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GCSE: The Merchant of Venice

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  • Marked by Teachers essays 1
  • Peer Reviewed essays 10
  1. Marked by a teacher

    From the study of ‘The Merchant of Venice’ is shylock presented as a villain or victim? To what extent will this view have changed from that of the original audience?

    5 star(s)

    Or a greedy man who is discussing his money. This although seems a bit far fetched and malicious of the character the Christians in Shakespeare's time could have taken the line in this way. During this opening speech of the scene shylock uses a form of repetition, which isn't direct repetition of his own words, however it is repetition of Bassanio's words and shylock is repeating this for his own remembrance or to 'get it into his head' so that he can make a decision on whether to lend Bassanio this money; "Three months-well" "Antonio bound-well" "Three thousand ducats, for three months and Antonio bound."

    • Word count: 1857
  2. Peer reviewed

    Shylock- Villain or Victim?

    4 star(s)

    Let me say 'amen' betimes for here he comes in likeness of a Jew", Solanio is anti Semitic, claiming Shylock is the devil. Because he is a Jew his situation in Venice is second-class. This is first seen in Bassanio's hostility towards him. At the beginning of the scene Bassanio's speech is short and prosaic indicating the lack of friendship between them, "Your answer to that", this statement shows his agitation with Shylock and, "Be assured you may", shows that Bassanio has taken shylock's previous comment as negative which Shylock didn't intend.

    • Word count: 1063
  3. Peer reviewed

    To what extent do you think Shylock deserves the treatment given to him in the trial scene?

    3 star(s)

    Later on, Shylock is offered to take 9000 ducats, thrice what he wanted, and leave. However, Shylock declines this offer due to it not being "paid, according to the tenour", while the date to pay the money back has been passed and therefore Shylock was entitled to the forfeit, it still comes across to me as evil to want to kill Antonio instead of taking substantially more money. This shows that Shylock was being evil and unforgiving, leaving you to think that later on in the scene; the treat he got was deserved.

    • Word count: 1683
  4. Peer reviewed

    Write about the role and character of Portia in the play.

    3 star(s)

    'I may neither choose who I would, nor refuse who I dislike' (Act 1 scene 2) However, like all interesting characters, Portia does have a dark side. She goes on to give a witty account of each of these suitors to Nerissa, showing the bigoted Elizabethan attitude towards foreigners. This can be shown in Act 1 scene 2 when Portia first talks of the Prince of Morocco, describing him as having 'the complexion of a devil'. Her descriptions of her suitors show Portia to be witty and quick-thinking, but they also show her to be no less racist than many of the men in this play; as can be seen later on in Act 2 scene

    • Word count: 1103
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. Peer reviewed

    How does Shakespeare present the character of Shylock in the play? Is it possible to sympathise with him?

    3 star(s)

    She also steals a number of precious jewels and Ducats from her father. This sends Shylock into a rage and he is pleasantly surprised to find out that Antonio's ships have failed him and so Antonio must forfeit the bond. Shylock seems more irate that his ducats are lost then his daughter. This is his chance for revenge against Antonio and taking out his anger about his daughter. He even says: 'I would my daughter were dead at my foot, and the jewels in her ear' this shows him in his evil state and that he would rather see his daughter dead if it meant getting his jewels back.

    • Word count: 1292
  8. Peer reviewed

    Is Shylock a villain or victim?

    3 star(s)

    As the play unfolds, Shylock is presented as the villain because he is portrayed as cold, greedy and evil. But is he? Is Shylock really the villain in the play or can he also be portrayed as the victim? In Shakespeare's times, the Sixteenth Century, Jews were rarely seen in England. In the middle Ages, Jews had fled to England to escape and their only job was to lend money because Christians were not allowed to lend out money to get interest.

    • Word count: 1101
  9. Peer reviewed

    Shylock - Victim or Villain?

    3 star(s)

    For example, the Jew would die, the Jew would lose his daughter or wife, he would have his money and land taken or he would be forced to change religion. They were heavily persecuted in these plays would also give the audience a bad view on Jews. This expanded the amount of racism towards Jews. I feel that Shylock was a Villain, as although he was heavily persecuted throughout the play he should have had more mercy towards Antonio. I think that Shakespeare had no choice but to make him a Villain because of the audience of the time.

    • Word count: 1571
  10. 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

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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