• 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 Merchant of Venice' is a Shakespearean play that is still preformed to this day. The story to the play is as follows: Antonio, a rich merchant needs money to lend to friend so he makes a bond with a wealthy Jew, shylock. Antonio has sent all his money abroad on his ships and promises to pay back shylock when his ships return, but if his ships don't come back Shylock can take a pound of his flesh. Later in the story shylock's daughter runs away with a Christian and takes all her father's money with her. Shylock is devastated but is happy to find out that Antonio's ships have sunk and can take his pound of flesh. They then go to court and have a massive case discussing whether shylock can take his pound of flesh. In the end it results that shylock cannot take his pound of flesh and he has to become a Christian and also Antonio's ships didn't sink so all the Christian's got what they wanted and live happily ever after. Our focus for this topic is shylock. When shylock first enters, his first words portray him to the audience as a greedy money loving Jew. ...read more.


In the course of the rest of the play, Shylock is most often referred to simply as 'the Jew'. But shylock also held a grudge against the Christians. He says so plainly 'I hate him for he's a Christian.' Now this would make the audience think "He's not only a Jew, but a racist Jew!" that one line fuels all their hatred for Jews but in act 1 scene 3 pg33 shylock explains why he is so angry towards the Christians. It's because they have been racist to him all his life. They've spat on him, called him names, spat on him some more this time on his beard and basically took the mick out of him all the time. "They have spat upon my Jewish gabardine", he says. Some people in a 21st century audience would feel sorry for shylock but back in 1596 some people showed no remorse. It is now revealed that Antonio who would have been viewed as the hero at least by an Shakespearian audience has a nasty side to him after all. Long before Shylock plotted against him, Antonio seemed to take a pride in spurning Shylock, treating him in public with rudeness and contempt. This type of behaviour appears to contradict with the rest of his character. ...read more.


Would she were hearsed at my foot and the ducats in her coffin!' This wish for his daughter's death surely revokes much of the sympathy that was created by the former plea for the recognition of Shylock's humanity. In the moment of this outburst, Shakespeare again portrays an image of a cruel, murderous Jew who, in this instance, is willing to kill his own daughter for the sake of a few ducats. But in the play 'The Merchant Of Venice', Shakespeare has emphasised Shylock's character as a man, rather than his identity as a Jew and a villain. Part of the play reveals how some Christians are bad men, as are some Jews. However, the genius of 'The Merchant of Venice' is that it portrays many differing attitudes, which allow us to make up our own minds as to the character of individuals rather than on race or religion. So I think that a Shakespearean audience and a 21st century audience would react to shylock in their own way. It depends on how the individual sees the play because I doubt that the whole audience in a theatre in 1596 could all hate shylock just because he was a Jew, same as in a 21st century audience. Like I said you have to judge him as an individual rather than on his race or religion. Zeshan Hayat 1 ...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. Background to the "Merchant of Venice."

    Sympathy would be greater than joy in 21st Century for Shylock but the Elizabethans would have no sympathy whatsoever. Portia continues and tells Shylock that the law states that he should now give half his possessions to the life he was going to seek.

  2. Is Shylock treated fairly?

    when you have cared and looked after them for their whole life? But wait, this isn't the case with Shylock's daughter, from what she has said, she hasn't been cared for and looked after. She is unhappy at home, therefore why should she stay when there is no lovingness.

  1. The Merchant of Venice is a racist play - Discuss

    This could have been his wife as it seems he was very close to her but she died, we know this because his most prized possession was a ring that he gave to her in Frankfurt but this was stolen by his daughter and traded for a monkey.

  2. Is 'The Merchant of Venice' a racist play?

    We can understand that Shylock had been waiting for the opportunity of getting on top of Antonio. We can see that Shylock now intended to use the bond as a way of getting revenge on Antonio, "I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him". This clearly depicts antipathy.

  1. How does Shakespeare portray character and relationships in Act 1 Scene 3 of 'The ...

    This is Shakespeare's way of portraying him as an outsider. This is a key scene because it establishes the main plot - the bond between Shylock and Antonio. This is the only thing that their relationship is based on. Shylock is also firmly established by the information we are given about his religion, profession and vengeful attitude.

  2. English - Merchant of Vencice

    This could be the act that changes the audience's thoughts of Antonio, from having sympathy for him in the first scene to now hating him for his unjust acts towards Shylock. This could show a contrast not between Shylock and Antonio but simply a contrast in the views of their relationship though the play.

  1. The Merchant of Venice.

    It is too often filled with traditional commonplace conceptions of the part, handed down from sire to son, and suited to the taste of the great vulgar and the small.-" 'Its an unweeded garden: things rank and gross do merely gender in it!"

  2. Is the Merchant of venice a racist play?

    hatred He says to Antonio "Fair Sir, you spat on me on Wednesday last; You spurned me such a day; another time You called me dog; and for these courtesies I'll lend you thus much moneys"? It could be argued that in view of Antonio's actions and comments towards Shylock, Shylock's racism is justified.

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