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Shylock is portrayed throughout the entire play as both a villain and a victim and nowhere more so than through the drama of the courtroom scene.Do you agree with this statement?

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Introduction

Shylock is portrayed throughout the entire play as both a villain and a victim and nowhere more so than through the drama of the courtroom scene. Do you agree with this statement? To answer the first part of the question, you will need to think about: * Shylock's treatment of Antonio. * Antonio's treatment of Shylock. * Jessica's treatment of her father. * Shylock's reaction to Jessica's behaviour. To answer the second part of the question, you will need to analyse Act 4 Scene 1 (the courtroom scene) and consider how Shakespeare uses drama to show Shylocks changing fortunes. As historical context, examine the position of Jews in Shakespearean society. First I shall talk about the question I have been set. I shall take what I think are the important words and explain them. I am doing this because it will help me understand the question well and fulfil what it asks. Shylock: One of the main characters in the play. The person who the question is based around. Villain: A bad character. A not nice person. Victim: This is the person on the receiving end. Courtroom Scene: Act 4 Scene 1. This is the scene where Shylock is after a pound of Antonio's flesh but is out witted. Do you agree with this statement? ...read more.

Middle

Shylock's pleasure over this matter is equal to the pain he suffers in the loss of his daughter. Portia has fallen in love with Bassanio and wants him to wait a few days before making his choice of the caskets but Bassanio does not want to wait. He thinks aloud about the difference between appearance and reality and then chooses the leaden casket and wins Portia for his wife. Nerissa and Gratiano congratulate him and Grataino declares his own marriage plans. Lorenzo and Jessica arrive in Belmont with Salerio who has brought a letter from Antonio. Antonio has written about his plight. Back in Venice, Antonio has been arrested and taken to Venice. Shylock threatens him but Antonio patiently listens without panicking. Back in Belmont Portia asks Lorenzo to look after her house until she and Nerissa get back from Venice where they plan to trick their husbands. Lancelot Gobbo teases Jessica about her jewish nationality. Her husband, Lorenzo, joins in the fun. In the next Act we are in Venice in a Court of Justice. The Duke asks Shylock to show mercy on Antonio but Shylock refuses and insists on having his pound of flesh. A young lawyer comes in to the Court. It is Portia with Nerissa as her clerk. ...read more.

Conclusion

I think that there is never enough evidence to make a right choice in an answer to a question on a play. However from the evidence that is there I think that Shylock is a villain and that how he used his position as usuary to gain advantage over others was only pure evil and how he asked for a pound of flesh, which meant the certain death of a man, proves this even more. As for the fact that he is a victim, I do not agree with this. He is unlucky but I think in the end he got what he deserved. I think as historical context Shakespeare's plays are not reliable as they contain his own thoughts about subjects such as jews but if this play is correct, then jews were very unfairly treated during Shakespearean times if the treatment that Shylock received as stated in Act I Scene III is correct it would be extremely unfair to treat someone as Antonio did as spitting, name calling, etc are unfair just because someone is different. However if this play is right then the position of minorities or people that we think are different to ourselves is still not improving as we still have racism and sexism. ?? ?? ?? ?? Chris Hill The Merchant of Venice Page 1 ...read more.

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