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

Shylock: Villain or Victim?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Shylock: Villain or Victim? In Shakespeare's play The Merchant of Venice, Shylock, a Jewish money-lender is portrayed as villainous throughout the play. At the beginning of the play, he agrees to lend Antonio a sum of 3000 ducats. This loan had to be paid back within three months time otherwise Shylock would get what he wanted, a pound of Antonio's flesh, as a part of a clause of the contract. Shylock's continuous insistence for a pound of Antonio's flesh shows him as a villain, but is Shylock really a villain, and not a victim? Antonio wanted this money for his friend Bassanio, who needed it so he could court a rich heiress called Portia. Antonio had to loan this money from Shylock as his own money was being invested in merchant ships which were out at sea at the time. These ships were reported to be lost at sea, so it looked as if Antonio would not be able to repay the 3000 ducats to Shylock. Before they found out about the ships, containing all of Antonio's wealth, that went missing, Shylock made Antonio agree to an inhumane bond, which gives ...read more.

Middle

Such names as these and 'misbeliever' evoke feelings in Shylock which can lead him to take part in villainous doings. Shylock wanted revenge on Antonio who because of the way he was treated. A sense of victimisation is conveyed when Antonio admits 'I am as like to call thee [dog] again, to spit on thee again.' Shylock tells the audience how he intends to get revenge on Antonio, 'I'll plague him, I'll torture him.' The audience also learns a little about Shylock's villainous side when his daughter Jessica tells of what she had heard: 'I have heard him swear... that he would rather have Antonio's flesh than twenty times the value of the sum.' Shylock however only feels this way because the way he, and his race, had been treated for years by Christians like Antonio. This loan is giving Shylock a chance to take revenge on him, so these reactions by Shylock convey him as a villain because of his victimisation. Shylock had a lot of money; he can be shown as a victim as his daughter Jessica, who disliked the way she was treated by him, had run off with ...read more.

Conclusion

Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not take revenge?' From this small speech, we see how he has had to put up with cruel treatment because of his race and also Shylock's point of view on this whole issue in a clearer way. We see him as a villain only because of his victimisations. Shylock however is immediately forgotten to be more of a victim than a villain when he admits: 'I would my daughter were dead at my foot, and the jewels in her. Would she were hearsed at my foot, and the ducats in her coffin.' This conveys him as a cruel, pitiless villain since he would rather have his money than his own daughter. He has always treated his daughter unequally, so he becomes a victim of her stealing his money because of his villainous behaviour. ...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. Shylock - Villain or Victim.

    And in the heat of the moment, he may say things he doesn't really mean. He starts to damn his own daughter- "She is damned for it". This shows he doesn't love his daughter and he is damning her, saying he is almost glad she is gone, this is probably a cover up for the sad emotions he is feeling.

  2. Shylock: Victim or Villain?

    When Antonio enters his room, he immediately talks of hating him. "I hate him for he is a Christian" Act1Sc3 L34 The only reason he gives for hating Antonio is because he is a Christian. Here he appears quite racist, which later on he complains about Antonio doing it to him.

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