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Merchant Of Venice

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How does the modern audience respond to Shylock? The modern audience respond much differently to Shylock than the original audience, because the modern are sympathetic to Jews because of the holocaust and there is less prejudice towards Jews now. Also at the time the play was written and performed there was anti-Semitism and Jews were not allowed to live in England. Although the modern audience may feel sympathetic for Shylock, they will be able to see his greed and love for money, Shylock's first words are "Three thousand ducats-well" in Act 1 Scene 3. As the scene continues Antonio is being rude to Shylock even though he is trying to borrow money from him. This makes the modern audience feel sorry for shylock but the audience of the early 17th century would not have care at all about Shylock in those circumstances. Before Antonio enters in the scene, Bassanio asks Shylock to dine with him. ...read more.


of this because they already have a lot of sympathy for Shylock and would want shylock to have a sort of insurance policy for himself. Also Solanio and Salerio mock Shylock in many ways, the Elizabethan audience would have enjoyed this, however the modern audience are already feeling guilty and sorry for Shylock for what has happened to him in the scenes before they will have even more sympathy for him. Soon Shylock finds out his daughter has run away with Lorenzo, a Christian. Now the greed of Shylock is really seen by the audience Shylock begins to shout out "My Daughter! O My Ducats! O my daughter! Fled with a Christian! O my Christian Ducats! Justice! The law! My ducats, and my daughter! A sealed bag, two sealed bags of ducats, double ducats, stolen from me by my daughter, and jewels, two stones, two rich and precious stones, stolen by my daughter. ...read more.


Portia and Nerissa come in dressed up as men. Portia and others start to make fun of Shylock and Shylock is called "The Jew" Even by the duke, who is supposed to be impartial, as the scene continues Shylock gets fooled if he does not take exactly one pound of flesh from Antonio's body he will have to die, this would have probally been something the original audience would have liked but the modern audience will feel guilty and sorry for Shylock he has been out numbered, humiliated and then is about to lose his life. The modern audience must have hated Portia for getting Shylock into this situation and must have had a huge amount of sympathy for Shylock. To conclude I think the modern audience respond in a totally different and opposite way to the original audience. The modern audience will have sympathy for Shylock even thought the can see his obsession with money, they feel sorry for him and like to take his side, even when he is making the speech on why he hates Christians. ...read more.

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