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

The Merchant Of Venice

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Do you consider Shylock to be a victim or villain in the Merchant if Venice? Shylock is one of Shakespeare's most complex characters due to the dual-nature of his personality. in 'The Merchant of Venice' Shakespeare explores the tension between christians and Jews and the issues of anti-semitism. Shylock is a victim of racial abuse,such as being spat on by Christians. However, at certain stages throughout the play, the audience witness equally horrific behavior towards Antonio, especially when Shylock tries to take Antonio's life. My initial impression of Shylock is one that he constantly pities himself. Shylock also comes across as arrogant and enjoys other people's misfortune. "Three thousand ducats well.." Shakespeare uses the technic of repetition to create a sarcastic tone with Shylock. the audience could also interpret the use of repetition as Shylock being smug and enjoying the fact Antonio, a Christian, has come to Shylock, a Jew, for help. Shylock refuses to socialize with Antonio and Bassanio "I will not with you". Shylock also takes offense when Bassanio politely invites Shylock to dine with them, "Yes to smell pork". Shylock seems to twist invitation into a racist taunt. This shows that Shylock is quick to feel that he is being victimized because of his Jewish beliefs. Personally when Shylock says "I hate him for he is Christian; But more for that in low simplicity, He lends money out gratis", I feel that Shylock uses religion almost ...read more.

Middle

By Salarino saying that Shylock and Jessica have as much in common as jet and ivory he is basically saying they are total opposites and have nothing in common at all.Also Christians in Shakespeare's era referred to Jews as the devil, seeing them as evil, which the colour black represents. While Christians looked upon themselves as pure and innocent, so by Salarino comparing Jessica to ivory he is saying that she is more of a Christian than a Jew. Shylocks makes reference to all the past injuries Antonio has caused him again as a response to Salanio's question "Why, I am sure if forfeit thou wilt not take his flesh.What's that good for?" Shylock's response to the question was "To bait fish withal: if it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced and hindered me half a million." Shylock is saying that the pond of flesh is effectively worthless "To bait fish withal" and is only what Shylock believes he deserves after constant verbal and physical abuse at which he received from Antonio. Shylock also tried to justify his answer by saying "If a Jew wrong a Christian what is his humility? Revenge." This shows that Shylock is taking taking the pound of Antonio's flesh as revenge for tormenting Shylock about his beliefs. The effect of using so many rhetorical questions is to make the audience realize that Shylock and Antonio are both human. ...read more.

Conclusion

A modern audience may feel some pity towards Shylock as he is being victimized due to him being in a minority. Also the audience may see Shylock as a victim when Antonio announces that Shylock "presently become a Christian". At the end of the trial scene Shylock has lost all of his possessions and says "I am content." Each word may possibly symbolize each of Shylocks losses. 'I' is the shortest word, which could mean the loss of his daughter has had the least effect on Shylock. The loss of Shylock's wealth may be represented by 'am' and finally 'content' may possible show how much the loss of the Jewish faith has destroyed Shylock inside and all of his passion has been squashed and is a mere shadow of his former self. Personally I believe that Shylock was a victim throughout "The Merchant Of Venice" because I believe that if I was put through years of racial abuse and discrimination from Antonio I would be desperate for revenge and make him feel small and powerless. Shylock was exactly in the same state of mind and I believe Shylock only wanted to give Antonio a taste of his own medicine. The events of World War II may have influenced me to feel more sympathy for Shylock and be disgusted by the way he was treated but I still personally believe that Shylock was the victim of Antonio's torment. Kiera Coyle Mr Grundy English Coursework Kiera Coyle Mr Grundy English Coursework ...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. What is your assessment of the presentation of the character and role of Shylock ...

    Shylock also appears to have had premonitions about this event as he "did dream of money-bags to-night" which was thought to be an ill omen. Because of this 'warning' Shylock delivers strict instructions to shut all his windows and keep his "sober house".

  2. Merchant of Venice - Comparing and Contrasting Antonio and Shylock

    Bossanio, Antonio's dearest friend of all, enters the scene. He does not ask Antonio why he is sad. He comes straight in and asks to borrow money from Antonio. Antonio would do anything for Bossanio. Therefore, he says, "Try what my credit can in Venice do".

  1. How does Shakespeare create tension in the trial scene of The Merchant of Venice?

    His response to a reasonable request for a surgeon is: ''tis not in the bond' this implies that Shylock wants to get on with it and he is becoming irrational as he wants Antonio dead. His behaviour will affect the audience as they will have less sympathy because he is

  2. The audience is given the impression that Shylock is a typical Jewish Businessman. To ...

    He also appears in one scene when Jessica runs away to be more interested in the fact that his money has gone "Ducats, oh my ducats!". This is instead of the more important factor of his daughter disappearing. It is a way, which could make the Christians misunderstand him, as

  1. Merchant of Venice- Scene by Scene summary & analysis

    She tells Nerissa to take it to Shylock's house and make him sign it. At the moment Graziano catches up with the two women and gives the ring to Portia. She is surprised that Bassanio parted with it after all, and Nerissa decides to test Graziano in the same way.

  2. 'How does Shakespeare present Shylock to the audience as both a stereotype and a ...

    He knows he will never get that money back and is why he feels he has been stabbed in the back. When Shylock speaks of the bigger picture, as in how Jews and Christians aren't as different as Christians actually thought, it resembles a plea to humanity that we should

  1. Discuss Shakespeare's portrayal of the trial scene between Shylock and Antonio in the Merchant ...

    The contrasting treatment of Bassanio and Shylock by Antonio in the same scene helped the audience to see Antonio in his true colours. At the beginning of the play, Antonio is introduced to the audience as a melancholy, easy-going, gentle figure so the audience responds sympathetically towards him.

  2. "The Merchant of Venice": Shylock: Victim or Villian?

    In Act II scenes (iii) and (v), Shakespeare, carries on to build up Shylock's tedious character now, portraying him as a devilish monster. This is sadly established by illustrating Shylock's home life. Jessica, Shylock's daughter uses word like "Devil" and "Tediousness" when talking about her father and her house, she

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