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Explore the presentation of Shylock in Act 1 Scene 3: Ehat are your first impressions of him?

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Introduction

Explore the presentation of Shylock in Act 1 Scene 3: What are your first impressions of him? "The Merchant of Venice" is a story of love and hate, power, control and inequality. It involves around Shylock. A rich Jew moneylender who lives in Venice and venation Christians, which have constantly abused and humiliated Shylock. In 'The Merchant of Venice' Shakespeare seeks to challenge the prejudice of the Elizabethans who believed that Christians were always right and Jews were always wrong. Shylock shows both villainous and victimized actions. Shylock shows repetition in first part Act 1 scene three. Shylock repeats the words after Bassanio "For three months" Shylock repeats "For three months, well". Shakespeare uses repetition in Shylock's speech to make him more mysteries. By copying the words of Bassanio it shows us that Shylock speech is private, which doesn't show us much about Shylock himself. Also keeps his life more secret from Bassanio from the content of the conversation. ...read more.

Middle

The Elizabethan audience would have most definitely agreed with this. Shylock is being victimized, as he has been the subject of Antonio's obscene name-calling. An Elizabethan audience would have seen Shylock as 'the devil' and would have agreed with it. Therefore, we can see Shylock also has string religious hatred "I hate him for he is a Christian" Although Antonio and the other Christians hate Shylock because of his faith, Shylock has brought himself down to their low level, by admitting that the same prejudice affects his view of Antonio. Shylock remarks this phrase "I hate him for he is a Christian" aside meaning Shylock is not actually speaking to anyone in the play, but to the audience showing dramatic irony because the audience know that he is like a villain with a smiling cheek because they have heard him. Antonio has not heard that because Shylock speaks it aside. ...read more.

Conclusion

Shylock, having been shown to be a victim, is then shown to be a true villain when he says "let the forfeit be nominated for an equal pound of your flesh to be cut off and taken in what part of your body pleaseth me." This is obviously an evil bond, and Shylock is doing it solely to seek revenge. Shylock longs to see Antonio harmed, perhaps similar to the ways in which he has been hurt. He wants Antonio to feel the same grief and pain he has suffered. Nonetheless Antonio goes along with the bond and announces that he has sent out all his money in ships to different countries and is expecting them all to return in two months time, it is not likely that they will all sink. In conclusion Shylock shows both villainous and victimized actions, but we can see the reasons for his villainous actions because of the humiliation he went through because of all Christian hating him for he is a Jew. Maura Vinall 'Merchant of Venice' Page 1 ...read more.

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