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

Shylock is solely responsible for the tragedy that unfolds To what extent, do you agree or disagree with this.

Extracts from this document...


Critical Essay Shylock is solely responsible for the tragedy that unfolds To what extent, do you agree or disagree with this. "In Merchant of Venice, no individual character exclusively causes the occurrence of tragedy" states Harold Bloom when presenting his perspective on the character and personality of Shylock. Merchant of Venice is a Shakespearean tragedy play, written in the Elizabethan Era, between 1596 and 1598. The statement, "Shylock is solely responsible for the tragedy in Merchant of Venice", is proven to be completely false by the actions of Bassanio, who failed to repay the debt, therefore making him responsible for the tragedy in the play. Although Shylock is not solely responsible for the tragedy, he is presented as the key antagonist due to his constant desire for revenge against Antonio, which causes the introduction of tragic and dramatic context. Shylock does not single-handedly cause the tragedy in the play, but, the conventions of society villainies the Jewish community, therefore, producing a misinterpretation of Shylock's action. ...read more.


The repetition and use of the phrase, "pound of flesh", symbolises Shylock's desperate desire for vengeances, which also supported through the use of, "If every ducat in six thousand ducats Were in six parts, and every part a ducat, I would not draw them,-I would have my bond", which clearly represents Shylock's desire for Antonio's life more than the repayment of the debt, therefore signifying him to be the key antagonist. In addition, his expectations of inhumane and unrealistic penalties for simply failing to pay the debt on time, such as the "The pound of flesh, which I demand of him, is dearly bought; 'tis mine, and I will have it", give the viewers or readers, a very accurate interpretation of the Shylock's character, which is, as the main villain in Merchant of Venice and due to this, the previously triggered chain of event intensifies and later concludes in tragedy. ...read more.


This undoubtedly shows, Shylock's respect for the law, on the other hand, Antonio and Bassano defaulted the borrowed loan, therefore, failing to follow the law. This juxtaposition shows the involvement of anti-semitism in the Merchant of Venice because of the discrimination against the Jewish community as Shylock was following the law and yet, the audience were presented with the idea of Shylock being the key antagonist. When play was performed during the time it was written, the conventions of society were a major influence on who was the key antagonist in the Merchant of Venice, because during of the religious conflict between the two religions, Christianity and Jewish, and with the setting of the play in Venice, where the Jewish community for banned several years and later treated as second class citizens. Furthermore, this is supported through the use of simile, in "Antonio spat on me just last week and treated me like dog", since, it clearly displays how the Christian, Antonio, has used to setting of Venice, where the religion in majority was Christianity, to discriminate against Shylock, the Jew. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level 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 AS and A Level The Merchant of Venice essays

  1. Who contributes more to The Merchant of Venice Shylock or Portia?

    Shylock then retreats and wishes to take the original 3000 ducats, but Portia is insistent and stops him, saying that he must take the pound of flesh or nothing. Portia then increases the penalty furthermore, "Tarry Jew, The law hath yet another hold on you.

  2. My Perception of Portias Portrayal in the Merchant of Venice

    It is the moment when we realize that she is noble and courageous (and much more intelligent than anyone else in the courtroom).

  1. The Merchant of Venice

    riddle of the caskets so powerfully enacted she is the complete opposite of Jessica which has no respect for her father's religion or nether her father. If this play is about being honest and honoring one's commitments, then Shylock was maybe the most faithful of the characters.

  2. Analysing Shylock's Dual-Role as Villain and Victim

    of how a modern audience wouldn't see a motivation in 'The Merchant of Venice', but an Elizabethan audience would, because most Christians at the time thought usuary was a mortal sin that could not be forgiven.

  1. Merchant of Venice Notes

    Yet they pride themselves that Antonio is a virtuous man because he lends money to friends, with no interest involved. Is this loan, Shylock inquires, a loan to be arranged among "friends"? On the contrary; this is not to be regarded as a loan between friends, Antonio asserts.

  2. Discuss the presentation of the Christians in 'The Merchant of Venice'

    It is also in Act 4 Scene I (the court scene) that we really see the Anti-Semitic views of Gratiano as he leads other people and Christians around him in shouting out insults such as "harsh Jew" and "inexecrable dog".

  1. An Exploration of the character Shylock in The Merchant of Venice

    In Elizabethan drama Jewish characters were often presented as being blunt and repetitive in speech and Shakespeare can be seen as using this within his play. This is perhaps best demonstrated in the next few lines of the scene when he discusses the hazards of trade: Ships are but boards, sailors but men.

  2. How has Radfords film version explored notions about value and culture in Shakespeares The ...

    In spite of Shakespeare's initial intention, in which he did not predict the oncoming horror that would befall the Jews, Michael Radford adapts the themes in Merchant of Venice to reflect his feelings toward the treatment of the 'antagonist' from the original works.

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