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Shakespeare - "Merchant of Venice" Is Shylock a victim or a villain? Discuss?

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Merchant of Venice Assignment 5DF 8th July 2003 Daniela Ward F.P.C.A.C Shakespeare- "Merchant of Venice" Is Shylock a victim or a villain? Discuss? The Play I am writing about in this assignment is " The merchant of Venice" by William Shakespeare. This play's main theme is the hatred between two people of different religions and beliefs. One a Christian and the other a Jew, but which is the villain and which is the victim? " The merchant of Venice" is a well-known play and Shylock is one of literatures best characters. In this assignment I am going to be assigning whether Shylock is a Villain or a Victim. During the Elizabethan period this play would have been the centre of entertainment because people loved to hate Jewish people and everyone hated Shylock. People would enjoy hating this evil character because he was both a moneylender and a Jew. Is Shylock a Villain or Victim? Firstly to be a villain you need to have harmed someone or broken the law in some way and also be disliked. Shylock hasn't physically harmed anyone, but would take a pound of flesh from a person he disliked just for a forfeit. ...read more.


His actions here shows us how Sick and revengeful he actually is. I think Shylock is both a Victim and a Villain because Shylock is relied on byAntonio who counts on him for the money, even though he has been attacked verbally by Antonio in the past. But he is also a villain because he thinks he knows he can't lose. With this evidence I believe that Shylock is more a villain than victim because Shylock seems to be in control over Antonio's actions and he also knows he is in complete control. Another piece of evidence is that he feels no mercy for Antonio and he doesn't even try to. I think Antonio seems to play the part of the victim for Shylock is in control ver him and starts to control what he does and how he does it because he signed the bond. The roles sort of swapped through out the play. At the beginning Antonio was the villain because he attacked Shylock the victim verbally and then when he asked for a favour Antonio became the victim and Shylock the villain. This makes the storyline more interesting and it also shows you that people can change just to get revenge. ...read more.


Shylock is told that he can retrieve his pound of flesh, but not one particle or drop of blood can be taken. But it's not possible to take flesh and not draw blood. At this point Shylock pleads for understanding and equality. He also explains how important his revenge was: "The Villainy you teach me I will not execute, It will better the instruction" Shylock wins the case but loses in reality and is forced to change his religion to Christianity. He is a broken man. Shylock is a character who is unforgettable for the evil deeds he tried to commit. He is proven to be evil and mad from the evidence in the play. Shylock is the most important yet most hated character in the play, but if you read it from Shylock's point of view you do get an idea of what anguish he is feeling and the tension he is feeling and acting the way he does. In my opinion Shylock is a brilliant villain and a villain is what his character is best at being. All in all "The Merchant of Venice" is an enjoyable play by William Shakespeare and shows you how differences between beliefs can make people act in evil ways with unforeseen consequences. ...read more.

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