• 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 - Shylock Villain or Victim?

Extracts from this document...


The Merchant of Venice Shylock Villain or Victim? In the Duke's opinion (Act IV Sc. 1) Shylock is"...an inhuman wretch." Do you agree? Do you fell that Shylock Receives "justice" at the end of the play? The Merchant of Venice was written in 1598 and set in the late 16th century by William Shakespeare, and at the time it was written it was classed as a comedy this is because Shakespeare wrote for the common people, and they would have the same prejudices and attitudes of the day. The story is based on the ancient Christian Jewish hatred. The Jews were looked down upon by the Christians, they saw them as scum but we don't really know why, perhaps it might be because the Jews were better business men than the Christians because as we see Shylock is a money lender (a merchant) a very wealthy man and is a successful business man but then we have Antonio who is a Christian merchant so people from the Christian religion would rather go to him than a Jewish merchant, because of the lies that Antonio had been spreading about Shylock saying that he is a liar he cannot be trusted. ...read more.


But he could have meant it as a joke at first and then turned serious about it when Jessica pushes him over the edge. We see a side that not many people have seen of Shylock a softer side from the cold-hearted businessman to a loving trusting father of his only child Jessica, Shylock treats Jessica like no other person that he knows he trusts her he loves her he is very protective of her and when Jessica leaves Shylock, he is heartbroken many believe he was only interested in his money that she took with her and his wife's ring, which meant the world to him which is true but he was more concerned about loosing his only child and last relative and especially loosing her to a Christian which is the straw that breaks his back. He now looks for a way to get revenge on the Christians; he remembers his bond with Antonio. So he tries to seize the opportunity to have one over on the Christians and he should be able to do it because he has the law on his side because both men signed the bond so legally Shylock can take a pound of Antonio's flesh. ...read more.


I think Shylock may have had a little evilness in himself but by the treatment of the Christians the darker side of Shylock had been amplified to an extent that made him what he is. By the amount of abuse Shylock had taken I think that he tried to lock it away but when he finds out that Jessica had left him he is pushed over the edge and all the locked up hatred just explodes out of him. But in the end his own greed and hatred made him the thing he hates the most. So the way I see this, is that Shylock was served an alternative deal of justice in the six thousand ducats he was offered but refused them so I say justice was served but refused. Shylock can be a villain or the victim it is just the viewpoint you see it from whether it be from the Christian view or the Jewish view if Shylock had been in a Jewish court he would have been the victim instead in the Christian court he was looked at as a villain this shows how racist people can be. Jonathan Foxhall 11sw ...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?

    If his daughter and his servant who know him so well think badly of him, should we not do the same? There is a theme in The Merchant of Venice of identifying Shylock as a devil, which would have had a greater impact in Elizabethan times than now.

  2. to what extent can the Merchant of Venice be seen as a fairytale

    Inside the casket, Bassanio finds a portrait of Portia and the inscription 'you that choose not by the view, chance as fair and choose as true'. Through this riddle Shakespeare shows that the only man deserving of Portia's love must be willing to die for her and not judge a book by its cover.

  1. Discuss the view that 'The Merchant of Venice' is a comedy with tragic possibilities.

    Also Launcelot has left Shylock to be the servant of Bassanio instead and Shylock is left with no one as his wife is deceased. You could call the Christians the evil ones as they are prejudice against Shylock and steal all things of value from him.

  2. English - Merchant of Vencice

    It is possible that Shakespeare added this bit of information to make the audience more against Shylock, but also to make them think that Antonio is the 'good guy.' However if this play was to be directed now it would almost definitely show Antonio's act as being evil.

  1. Wo gets justice in the Merchant of Venice?

    Bassanio heads of to Portia and Jessica, shylocks daughter runs of with Antonio's friend, Lorenzo along with most of shylocks riches. Meanwhile Bassanio is met with a challenge set by Portia's dead father, two other suitors have failed the test, much to Portia's relief, Bassanio selects the correct casket and wins Portia's hand in marriage.

  2. The Merchant of VeniceShylock: Victim or Villain

    Bassanio and Shylock are discussing the loan, Shylock suggests a pound of Antonio's flesh should be the price to pay if they could not pay Shylock back in time. Shylock suggests a pound of flesh and not interest on the loan which he probably would have done if he wasn't doing business with Antonio.

  1. In your opinion does Shakespeare portrayShylock as a victim or a villain

    Clearly Jessica obviously isn't happy living with her father and therefore this gives us a clear indication that Shylock is the villain, since most children are happy living with their parents. As well as Shakespeare showing us how Jessica feels about living with her father he also draws attention to her feelings towards his strong and ruthless character.

  2. The merchant of Venice - Is Shylock a villain or a victim?

    The relationship stays strong and firm throughout the play. Act I scene 3 marks the introduction of Shylock that of a typical harsh Jew for the audience. It starts off with Bassanio and Shylock discussing about the sum of money to borrow.

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