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How does Shakespeare reveal Shylock to us in Act III Scene 1, what impressions do we form of Shylock and how do these differ towards the end of the play?

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Introduction

Wednesday 16th March How does Shakespeare reveal Shylock to us in Act III Scene 1, what impressions do we form of Shylock and how do these differ towards the end of the play? Our impressions of the character Shylock before Act III Scene 1 are of a money daft man. He seems to be more concerned about his ducats rather than the loss of his daughter, showing that he is very obsessed with wealth and most certainly greedy, and a miser in every possible way. An example of this is when he won't buy new clothes for Lancelot. We also see how much of a miserable and selfish character Shylock is by the way he treats his daughter; for example, he wouldn't allow her to enjoy herself, so he keeps her locked up. However another angle to look at this character is that, we have sympathy for him, he seems to be an 'outsider' in the community and has been a past victim of Antonio after being insulted in public, spat on continuously in addition undercutting Shylock's business. Another aspect of his behaviour to a positive extent is that toward his daughter he is seemingly very protective over her. ...read more.

Middle

I feel some consideration for Shylock at this point as I believe there may be some discrimination due to his religious beliefs, a further example of this is that Jews only had access to court in Venice. Hospitality for Shylock is very poor in the community as the reader becomes to feel this from the reaction of other characters, however, does he deserve this degree of poor hospitality after the way he has treat his daughter and what he says about her, that he wishes she were dead at his feet. If we sum up all the cases between Shylock and Antonio, morally does Shylock have the right to take the life from Antonio due to the way he has been treat, because he has broken to the terms in the bond, then legally Shylock can take his life, however, should he follow the guidance of moral or legal judgement? When Tubal appears, Shakespeare contrasts him with Shylock, Tubal shows sense thus tells Shylock to calm down furthermore that other men have ill luck too, therefore showing not all Jewish people are the same as Shylock. ...read more.

Conclusion

I personally think that our views change towards Shylock, as we begin Act III Scene 1 feeling hatred for this character, if we catalogue all the complaints made against Antonio moreover how the Christians behave, such as Portia in court, perhaps being just as callous as Shylock, and then we have some sympathy for him. He almost seems out numbered against the Christians, although he was given a fair chance in court, he just failed to consider his bond thoroughly and thus the fault, barring him to perform his act of justice. Had Antonio not assaulted Shylock then no conflict would have been brought about, as no hatred would have developed so I believe Christians in this case are to blame also, I do feel that what Shylock imposed upon Antonio was inhumane, however at the end of the day, Shylock is a greedy selfish and cold hearted man, unlike the Christians he would show no mercy to Antonio - he does after all want to murder him. By Paul Smith ?? ?? ?? ?? Paul Smith (10JN) English - Mr. Fitzgerald - 1 - ...read more.

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