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

Merchant of venice

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Merchant of Venice Is Shylock Introduced as a Sympathetic Character in Act 1 Scene 3? On the surface Shylock seems to be the villain in the play. However Sylvan Barnet said "The Merchant of Venice shows the broad outline of a comedy" and he also said that "The villain in the comedy must be entirely villainous, or rather comically villainous, he cannot for one moment gain the audience sympathy". Shylock is a likable character and a character the audience can sympathise with but sympathy or the lack of it largely rests in the hands of the audience. This essay will consider whether or not the audience gains sympathy for Shylock in act 1 scene 3, bringing into consideration, historical context, differing audiences, the language used, and differing viewpoints. It will refer to other points in the play as well as other Shakespearean plays as well as Shakespeare's possible feelings and opinions which would have had implications on Shylock's character and the characters in the play. Society can have a large influence on how an audience receives a character. Elizabethan society was one in which Anti-Semitism was a trend. It would have been near impossible for an audience to find an audience in support of Shylock because the history of Jews in England brought prejudice and discrimination against them. England was a Christian country and Christians believed that Jews murdered Jesus. ...read more.

Middle

Although Shylock says this aside he will not necessarily lose audience sympathy. He is being deceitful but this could be because he is forced to hide his true feelings. He is involving the audience, in the RNT film version by Trevor Nun he talks into the camera, interacting directly with the audience. Rather than being sly he is being open with the audience and allows them to get to know him. Later in the scene Shylock voices his frustrations to Antonio, although he does not reveal his plot for revenge he is being less deceitful. He goes into detail when talking about what Antonio has done to him and adds to the audience's sympathy. His defense extends to defending his justifying his usery. He uses scripture to justify his money-making method. However Antonio points out that "many cite scripture fore his purpose" and sympathy brought to Shylock. Shylock's defense is not the only reason the audience likes him. He also uses comical language. Although he sometimes seems sarcastic and toys with other characters (1:3:21-23) all these dimensions of his personality add to the audience relationship with him and therefore sympathy is increased. In contrast the audience do not see very much of the other characters personalities and does not get to know them as well. The audience sees Shylock's home life and gets to know him yet the other characters have less of a connection. ...read more.

Conclusion

He is stripped of his wealth, his daughter, his values and his religion. In this essay may viewpoints have been considered, the effect of society and prejudice has been evaluated, the influences of an actor and director must be considered. A director can cut out a section and in the 1993 RSC Production the director David Thaker cut out Shylock's speech (1:3:38-48) that explains his hatred for Antonio. This would have lost sympathy for Shylock, as his hatred would then seem unfounded. Shylock's plot for revenge for what Antonio has done to him begins in act 1 scene 3 when the bond is made. An actor can decide whether he wants to portray Shylock as an evil cunning man beginning a plan for revenge or a man making a kind gesture offering friendship. He could laugh as the penalty is a joke or laugh at Antonio cruelly and either increase or reduce audience sympathy for Shylock. When the audience gains sympathy for Shylock it is not always unanimous. Some people will have seen Shylock from the beginning as a villain and become closed emotionally, unable to allow themselves to sympathise as the Elizabethan audience would have been because of prejudice. Shylock is introduced as a sympathetic and likable character in act 1 scene 3 but whether or not the audience sympathises with Shylock depends on whether or not they are willing to and whether or not the directors and actors will allow them to. ?? ?? ?? ?? Davina Anthony Darius The Merchant of Venice essay ...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. How Does Shakespeare Influence Audience Opinion Of Shylock in 'The Merchant Of Venice'.

    The audience will think that Antonio is brave and loyal, and that will lower their opinion of Shylock because Shylock still wants to take his pound of flesh. We see how un-noble Shylock is when he is compared to Antonio's loyal outlook.

  2. Critical Essay - Merchant of Venice

    In later speech in Act Three Scene One, he talks of the Jews and the Christians' common humanity and how he is seeking revenge after following Christian example: "Hath a Jew not eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with

  1. Merchant of Venice essay

    is describing revenge as the Christian example and refers to it as villainy. As it is the belief of the Christian faith to practise and preach forgiveness, the depiction of Christians as being full of revenge would not have been included in the play to please the audience but again

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

    cowardly yet emotional Jew is because Shylock up till now didn't have a dominant role, and now because he has power over a Christian, he has so much more power and is a much more domineering role over the Christians, and that is because the tables have turned, or so Shylock thinks, until Portia arrives.

  1. How does Shakespeare demonstrate that love and friendship can overcome greed in the Merchant ...

    Many people would choose their own husband in their own time, but out of respect and faith in her father she has chosen to carry out his wishes. This may be loyal, but in many people's eyes it would be seen as foolish.

  2. How does Shakespeare portray character and relationships in Act 1 Scene 3 of 'The ...

    men, "Your answer to that" show us that they don't like each other. We also get the impression that Antonio is a good person when Shylock says "Antonio is a good man." He means that Antonio is 'good' for that amount of money (3,000 ducats)

  1. How helpful is it to call the 'Merchant of Venice' a comedy?

    (L423). This is done in order to test Bassanio and Gratiano on their faithfulness towards Portia and Nerissa. "I'll see if I can get my husband's ring, Which I did make him swear to keep forever" (L13-14). The use of dramatic irony gives the audience quite an amusing overview of the entire situation.

  2. "The Merchant of Venice" was offered to Shakespeare's audience as a comedy. What problems ...

    The law of Venice itself prohibited Jews from retaliating. Shylock used the law to reciprocate against Antonio. He used the Christian law against a Christian. This would have made him an even more hated figure by the audience. The Elizabethan just like the rest of the white Christian population thought themselves as being superior to other races, like Jews.

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