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

Shylock is a victim of Venetian society - Discuss this with close reference to 'The merchant of Venice'.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Khorum Hussain South Birmingham College Shylock is a victim of Venetian society Discuss this with close reference to 'The merchant of Venice' By William Shakespeare The purpose of the following is to decide whether Shylock is a Villain or a victim, with close reference to 'The merchant of Venice' by William Shakespeare. I agree that Shylock is a victim of Venetian society; this can be argued in the film presentation and the play written by William Shakespeare. It is clear that the attitudes towards Jews in Europe at the time was criticised by Shakespeare's written play. The first identification of this is that 'The merchant of Venice' endorses anti-Semitism and, by extension, that Shakespeare is an anti-Semite because his work reflects the anti-Semitism that was part of the Elizabethan culture .The text itself preserves enough evidence of the author's fixed intent to exhibit his Shylock as an inhuman scoundrel, whose diabolical cunning is bent on gratifying a satanic lust for Christian flesh, the Jew, in fact, who was the ogre of Medieval story and the cur to be exacerbated by all honest men. ...read more.

Middle

Antonio freely owns the abuse he has heaped upon shylock and responds to shylock's complaints with threats of renewed violence. Antonio swears that:" I am also to call thee so again, To spet on thee again, to spurn thee too." Antonio Acknowledges the animosity between him and Shylock, Antonio has saved many of Shylock debtors from defaulting on their loans and thus preventing Shylock from collecting his interest. Throughout the entirety of The Merchant of Venice, Shylock is referred to by name only three times; in the trial scene, the Duke twice identifies Shylock by name, and Portia does so once. In the course of the rest of the play, Shylock is most often referred to simply as "the Jew". That title of "the Jew" is often modified with colorful and disparaging adjectives, such as "Dog Jew" (II, viii, 14) and "currish Jew" (IV, I, 292). In many cases, even the simple title "Jew" is stripped away, and Shylock is no longer a man, but an animal: Gratiano curses Shylock with "O, be thou damned, inexecrable dog!" ...read more.

Conclusion

Shakespeare was, after all, a commercial dramatist and many commercial dramatists make their livings by pandering to, rather than working against, conventional social mores. To make the claim that Shakespeare creates Shylock within an anti-Semitic culture, and therefore invests Shylock with biased anti-Semitic attributes, does not impugn the artistry of the drama. Nor does such a claim implicate Shakespeare himself as a monstrous anti-Semite. All this claim suggests is that Shakespeare, like most of the rest of his society, was hostile toward Jewry for religious and cultural reasons, and that hostility is revealed most clearly in Shylock. What I have tried to trace is the possible, or perhaps the probable, relationship between what was happening in Shakespeare's day and what is happening in Shakespeare's plays. Shylock oversteps the boundaries of his Villainous character. The audience cannot and would not have rooted for Shylock during Shakespeare's lifetime, yet, now we do. Shylock is merely a victim of anti-Semitism. Although victorious in his bond, Shylock was raped of his lands, his faith and his pride. Shylock not necessarily the villain, rather the victim in my point of view. ...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 ...

    On a contrasting view of this scene, Shylock does make an extremely moving and emotive speech, starting "Hath not a Jew eyes?" The speech makes a very valid point that anyone, regardless of race, creed or faith is a person.

  2. The Merchant of Venice is a racist play - Discuss

    Antonio is very powerful in the community, as he can easily get credit when he wants it even though he does not like to use it. He says "Shylock, albeit I neither lend nor borrow", and then he says, "Yet, to supply the ripe wants of my friend, I'll break a custom."

  1. With close reference to the text, explore how Shakespeare presents the character Shylock in ...

    audience to lose sympathy with Shylock is when Bassanio reveals homoerotic undertones again. Bassanio says to Antonio: "I would lose all, ay, sacrifice them all Here to this devil, to deliver you." This quote will cause loss of sympathy for Shylock as he is braking up a relationship and the audience will view this as being evil and uncaring.

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

    he would reject it shows the magnitude of his thirst for vengeance. This is all especially important as Shylock's business is usury, making profit and therefore that is what makes this statement even more spectacular. His call for justice soon after this just re-confirms his point, and underlines his need for revenge.

  1. A study of anti-Semitism in 'The Merchant of Venice' it's historical and cultural perspective ...

    Many Christians in the 1500's did not have discriminative views of Jews and Judaism which and this was despite the medieval stories and plays. Shakespeare's inspiration for 'The Merchant of Venice' is believed to have come from other plays and literature which were circulating at the time.

  2. Villain or victim? Discuss Shakespeares presentation of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice.

    Shylock is first recognised as a typical Jewish villain, when he reveals to the audience (out of earshot from Antonio and Bassanio) his ambition, 'If I can catch him once upon the hip, / I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.'

  1. To what extent does 'The Merchant of Venice' reflect the anti-Semite feelings of the ...

    Or maybe suggesting that as the character saying this was the comic figure of the play, the anti-Semitism was all utter madness? Jessica, states 'Our house is hell', therefore Shylock must be the devil to want to live there. This is supported when we find out that his house means a lot to him.

  2. In The Merchant of Venice, Shylock can be seen as a gentle Jew and/or ...

    Shylock is very trusting in his daughter. "Lock up my doors." This turns back on him, as Jessica steals his riches and elopes. This scene suggests he is a stereotypical Jew, a very self centred man and a bad father.

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