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How does Shakespeare manipulate the audience's response to Shylock in Act 1 Scene iii, Act III Scene I and Act IV Scene i?

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Introduction

Jenny Clarke English Coursework Merchant of Venice How does Shakespeare manipulate the audience's response to Shylock in Act 1 Scene iii, Act III Scene I and Act IV Scene i? In this essay I intend to show how Shakespeare resents to the character of Shylock. I will also go on to discuss the different reactions with an Elizabethan and modern day audience. Shylock is seen as a villain throughout the play. 'A evil soul producing holy witness is like a villain with a smiling cheek, a goodly apple rotten at the heart.' The Christian characters in the play are in no doubt that Shylock is a villain. Shylock is called a villain nine times throughout the play. Shylock is hated by all the other characters and this causes him to, 'Kill like an animal,' Shylock is after revenge throughout the play. ...read more.

Middle

While they may have professed Christianity in accordance with long standing laws against Jews living in England. Throughout his five scenes in the play he is looked down upon, betrayed, deserted, punished and humiliated by Christian society. A modern audience feels sorry for Shylock throughout the play. He is treated badly throughout the play. This is because different religions and money lenders are accepted today. At the beginning of the trail, the audience don't like Shylock because he doesn't listen to Portia, and he will not change his mind and take the money, he would rather risk Antonio's life. At the end of the trial scene when Portia makes Shylock give up all his money and his religion. The modern audience start to feel sorry for Shylock and hopes he will get to keep something. An Elizabethan audience would take it a lot different to a modern day audience. ...read more.

Conclusion

I hate him for he is a Christian Many Jews lived behind a mask at the time this play was written. They would pretend to be Christians but secretly practice Judaism. Shylock was not like this. He would openly admit he was a Jew and this would make more people turn against him. Strong emotive language is used to emphasise this point-"Poor merchants flesh" to remind the jury that Antonio has suffered enough. Shylocks greed comes out when he admits he would kill his daughter for a few ducats. When shylock is sharpening his knife. The imaged portrayed of him to the audience is a blood thirsty monster who is after revenge by killing a Christian. When Portia enters the courtroom, she asks- "Which is the Jew and which is the merchant?" this shows that she doesn't judge by looks and she doesn't take sides. She is also trying to create a sense of justice in the courtroom. But an Elizabethan audience would automatically no who was the Jew, just by the clothes he was wearing. ...read more.

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