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The Merchant of Venice

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Introduction

Does Shylock really deserve the verdict that he gets in the end? Analyze his character deeply to weigh his positive and negative qualities to analyze the decision of the court. Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, in 1564 and died in 1616. By 1592 he was in London working as an actor and a dramatist and between about 1590 and 1613, Shakespeare wrote at least 37 plays and collaborated on several more. Many of these plays were very successful such as Macbeth, Twelfth night both at court and in the public playhouses. In 1613, Shakespeare retired from the theatre and returned to Stratford-upon-Avon. He died and was buried there in 1616. The difference between Shakespearean comedy and a Shakespearean tragedy is that a Shakespearean tragic is a play in which one or more characters have a moral flaw that leads to his or her downfall or demise. A Shakespearean comedy play is one which has at least one humorous character, and a successful or happy ending where the main lover's get married and the villain gets his or her punishment. The play Merchant of Venice has the qualities of a Shakespearean comedy because the play incorporates of the main characters Portia and Bassanio, Gratiano and Nerrisa as well as Jessica and Lorenzo getting married by the end of the play after a few quandaries in their love lives. The play also accommodates the villain Shylock being punished for his wrong doings and the play ending happily as all the main characters get married and live happily. However, to my presumption I interpreted that the play was a romantic comedy as the play featured many romantic scenes where character's expressed their love on innumerable occasions as well as the humorous character of Gratiano. In this essay I would be talking about and analyzing the character of Shylock who is a complex, venomous and a despised character as well as a greedy creditor that was hated by everybody including the Christians of Venice. ...read more.

Middle

I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys." Shylock says that he would not have traded the ring of Leah for a whole forest of monkeys how could Jessica do that? In my opinion this was one of Shylock's precipitous features in his character to the audience, that Shylock has actually got feelings for others and that he really loved Leah. Shylock unknowingly paraphrases his reason for abundance towards Antonio that "Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections...?" Shylock here saying that does a Jew not have hands, organs, feelings just like Christians so why are we treated like this, so when Shylock does something why does it seem to the Christians that it's bad? I think that Shylock has been mistreated and the Christians did treat the Jews as in humans and show that Shylock cared about other Jews as he referred to them as "hath not a Jew". Never the less when Shylock has lost his claim to the bond in the court the Duke says "that thou shalt see the difference of our spirit...for half thy wealth, it is Antonio's; the other half come's to the general state". Here the Duke firstly says that now Shylock can see the difference between Jews and Christians however he then commands that half his wealth would go to Antonio and the other half to general state. In my understanding a neutral audience would be thinking if there is a difference between them and the Jews then why have they taken only Shylocks property away, why not Antonio's because he was the reason why it all started? So the out come here is that they haven't also shown mercy so they shouldn't expect Shylock to show as well. This clearly once again shows the separation in the society of the Elizabethan era. "Signior Antonio, many a time and oft in the Rialto you have rated me about my moneys and usances. ...read more.

Conclusion

Firstly I realized that Shylock was a person who was badly damaged by the prejudice, abundance and the separation provided by the Christians towards his people. Shylock to my conception was a character who had a heart and had affections; a person who tried his best to live with the situations however was always protested by the Christians. On many occasions in the play I agreed with what he said "Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections... if you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us do we not revenge" Here Shylock says that are we not same as you Christians? Are we not humans? So if you do something bad to us can we not do the same? I think that Shylock has made a fair point. In my opinion everyone is equal regardless of their ethnic or race or even religion. However on the other hand I think that Shylock was also a cruel man. "I would my daughter dead at my feat, and the jewels in her ear!" He spoke ill of his own daughter, which father in the world would say like that? He preferred money more than his daughter, affections and love as this in my opinion could be a possible reason why Christians despised him. Collectively I have all my sympathy with Shylock as I think that he had suffered injustice throughout the play morally and socially. My inclination is that the play has relevance to the modern audience because it shows a change in attitudes over time. It also shows how one event like the holocaust can completely change our attitudes. Women's today can see how lucky they are to live in a society which respects their opinions and lets them speak their minds. There are also lessons to be learnt such as not to make bonds that you cannot fulfill and that if you behave maliciously towards people it will catch up with you, they will treat you in the same way if the tables turn. ...read more.

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