Word count: 3088
  24. What Does Shakespeare Want His Audience To Think About the Character of Shylock?

    Also during this time, Christians could not, by law, lend money out at interest, however Jews could. This consequently meant that Jews made profit from Christians, which angered Christians greatly. These anti-Semitic views, if not so strong, are still evident in this day and age with the constant fighting on the Gaza Strip between rebel Palestinians and Israeli military. Seldom does a month pass without hearing news of a car bomb exploding in Jerusalem or a little Jewish boy shot by a Hez Bolah 'gorilla'. These racial tensions are not helped by the common 'jokes' about Jews, for example the crude American cartoon series 'South Park' where an eight-year-old Jewish boy, Kyal, is taunted by his 'friends' over his religious beliefs.

    • Word count: 3403
  25. Explore the portrayal of Shylock in “The Merchant of Venice.” How far is he a heartless villain of cruel society? You should comment on the social/historical background, the language and the structure of the play.

    When his daughter ran away with a Christian it made him intensively mad. But what was more shocking to him was that she took lots of his money and his wife's precious turquoise. The turquoise is a valuable ring that he cared about a lot. When Shylock found out that his daughter had ran away he had very mixed feelings. This was because at the same time he found out another one of his archenemy's (Antonio.) ships had gone down. But then he said, "I would my daughter were dead at my foot, and the jewel in her ear".

    • Word count: 2440

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