• 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...


The Merchant of Venice The play the Merchant of Venice wasn't actually named after Shylock, it was named after Antonio. This is because of the anti-Semitism of the people in the 16th century. Shakespeare couldn't show the main Character as a victim at that time it wouldn't have been right, as the Queen was anti-Semitism and this would be seen as Shakespeare compassing a Jew and the Jewish Character. In Shakespeare's day no Jews were allowed in England at all. Shakespeare bases his character of Shylock on prejudice about Jews even though he may not have even met a Jew in his life. Jews were restricted from some occupations; they were disliked because of their religion and the way they dressed. Shylock has acted as a villain around the eighteenth century and a victim of 'Anti-Semitism' in the twenty first century. Religion was very important in Shakespeare's day; there were massive conflicts between faiths, just as there are now, so Shylock is a very relevant character. Shylock was a Jew, He was considered as an 'outsider' in Venice, he had to live in a certain area of the city called 'The Ghetto', the word Ghetto comes from the original name of the Jewish area of Venice. ...read more.


Jessica says how she doesn't like being her father's daughter even though she knows it is a "heinous sin" for a daughter to have such feelings. From then on Shylock finds out that his daughter is missing and he tells the audience how "his daughter is his own flesh and blood". Shakespeare tries to make the audience feel sorry for Shylock and look upon him as a victim because he has lost his daughter Launcelot Gobbo who Shylock employed would rather work for Bassanio than work for a Jew, this doesn't do anything for Shylocks reputation if his servant doesn't like working for him. This is also harsh on Shylock because the only reason that Launcelot Gobbo doesn't want to work for him is because he is a Jew, this shouldn't matter. "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 revenge? If we are like you in the rest we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian what is his humility? Revenge! If a Christian wrong a Jew what shall his sufferance be by Christian example? ...read more.


"Ill have my bond: speak not against my bond. I have sworn on oath that I will have my bond. Thou call'st me dog beware my fangs". Shakespeare shows Shylock as a very demanding man and he won't give up until he gets what he wants. He repeats the word "bond" lots of times; he sounds determined to get his bond. Shylock doesn't often let anyone else have their say, only he is allowed. When Shylock is talking we see him as a real person by some of the things he says especially how he acts in court about the bond. I have shown you both sides of Shylock as a victim and a villain. I think that Shakespeare's intentions were to make the audience dislike Shylock and think him to be a villain. Shakespeare does this when Shylock makes the bond with Antonio even though he isn't getting any money for this; he still wants to kill Antonio. In conclusion I see Shylock as a victim, because he has been through a lot with people hating him for his religion and his daughter leaving him to get married to a Christian. Shylock is the same as any other person even though he wanted a pound of Antonio's flesh, anyway Antonio agreed to it in the first place and if he was unsure he shouldn't have made a bond. ...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 was Shakespeare's representation of women and how does he show this in the ...

    I believe this may be due to the fact that isn't forced to act subservient and have to play the stereotype that is obvious in the play - that all women are possessions and are not valued. I don't think that this confidence was 'put on' by Portia, it just

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

    In this scene, Salerio and Jessica discuss Shylock's character. Salerio suggests: 'never did I know a creature that did bear the shape of a man so keen and greedy to confound a man. He plies the Duke at morning and at night and doth impeach the freedom of the state if they deny him justice.

  1. How helpful is it to call the 'Merchant of Venice' a comedy?

    In Act IV, like other tragic characters; he falls from a great height to a moment of total loss. Towards the start of the scene, he is in a state of total power and he constantly revels in it to the expense of other characters.

  2. Direct Act 4 Scene 1 of Shakespeare's - 'The Merchant of Venice'

    The most important turning point in the act is Portia's lines 301-308: "Tarry a little, there is something else. This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood. The words expressly are 'a pound of flesh'. Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh, But in the

  1. "The Merchant of Venice" was offered to Shakespeare's audience as a comedy. What problems ...

    O my ducats! O my daughter! Fled with a Christian! O my Christian ducats!' They continue their victimisation although they know Shylock is grieved at his daughter's disappearance. While the Elizabethan audience would have found this amusing, we see it as racist and senseless.

  2. Villain or victim? Discuss Shakespeares presentation of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice.

    Most characters who comment on Shylock in the play only present him as a villain and see him as nothing else. When Jessica speaks of Shylock, her father, she doesn't mention anything about loving him but she says she is ashamed of him, 'To be ashamed to be my father's child!'

  1. How does Shakespeare build dramatic tension?Shakespeare wrote the Merchant of Venice, it is one ...

    insulting language to address Shylock he says `From stubborn Turks and Tartars, never train'd to offices of tender courtesy'. He also refers to Shylock as `Jew' instead of using his name, as if he is not good enough to have a name.

  2. Is Shylock the villain or victim in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice?

    Three men attempt this test, two of them fail and one succeeds. Portia and Nerissa remember Bassanio, who has visited once before, as the suitor most deserving and worthy of praise. So Portia perhaps feels that the visit of the other two suitors is not worthwhile.

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