• 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

Introduction One of the most interesting and dramatic characters in 'The Merchant of Venice' is the rich, despised money-lending Jew Shylock. It is impossible to judge Shylock's character by our own modern Standards, simple because Shakespeare wrote this play for play goers in Elizabethan times. This was very different to modern times for two reasons. Firstly, people watching the play would not find it strange to feel sorry for a character, then a few moments later, to be screaming for their blood! Secondly, nearly everyone in Shakespeare's time was racist, and it was common for people to dislike Jews and think of them of villainous. I think that Shylock is both a villain and a Victim. Shakespeare purposefully meant Shylock to be as villainous and victimised as possible, to make the play as dramatic as he could and the most emotion from the crowd. In the 'Merchant of Venice', Shylock's character holds the key to a great tragedy. According to Aristotle's theory of tragedy, there must be 'the fall of the great man'. Shylock is greatly respected within his tribe, is very rich and looses all that he has at the end of the play. Essay The audience's knowledge of Jews would have been mostly from Marlowe's play; Jew of Malta. ...read more.

Middle

He would do this because he hates the rat and wants revenge on it. Antonio is like the rat to Shylock because he troubles him, and is like a disease brought upon his 'home' meaning the City of Venice. When Shylock is glad of Antonio's lose, he is extremely excited about finally getting his revenge, knowing that he has waited, tolerantly and patiently, for a chance to kill Antonio. Shakespeare makes it clear then that Shylock will not settle for anything other than other than Antonio's fair flesh', and his bond. "I'll have my bond, speak not against my bond." Shylock speaks to Antonio. "If every ducat in six thousand ducats Were in six parts and every part a ducat, I would not draw them: I would have my bond!" Shylock is stubborn and determined not to give in when Bassanio offers him six thousand ducats. Shylock is greatly affected with the first of his great losses, his daughter, Jessica, who ran off with a Christian, along with his money and jewels. This may be the turning point in the Jew's luck, the first step to his downfall. Shylock is unbelievably angry with Jessica, and even more so when the expensive search party cannot find her. ...read more.

Conclusion

This could portray him as a villain because he has turned his back on his faith in order to protect himself. It also shows that what Shylock has just said about 'An oath in heaven' and 'laying perjury on his soul' did not mean enough in the end to keep to the bond himself. Overall, I think that it is very hard to categorise Shylock as either a villain or victim, because he plays both the villain and is victimised. But I think that Shylock is more villainous than victimised, because of his unstoppable thirst for Antonio's blood, although it is true that Shylock was treated badly, racially abused and insulted all of his life. Shakespeare doesn't create an obvious distinction between Shylocks villainy, or his victimisation. It is almost impossible to distinguish Shakespeare's views only Jews, since he portrays them as evil, scheming, deceitful villains, as well as abused and suffering victims. Shakespeare seems to have written The Merchant of Venice with an unbiased view, which perhaps makes the play even more dramatic. Making Shylock both a villain and a victim draws hatred, as well as sympathy from the crowd, making them feel all extremes of their emotions. Shakespeare used this in all of his plays, which may partially explain his outstanding success as a playwright. A.D The Merchant Of Venice 1 Alex Sawyer 28/04/2007 5 Garnet ...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. The Merchant of Venice - Shylock - Victim or Villain?

    In Act I, scene ii, his asides show what he really thinks, demonstrating that he is a hypocrite, as he says the opposite to Antonio's face. The two people who know Shylock best in the world, his daughter and his servant, both show their dislike of him.

  2. Shylock: Hero or villain?

    Shylock has a daughter, and had a wife. He has one servant, and lived with them and a reasonable amount of money and jewels. When the play starts we find that his wife has recently died, and he now lives only with his daughter, Jessica, and his servant, Launcelot.

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

    Portia's argument that he, "hath refused it [the money] in open court", shows that Shylock was given many chances to be merciful, but did not relent. This would seemingly deserve any punishment that the Christians could give.

  2. The Merchant of Venice Coursework Essay - Shylock; Victim or Villain

    When Shylock enters, the two men immediately begin to taunt and bait him, "How now, Shylock, what news among the merchants?". First they try to get him to react to Jessica's flight, "I for my part knew the tailor that made the wings she flew withal,".

  1. "Shylock is a two dimensional villain who does not deserve our sympathy" To what ...

    Why revenge. The villainy you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction." Act 3, Scene 1. This statement immediately follows Shylock's argument that Jews bleed, laugh, and die in the same manner as Christians.

  2. Merchant of Venice - is Shylock an evil villain?

    He wants to go, but duty is telling him to stay. He says, "To be ruled by my conscience, I should stay with the Jew my master, who - God bless the mark - is a kind of devil." Lancelot obviously dislikes Shylock as he calls him a devil.

  1. Explore the conflicting responses, which the character of Shylock provokes in the audience. How ...

    Because of this rivalry and the hostility between the two men, either would take delight in having any hold over them. The fact that Shylock has this bind in the early stages of the play tells the audience that he is a villain because he has control over another man once the bond is sealed.

  2. Do you think Shylock is a victim or a villain?

    Shylock does lend money, but not out of love, he does it for profit. Furthermore, he uses money for revenge as an instrument of his vindictiveness. He agrees to the loan with Antonio and suggests the "merry bond" in order to catch Antonio on the hip and feed fat in his ancient grudge.

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