• 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 ...

    Jessica is about to elope with Lorenzo, a Christian, and her line, "I have a father, you a daughter, lost", shows she has now turned her back on her faith and because Shylock does not know, her father too. When he leaves to "feed upon the prodigal Christian", he tells her to stay home and to look after his house.

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

    When Shylock does enter the courtroom, the Duke immediately begins to patronize him, "I think so too, that thou but leadest this fashion of thy malice to the last hour of act" giving the Jew a chance to drop the charges against Antonio, releasing him from the bond.

  1. Shylock: villian or victim

    Subsequently, this shows that Shylock walked into a courtroom full of biased Christians ready to tear him apart, because of his religion. This gives us the idea that they may not know Shylock, but because of his religion they are, at first glance, classing him an outcast.

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

    in Venice. In the past, Antonio has abused Shylock and insulted him with names such as; "misbeliever" and "cut-throat dog", as well as spitting on him which shows the extent of Antonio's hatred towards Shylock. We feel sorry for Shylock because we believe that nobody should be treated in such a spiteful way.

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

    When Shylock emerges he greets Salanio and Salerio and says "I would my daughter dead at my feet, and the jewels in her ear" This is a very revealing statement as he wants to know where his daughter, he would rather she was dead at his feet than being alive and him not knowing where she is.

  2. 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.

  1. '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."

  2. In your opinion does Shakespeare portrayShylock as a victim or a villain

    As you can see Jessica is planning to steal her father's prize possessions, even though Shylock has left Jessica in charge of the house and therefore this shows how Shylock trusts her, but in this case wrongly.

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