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How sympathetic would an Elizabethan audience have been to Shylock and in what ways might this be different from the reaction of a modern audience?

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Introduction

How sympathetic would an Elizabethan audience have been to Shylock and in what ways might this be different from the reaction of a modern audience? The merchant of Venice is a dramatic love story, with three couples- Bassanio and Portia, Gratiano and Nerissa, and Lorenzo and jewish Jessica. Bassanio wants to win Portia's heart but as she is extremely rich he wanted to impress her, he borrowed three thousand ducats from a Jewish money-lender (Shylock) with the condition that he could have a pound of Antonio's flesh if the bond wasn't repaid in three months. Shylock is a rich Jewish money-lender, is hated because of his love for money, and his passion for his religion. Shylock has a daughter Jessica who is in love with a Christian - Lorenzo, much to her father's disgust. Reactions to Shylock might be different now from Elizabethan times because the Jewish religion is now accepted in today's multicultural society. ...read more.

Middle

O excellent young man!" (Act 4, Scene 1, line 244) Shylock admits his hatred for Christians is irrational and emotional. Shylock thought that a simple invitation of dinner by Bassanio was mocking his religion "Yes, to smell pork; to eat of the habitation which your prophet the Nazarite conjured the devil into" (Act 1, Scene 3, Line 30) Another reason for Shylock to hate Antonio is because Antonio lends money to his friends, without asking for interest, Reducing Shylock's profits. The way Shakespeare portrays the character of Shylock is very stereotypical. Shylock is very religious and hates Christians (mainly Antonio) who speaks badly of the Jews. Shylock is described as being very sinister for the fact that her was prepared to take a pound of flesh from Antonio even if he will certainly die because of this. Shylock arranged his deal with Bassanio in a public place, Shylock was very cautious when finalising the loan, he explained the terms very carefully to make sure they are perfectly understood. ...read more.

Conclusion

said that he is indirectly planning to kill Antonio, because he will die from his injury he was prepared to accept the loan to be let off. The duke wanted Shylock to show mercy on Antonio, but shylock insisted on is pound of flesh. Shylock is still unmoved when Portia (the judge) makes a speech in praise of mercy Shylock has bad luck at home with Jessica running away with Lorenzo, and taking his wife's ring a diamond and other precious jewels. He was very upset about this "Thou stick'st a dagger in me: I shall never see my gold again" Shylock has extremely bad luck in court when he thought he would get his revenge on Antonio, for all the discrimination he has done to him, but when Portia tells him of the penalty for killing someone Shylock takes his punishment and leaves. Shylock wasn't treated very fairly by the Christian characters in the play, especially by Antonio. I think Shylock does get what he because he indirectly tried to kill Antonio. Jews believe in revenge and Christians do so Shylock knew he would be able to get his own back somehow. ...read more.

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