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

To what extent would an audience have sympathy for Shylock?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To what extent would an audience have sympathy for Shylock? 'The Merchant Of Venice' is a Shakespeare play about a Jewish money-lender called Shylock who gives a Christian called Antonio a bond, but only intends to murder him. The play is also focused on the issue of racism in Venice. A modern audience may be more accepting of other cultures because more have become known and we are more aware with education about them taught more in schools. However, a Shakespearean audience would be less accepting because they weren't really taught about them so they didn't recognise them. I am going to look at the play in detail and analyse whether an audience would have sympathy for Shylock or not and why, Then, I will come to a conclusion about the question and be able to give different opinions on why, or why not, people would feel sympathetic towards Shylock. In act 1, scene 3, Shylock and Bassanio are discussing the bond that he wants to take for Antonio. Shylock says, 'You spurned me such a day another time you called me dog'. This suggests that Shylock has been subjected to some sort of racism in Venice and the audience would have sympathy for him in this way. ...read more.

Middle

He is talking about the news that one of Antonio's ships has sunk. This phrase would make an audience feel unsympathetic towards Shylock because he wants to hurt, and possibly kill, Antonio. At the start of the play, he told Antonio that he would take a pound of flesh as a joke, but in this scene, he is very serious and seems very murderous. Also, in this scene, Tubal says, 'One of them showed me a ring that he had of your daughter for a monkey'. Here, he is describing Lorenzo, who has run away with Jessica and sold the ring she had for a monkey. The audience would feel sympathetic for Shylock here because the man who has run away with Jessica has sold her ring for a monkey. This gives the audience the impression that maybe Lorenzo has only run away with Jessica out of spite towards Shylock or to gain money from her. Shakespeare possibly uses these quotes to express Shylocks sudden hatred for his own daughter and why an audience would feel sympathetic for him because his own daughter has betrayed him. In act 3, scene 2, towards the end, Bassanio reads a letter from Antonio. He reads, 'my creditors grow cruel' and 'but see you at my death'. ...read more.

Conclusion

A Shakespearean audience would've felt that Shylock was going to win the court battle. He used the outcome to give a surprising element on the audience and make them want to read more about what will happen to him next. Also, to make the audience happy that the villain (Shylock), didn't win and got his comeuppance. In my essay, I have summarised the key points regarding why or why not an audience would feel sympathetic towards Shylock. Many different people would have different opinions on whether they would agree or disagree with Shylocks views. In my opinion, I think that what Shylock was doing was wrong but his reasons for wanting to get revenge were, to a certain degree, justified. He was merely giving Antonio a taste of what it felt to be the subject of hatred and misery. However, the way that he channelled all this hatred for the Christians onto one man was wrong and he shouldn't have done it. There were other ways he could've sought justice, but not in the way he planned to. In conclusion, I feel that I have concluded the main areas of the play that were crucial to this essay and drawn up a good conclusion about whether and audience may or may not feel sympathetic for Shylock and why they would feel like this. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...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 audience is given the impression that Shylock is a typical Jewish Businessman. To ...

    Jews of the time were not really favoured upon, and were seen by many as greedy and selfish. Only over the past 100 years has their reputations changed for the better. Shylock was viewed in the plays as a true villain.

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

    Maybe if Shylock listened more to his obviously unhappy daughter she wouldn't have decided to run off with Lorenzo. As we already know, Lorenzo is a friend of Bassanios, therefore could he have had any input regarding the treatment the Christians gave Shylock.

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

    The romantic language used by Lorenzo and Jessica while speaking gently to each other, remembering famous lovers contrast with the language for revenge used by Shylock and the racist language used by Gratiano towards Shylock. 'The moon shines bright, in such a night as this, When the sweet wind did

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

    audience may be aware that it is hard to break any racial stereotypical opinions people may have of you, and that these stereotypes are often unfounded and inappropriate. This is highlighted by the way Portia discusses the foreign suitors as racial stereotypes.

  1. Should I Feel Sympathy For Shylock Carstens denied doggiejoy's structuration idea.

    From his opening lines in the play we learn the financial role of Shylock, This coursework from www.coursework.info "Three thousand ducats; well!"cofa far sefafaw orfa fak infa fofa fa. Another thing we learn about Shylock are his views on the importance of money,codc dcr sedcdcw ordc dck indc fodc dc:

  2. "Shylock is a two dimensional villain who does not deserve our sympathy" To what ...

    thought had betrayed her father's last connection to his past life and her own mother in exchange for a monkey. The lost ring allows us to see Shylock in an uncharacteristically vulnerable position and to view him as a human being capable of feeling something more than anger.

  1. What Does Shakespeare Want His Audience To Think About the Character of Shylock?

    In the 18th century he was considered an 'out-and-out villain', whereas in the 19th century people began to concentrate on the wrongs suffered by Shylock, and it even became fashionable to finish the play at the end of the trial scene.

  2. Why we feel sympathy for Shylock

    Throughout ?The Merchant of Venice? Shylock is treated as sub-human. In the end he does not get his bond, his daughter has run away from him to marry a Christian, his servant had left to work for a Christian and he is forced to convert to a Christian.

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