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

In your opinion, was shylock a victim or a villain in the society he lived in?

Extracts from this document...


English Coursework In your opinion, was shylock a victim or a villain in the society he lived in? Shylock is a Jew who is looked down upon in his society for his religion, as that was how it was in the Shakespearean days. Because Shakespeare was Christian, he often portrayed Jews as villains in his stories, but in truth, was shylock actually a villain, or a victim? The first time Shylock's character actually appears is in Act 1, Scene 3. He is discussing with Bassanio the issue of lending him money under the assurance of Antonio's bond. Bassanio asks him for three thousand ducats, stating that 'Antonio shall be bound.' After shylock knows this, he answers in a response to the proposition by saying 'Antonio is a good man.' He then goes on to describe the bonds that Antonio has with other countries, from the knowledge he had. After listing his bonds, shylock agrees to lend him the money. In this scene, shylock is not being victimized, but he is not being a villain either, as, by taking Antonio's bond for Bassanio, he appears to be a trusting, worthy, and pleasant man. ...read more.


I sympathized with shylock for this, and he was once again portrayed as a victim. In Act 2 Scene 5, shylock is with Jessica, his daughter. His tone in which he speaks to his daughter seems fine, but again, he is putting Christians down by calling them 'Christian fools.' By now I know most of his reasons for hating Christians, so to me he was still a victim, but some of the things he did were unreasonable, for example, I think Jessica should have been able to create her own opinion about Christians, instead of having her father try to drill these racial comments into her head. However, although he tries to make Jessica think like he does, dramatic irony is used in the beginning of scene 3. Shylock knows nothing of this, but the audience has learnt from a conversation between Jessica and Launcelot that she is planning to elope with him. Bu knowing this information, we realize that Jessica obviously does not have an open relationship with her father, as she hides big secrets from him. ...read more.


In Act 3 scene 3, Shylock appears with Antonio and Solanio, and he is arguing that he did not get his bond. Here I start to feel sorry for him, as the bond was a promise, and shylock also keeps talking about how Antonio hates him, which also makes me sympathize. This, once again, made him seem a victim, but this time I stuck with thinking he was a villain, as, when I looked back overall, he seemed a bigger villain than a victim. Referring back to the question, one thing I had to keep in mind was the opinions of both audiences, nowadays, and the audience in the actual Shakespearean times. The main point I made in this essay was the racism, as that is an issue that has changed quite a lot over the years. As opposed to today, people back then thought nothing of racism, so to them shylock would continue being a victim whatever he did. But nowadays people are more sympathetic towards victims of racism, so shylock is less of a victim. However, after the examples I have read over, I still see him as a victim. ?? ?? ?? ?? Annelie Miles The British School of Bahrain Year 10 ...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?

    In the same scene Bassanio politely invites Shylock to dinner but Shylock rudely refuses saying: "I will not eat with you, drink with you nor pray with you." We see Shylock as a victim in the play because of the anti-Semite attitudes of the other characters but we now see

  2. Shylock: Victim or Villain

    be motivated, like so many others in Venice, by anti-Semitism rather than hardship. Certainly this suspicion is borne out by his conversation with Jessica, shylocks daughter. Lancelot is fond of Jessica, yet he still describes her in anti-Semitic language as a "beautiful pagan".

  1. Shylock - Victim or Villain?

    revenge" meaning that Shylock now just doesn't care about the money, but he just wants to spite Antonio. Shylock also uses sarcasm to sound more villainous. This is shown when he says "The villainy you teach me, I will execute" suggests that Shylock will use what he has learn of

  2. Shylock: Victim or Villain

    Solano and Salerino are other Venetians that criticize Antonio at any opportunity they may be given. They torment him by reminding him of his daughter leaving him, this shows that he is a lone and vulnerable. The two pair does this when Shylock says in Act 2 scene 1 "she is damned for it" (eloping with Lorenzo)

  1. Shylock - Victim of Villain?

    One might question why Shylock would want a pound of human flesh, what he would do with it, or whether he is serious about the bond at all. As the play continues the audience would find out that Shylock does intend to do this if Antonio is ever unable to repay the money.

  2. Shylock - Villain or Victim?

    Bassanio: If it please you to dine with us - Shylock: ...I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and so following; but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you...

  1. Shylock: Villain Or Victim

    Antonio himself is a Christian, which portrays Shylock as narrow-minded, a characteristic associated with archetypical villains. Shylock also displays elements of belligerence in his refusal to ever forgive the Christians. We also learn of his intent regarding Antonio's life; ' If I can catch him once upon the hip, I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.'

  2. In your opinion is Shylock a villain or a victim of the society he ...

    Shylock looks like a villain when he is asked by Bassanio to dine with Antonio, but Shylock replies "... I will not eat with you, drink with you nor pray with you..." this sentence made Shylock look like a villain, but if you had to look at it from his

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