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Shylock is the villain of "Merchant of Venice", yet Shakespeare invites us to feel sympathy for him - Discuss.

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Introduction

Judith Hamilton "The Merchant of Venice" Critical Essay Shylock is the villain of "Merchant of Venice", yet Shakespeare invites us to feel sympathy for him. William Shakespeare deals with the universal, thought - provoking theme of prejudice in his play "The Merchant of Venice". Set in Elizabethan Venice, the main protagonist, Shylock is despised in his Christian community, not only because he is a Jew, but also because he is a moneylender. Shylock's enemy, Antonio, a well-respected Christian, lends money without interest. By making use of structure, theme and word-choice, Shakespeare invites us to feel sympathy for Shylock although he is the villain of the play. , During the first speech of the play, the reader meets Antonio and immediately feels sympathy for him. ...read more.

Middle

This immediately caused me to imagine him as a selfish character, exactly what Shakespeare intended. Because Shylock is a Jew, the Elizabethan audience for who this play was written would have been prejudiced against him, something the author has carefully considered. In Act I, Scene III, Shylock's malicious speech, 'How like a fawning...If I forgive him' portrays the hatred he feels towards Antonio. The reader feels sympathetic towards Antonio that the wicked Shylock could be so odious. The author has effectively created this feeling of hatred using imagery: 'catch him once upon the hip' and powerful word choice 'cursed'. Using technical devices throughout the play Shakespeare has consciously invited the reader to loathe Shylock. Although the author has gained hatred for Shylock, he also wishes us to feel sympathy for him. ...read more.

Conclusion

I'll lend you thus much moneys'. Onomatopoeic 'spit' and metaphorical 'cut-throat dog' are examples of emotive language used by the author to form a powerful speech showing the terrible way Antonio treats Shylock, therefore inducing sympathy. One of Shylock's most sympathy evoking speeches is in Act III, Scene I: 'He hath disgraced me... better the instruction'. Shakespeare has created a list with a flowing rhythm to show the many ways in which Antonio has hurt Shylock. In his play, The Merchant of Venice, the author used technical devices to encourage the reader to feel sympathy for Shylock although he is the villain of the play. E has created a hatred for Shylock using structure and powerful word choice. Ironically he ahs evoked sympathy for Shylock using a variety of technical devices. An intelligently written play by Shakespeare that is still relevant today. ...read more.

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