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

Shakespeare Essay - Shylock: Villain or Victim? In the Merchant of Venice.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Shakespeare Essay - Shylock: Villain or Victim? William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon around 23rd April 1564 and died in Stratford fifty two years later. He married once to a woman named Anne Hatheway with whom he had three children; the eldest, Susanna and twins, Hamnet and Judith. The Globe theatre was where all of Shakespeares productions were staged, it was built in 1599. "The Merchant of Venice" was one of many successful Shakespeare plays, it was written between 1594 - 1598. The title page of "The Merchant of Venice" describes, very vaguely, the story line, "The most excellent Historie of the Merchant of Venice. With the extreame crueltie of Shylocke the Iewe towards the sayd Merchant, in cutting a Iust pound of his flesh: and the obtayning of Portia by the choyce of three chests. As it hath been divers times acted by the Lord Chamberlaine his Seruants. Written by William Shakespeare." This describes the basic story line to all the audience members. As basically all of the audience would be Christian, it would please them to hear that the Jew in the play is portrayed as being evil. ...read more.

Middle

It deals with many of the main topics of the play such as Jessica and Lorenzos elopement and the "flesh bond". Shylocks relationship with his daughter is not a healthy one, this is shown in Act 2 Scene 3 where Shylock announces that "Our house is hell" - there are obviously a lot of family difficulties arising (possibly Jessicas elopement.) Jessica tells him that she is ashamed of being his daughter in Act 2 Scene 3 which shows Shylock more as a victim. I believe that Shylock has a lot of love for his daughter although he does not like to show it. This is questioned, though, in Act 2 Scene 8 where he is debating to himself what is more important to him money or Jessica, "O my daughter, O my ducats, O my daughter, O my ducats" this shows that his money is equally as important to him as his daughter is and there is repetition as well - another sign of villainy. As the scene opens, Solanio and Salerio enter to tell of the unsuccessful ships, they also take the opportunity to insult Shylock some more by calling him "the Jew" instead of his name. ...read more.

Conclusion

towards the end of it he becomes very desperate and has to start begging to be allowed to leave the court. All of this shows that Shylock is clearly a very weak character and victimised, but he has been and incredibly villainous throughout the rest of the play. Shakespeare chooses not to put him into the final Act/Scene, this shows that he clearly was not the hero of the play and proves that he has in fact failed. Having looked at all the appropriate evidence given from the three key scenes that involve Shylock I have come to the conclusion that he is the victim of the play. Although he does show various villainous characteristics such as wanting to continue with the flesh bond and kill Antonio. But in the end he is insulted more than any Jew could ever be insulted, being told that he must become Christian. All that happens to Shylock, the amount of insults and discrimination and racism towards him counts up to be enough to say that he is the victim of the play. His daughter ran away from him, he lost his servant (Lancelot) and worst of all he lost his religion and faith. James Gant Shylock: Villain or Victim? Shakespeare essay February 2003 1 1 ...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. What is your assessment of the presentation of the character and role of Shylock ...

    Unfortunately, everything else Shylock says in this scene makes it virtually impossible, if not impossible, to sympathise with him. Shylock is going to dine with the Christians, but not as a friend, "I'll go in hate", he says, showing a clearly visible villainous side.

  2. exploring the various forms of love displayed in Shakespeares Merchant of Venice

    Portia shows in this scene that she is intelligent and able to make her own decisions. She shows this by ridiculing all but one of her suitors. For example, when referring to the County Palatine (a count who reigned over territory which in other countries would be ruled by a king)

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

    Shylock seems to bear a deep personal and racial grudge against Antonio. He says in an aside, not to Bassanio and the recently entered Antonio, "I hate him for he is a Christian", and this shows his true feelings for Antonio, of deep insults he has made to his "tribe".

  2. How important are bonds and promises in ‘The Merchant of Venice’?

    emotional: just as some people hate cats, or the sound of bagpipes. He cleverly justifies his this by using the following examples: Some, that are mad if they behold a cat; And others, when the bagpipe sings... Master of passion, sways it to the mood Of what it likes, or loathes.

  1. Merchant of Venice essay

    Phrases of this nature are referring to all members of the Jewish religion in a manner that shows the narrow-mindedness that is openly expressed by Christian society. But Shylock is also called names such as "the Jew" (as opposed to his name), "impenetrable cur" and "dog Jew", these are names

  2. Critical Essay - Merchant of Venice

    The final and arguably harshest punishment is that Shylock must convert to Christianity. It is clear from very early on in the play that Shylock harbours a deep resentment towards Christians, especially Antonio. We can see this in the way he talks to him.

  1. What was Shakespeare's representation of women and how does he show this in the ...

    possessions, "Find her as she has my money" - Shylock (her father) is far more concerned for his money than his daughter which means that this character was either not very important or all the women in that time were not of great value.

  2. Direct Act 4 Scene 1 of Shakespeare's - 'The Merchant of Venice'

    ducats Were in six parts, and every part a ducat, I would not draw them; I would have my bond." These lines are very important to the play as it is Shylock showing his resistance and stubbornness against mercy, which will later become his downfall.

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