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the merchant of venice

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Introduction

The Merchant of Venice How does Shakespeare present the character of Shylock in Act1 scene 3, Act 2 scene 3 and 4, and Act 3 scene 1? How do you respond to the presentation of the character? In Elizabethan times there was lots of anti-Semitism when this play was written in 1589, there were no Jews legally allowed to live in Britain. Elizabethan hated Jews and had a stereotyped vision of them being greedy, bloodthirsty, vengeful and deceitful. 'Merchant of Venice' was set in 1270 in Venice. Elizabethans hated Jews for religious reasons, unlike Hitler who hated Jews for racial reasons. The audience who first watched this play would have hated shylock immediately and would expect him to behave bloodthirsty, vengeful and deceitful. In act 1 scene 3 Shakespeare presents Shylock as being manipulative. We can tell this when Shylock refers to the bond as a "merry sport" and an act of "kindness". This shows he is manipulative because he is enticing Antonio to go along with the deal by thinking its just for fun, but Shylock's real aim is to revenge Antonio by cutting out his heart. ...read more.

Middle

This isn't very nice as no-one likes to be spat on. In act 2 scene 3 Jessica talks to Lancelot about her father she says "Our house is hell," this tells us that she doesn't like living with her father. It gives us an insight into how life is living with Shylock. From saying this we get an impression of Jessica hating her father. This paragraph is very short and is about Jessica planning to leave Venice with her Christian boyfriend Lorenzo. At the end of this scene Jessica says "o Lorenzo, if thou keep promise I shall end this strife. Become a Christian and thy loving wife." This tells us that she doesn't want to be a Jew anymore and could mean that she is ashamed of her father and to be Jewish. We know that she is ashamed of Shylock because she says "to be ashamed to be my fathers child." But then goes on to say "though I am daughter to his blood I am not to his manners." ...read more.

Conclusion

These are very strong words to say as it is almost as if saying she should go to hell. We know that he reacts badly to her eloping with Lancelot because he s very bitter about it. My attitude to shylock doesn't change after his speech because he is still bloodthirsty and doesn't show any remorse for any of the things he has done including the bond between him and Antonio. Everything I thought about shylock has been confirmed because he says that he dreams about money and wealth. I think that my thoughts about shylock are very similar to people in the Elizabethan times as I think that he is bloodthirsty and is only out to get revenge on people who have done him wrong in the past or have treated him like dirt " you called me a dog" by telling us about all the things he is called we tend to believe that he is those things a bit more and my thoughts of him were confirmed as the more I read the more I felt it was true. ...read more.

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