• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

If you were directing this play, how would you ask the actor playing Shylock to portray his character: as a villain, or as a victim?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

If you were directing this play, how would you ask the actor playing Shylock to portray his character: as a villain, or as a victim? 10 November 03 A villain or a victim. This essay will be considering the evidence for and against the two dramatic interpretations of Shylock in 'The Merchant of Venice'. Could a villain become a victim? Is it possible for Shylock to be both a villain and a victim? Shylock is a very complex human being, who you can feel sympathy and hatred for during the play. One of the examples of this is when Jessica runs away from home into the arms of a Christian, knowing that Shylock, her father will be left on his own, with no one to trust nor care. I feel very sorry for this poor old Jew. On the other hand, running away is a very brave decision for Jessica to make. How has Shylock driven Jessica to these emotions and actions, to a situation that leads Jessica to think that leaving is the only method in order to have a better life? Jessica also has mixed emotions when she knows that she may not be able to see her father ever again. ...read more.

Middle

In Act 4 in the Duke's palace, the Duke shows sympathy towards Antonio, he says' I am sorry for thee', which suggests that the Duke is on the Christian's side, so how is this judgement fair? Secondly, when Portia releases Antonio from the bond, she is not satisfied, she wants revenge, she heaps financial penalties and humiliation on Shylock. Worst of all, they make Shylock agree to change to a Christian. Religion is spiritual. Nobody has the right to convert anyone's religion, as this is a part of our soul. On the other hand, Shylock is prejudiced when he says 'I hate him for he is a Christian'. He is just as insulting back, being prejudiced towards any Christian in sight. He wanted a pound of flesh as a payment from Antonio. In other words, Shylock wants to kill Antonio, and he wants to get rid of him. A pound of flesh is far too extreme as a payment. It is understandable if Shylock uses this chance for revenge, but there are many other ways. However, he chooses the cruellest way. Shylock calls it 'a merry bond', as if killing were just a game for him after all. ...read more.

Conclusion

In Shylock's famous speech in Act 3 Scene 1, the actor could express his pain, in order to gain the audiences' pity. Jewish people have been persecuted for centuries, treated unfairly in societies. There is no exception in Venice and Belmont. Because of the unfairness of the community, anyone, even the kindest heart would be hardened. Shylock has always known the cruelty this society has towards the Jews. Being brought up in the country has made Shylock a cold blooded person, who is always wanting revenge. This is natural, whereas forgiving seems to be unnatural for human beings. Having said this, Christians should be more aware of this forgiveness as they are told to forgive in their bible. The Christians in 'The Merchant Of Venice' are not good examples of their religion either. Should not a Christian take Jesus as their guideline in every day's life, and so persecuting, criticising and humiliating an example of Jesus? Shylock never does anything would harm anyone, so why does Antonio see Shylock as his 'enemy'? Shylock is mean, but after this humiliation and persecution, who can blame Shylock of being cruel? He is just trying to defend himself, by hurting others before being hurt. ?? ?? ?? ?? Alice Lee ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE The Merchant of Venice section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE The Merchant of Venice essays

  1. Shylock - Victim or Villain - What is your assessment of the presentation of ...

    The use of the phrase "sober house" seems to show that Shylock is a dour man not inclined to having fun, meaning even less sympathy can be given to him in this scene. In fact, this dour exterior continues to the end of the scene, when a miserly side of

  2. 'How does Shakespeare present Shylock to the audience as both a stereotype and a ...

    feels he is so close, yet is so far, because the Christians keep prolonging the trial. Shylock is constantly stating, "I'll have my bond" this use of repetition shows that Shylock is sure he wants this and up till now, no one can persuade him otherwise, which ultimately shows how much he really wants it.

  1. Do you agree that Shylock is "a goodly apple, rotten at the heart" or ...

    by lending money interest free "He lends out money gratis, and brings down the rate of since here with as in Venice". Furthermore Shylock vows he will never forgive Antonio. Shylock proceeds to banter with Antonio playing with him rather than giving a direct answer to his request, Shylock appears to be enjoying himself having some control over Antonio's destiny.

  2. The Merchant of Venice Coursework Essay - Shylock; Victim or Villain

    He says repeatedly, "Let him look to his bond.". When Shylock can stand it no longer, he makes one of the most famous speeches in the entire play, beginning "I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes?" It is a speech that, to an Elizabethan audience, would have been years ahead of its time, looking at racism from an almost modern perspective.

  1. Shylock: villian or victim

    He should have never signed it if he was not prepared to accept the forfeit. Antonio's stubbornness caused himself to be in such a position. He wanted to gain the upper hand over Shylock when his ships return with 'thrice three times the value of this bond'.

  2. Shylock can be seen as a victim and a villain. Discuss his relationship with ...

    On the other hand, Shylock practises money-lending and his hated for his greed and also because he is a Jew. Shylock hates Antonio because "he is a Christian" and also because he "lends out money gratis" which brings down the rate of usance (money-lending)

  1. Do you consider Shylock to be a villain or victim

    The legal system was unfair to the Jews. Shylock was never on an equal footing. Shylock is not seen as a person in the court room they have already decided Shylock is an evil person, they can see no good in him.

  2. 'In The Merchant Of Venice, Does William Shakespeare Portray Shylock as a Victim or ...

    Shylock, speaking about Antonio, says "I hate him for he is a Christian". Shylock also has a prejudice towards one of another faith. This is very villainous. He also disagrees with Antonio's business methods. "He lends out money gratis and brings down the rate of usance."

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work