• 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

The Merchant of Venice Shylock: Villain or Victim? 'The Merchant of Venice' is a play written by William Shakespeare. In this play I will be analysing whether the character of Shylock is classed as a villain or victim. His character is unclear, as he can be seen as an orthodox Jew, where he is vicious and cunning, or he can be seen as a nice and caring person. I will begin by explaining the ways in which he can be seen as a villain. Shylock is seen as a villain because of the way he acts towards other people. Shylock is a very selfish man, and he will often only talk to people if he knows it will affect him in a financial way. Shylock resents Antonio because he lends out money without interest, this is the reason why Shylock does not like him because it is bad for Shylock's money lending business. This is showed when Shylock says, 'Gaoler...tell me not of mercy, This is the fool that lends out money gratis.' In Act 1 Scene 3, Antonio and Bassanio go to Shylock and ask him for a loan. Shylock accepts because he sees this as a chance to make money to help his business, this is why Shylock acts ...read more.

Middle

This shows that Shylock is selfish and because of the way he still tried to get money out of Antonio puts him across as a villain. I will now outline the ways in which Shylock is shown as a victim. As the play begins, we can see that Shylock has suffered a lot of abuse especially at the hands of Christians, in particular Antonio. Antonio humiliates Shylock publicly and criticises him about the way he lends money, in this way Shylock can be seen as a victim. In Act 1 Scene 3, Shylock says to Antonio, 'In the Rialto you have rated me about my moneys and my usances, for sufferance is the badge of all our tribe.' This draws sympathy to Shylock because of the way he has been treated and humiliated, but he does nothing about it. He does not stand up for himself, and because of this it shows him as a victim. Anti- Semitism and racism is often thrown at Shylock throughout the play from the Christians. An example of this is shown in Act 1 Scene 3, as it says that Antonio has spat at Shylocks gabardine, which is a traditional coat worn by Jews, and that he also spat on his beard. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is because they felt that as he is a Jew, which they hate, he is like the devil, who is seen as a person who is evil and a person that everyone hates, which is the exact way Christians felt towards Shylock. 'If you prick us do we not bleed...If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?' this is said by Shylock as he tries to take sympathy from the audience and readers. He is trying to get the point across that Christians are just the same as Jews as they are both human beings, they just follow a different religion. This displays Shylock as a victim as he is being racially abused once again. Shylock's role in the play changes a great deal, because one moment he is being discriminated because he is a Jew and the next moment he tries to trick Antonio into giving him money that he knows Antonio cannot not pay back. Overall, I do not think that Shylock can be described as a villain or victim because he shows parts in the play where he is both. Sam Sykes 11 Leo ...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 - Victim or Villain?

    He is later is seen using devilish humor wanting to make Antonio even more stressed out when he says "I cannot find it; 'tis not in the bond." In another instance, he takes sadistic pleasure in Portia having to uphold the law of cutting out Shylock's flesh when Portia says "The law allows it, and the court awards it."

  2. Shylock - Victim of Villain?

    name (in fact, many others in the court also refer him as the Jew instead of his name). Another example is found in line 173 of the same scene, Duke entitles him as 'old Shylock' - again not a very nice thing to say.

  1. Shylock: villian or victim

    Shylock also states that, 'the villainy you teach me I will execute'. This implies that Shylock is not the villain, but only acting as he is treated himself. In addition Antonio lends money to people with no added interest. This limits Shylock's business as people would rather go to Antonio than Shylock.

  2. Shylock - Villain or Victim?

    This indicates that Shylock is a well educated man. Additionally, he is a loyal man because the ring he had for Jessica was given away for monkeys and he says he would not give up that ring under any

  1. Shylock: Villain Or Victim

    It can also be understandable that a he intends to treat Christians the way they treat him, cursing and spitting on his Jewish gabardine. Is he not human to feel vengeance towards the Christians who hate him? However the immensity of his vengeance can only be assumed by the amount of times Shylock has been abused by a Christian.

  2. Shylock Victim or Villain

    He is also resentful of the ridicule and torment of his race by the Christians. Through the bond he feels he will be able to avenge the treatment of his �clan�: � To bait fish withal: if it will feed nothing else, / it will feed my revenge�the villainy you

  1. Is Shylock a victim or a villain?

    This makes Shylock sound like all he wants his money and that he's disappointed that he can't make any that evening. A little later in the scene Shylock is ordering Jessica around, telling her that she must "Lock up my doors, and when you hear the drum And the vile

  2. How should we best understand Shylock- villain or victim?

    be referred to as 'racist' and 'offensive,' are most probably the main scenes, which create the great effect of the play. In this essay I will be evaluating the character of Shylock in depth, to show if Shakespeare is trying to portray him as a villain or a victim.

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