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GCSE: The Merchant of Venice

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  1. Can You See It

    When her mother discusses the topic of Paris's interest in her, Juliet consents to go to the party and meet Paris. She adds that she will only allow her looks to During the Elizabethan era it was very clear as to what society's expectation were in the r-oles of men and women. Men were the providers and masters of the household, women on the other hand, were to be the homemakers and servants to the males. The women in this patricidal society, subsequently, had virtually no control over their own destines.

    • Word count: 2360
  2. Discuss the view that 'The Merchant of Venice' is a comedy with tragic possibilities.

    It is like a cleansing process as it teaches you not to become a murderer and so forth. It makes you into a better person. Whilst reading the merchant of Venice I felt Sympathy for Shylock and fear arose when Antonio was about to die. The play told me not to be criticising of others because of there beliefs. The Merchant of Venice consequently has the characteristics of a tragedy. A comedy is therefore is a play in which the main character, the comic hero, prospers. The 'evil' character therefore gets what is coming to him and usually dies.

    • Word count: 2880
  3. To what extent would an audience have sympathy for Shylock?

    Shakespeare uses this to try to put the point across that Shylock isn't shown any sympathy by others so why should he show any if he isn't receiving any in return. Also, he is very aware that Antonio's ship, carrying his money, may never come back so an audience would think he's plotting against him so they would be unsympathetic. In act 2, scene 2, Lancelet says, 'The Jew is the very devil incarnation' and 'I will run, fiend, my heels are at your commandment.

    • Word count: 2145
  4. Shakespear Coursework - The Merchant of Venice

    Particularly his despise for Antonio is unlike any other. He emphases the fact that he is ruining people, like himself down on business and he always has the upper hand. "He lends out money gratis, and brings down the rate of usance here with us in Venice." However it is clear to see from this quote that his real dislike for Antonio stems form a business point of view. Just as much as Shylock hates Antonio, Antonio feels the same way about Shylock.

    • Word count: 2704
  5. Shylock: Villain Or Victim

    the audience; ' I hate him for he is a Christian; But more, for that in low simplicity He lends out money gratis, and brings down The rate of usance here with us in Venice; ' Act I Scene iii. This shows that Shylocks reasons for hating Antonio are not only because he is a Christian and the way he treats Shylock and fellow Jews, but more so the fact that he lends money to people without charging interest, hence which adversely affects Shylocks livelihood.

    • Word count: 2418
  6. In The Merchant of Venice, Shylock can be seen as a gentle Jew and/or an inexecrable dog. Analyse and explore Shakespeare's presentation of his character.

    This is why Shylock's character is first introduced as archetypal money obsessed Jew. Act One, Scene Three begins midway through a conversation between Shylock and Bassanio, concerning the bond. Shylock seems to be enjoying manipulating Bassanio, putting him on the spot. "For three months - well." The deliberate repetition makes Bassanio uncomfortable. This make the character seem more villain than victim, he enjoys manipulating his enemy. As Shylocks first words were about money, the audience's first impression of him is money obsessed. Shylock's stereotypical Jewishness is shown in Act Two, Scene Five. Money is very important to Shylock, as it may be his only source of power over the Christians.

    • Word count: 2937
  7. Shylock is a tragic figure, trapped by prejudice and driven to revenge by the treatment he receives" Discuss this statement with close reference to text and the language in the play

    Shylock seems jovial at this point, when he is in conversation with Bassanio until Antonio enters the picture. The audience can instantly see a change in Shylock's language and speech as this is happening, He begins to become annoyed and his speech lengthens every time, as he attempts to answer his company fully. The audience may claim that up to this point Shylock was being what he really was underneath, i.e. an agreeable businessman. His true character then begins to come through when Antonio enters; He immediately begins to insult Antonio, this maybe due to the years of constant suffering brought to him by Antonio simply because of Shylock's cast and religion.

    • Word count: 2473
  8. The Merchant of Venice: Should Shylock be seen as a victim or a villain?

    First there is tonal contrast between two places: the world of downtown Venice - a gritty, male world dominated by business, politics and conflict- and that of Belmont, which is a dream-like, female space in which thoughts of love and marriage prevail. Then there are the frequent changes of tone in the action of the play: the atmosphere changes from love or comedy to cruelty from scene to scene, sometimes even within scenes - so much so that it's often hard to decide whether we are watching a comedy or a tragedy or something in between.

    • Word count: 2188
  9. Do you think Shylock was treated fairly by the Christians?Was his behaviour justified?

    In Act 1, Scene 3 Shakespeare clearly shows the audience how Bassanio and Antonio are abusive towards Shylock. Antonio is abusive to Shylock in front of others and refers to him as 'an evil soul' and 'the devil' when asking for the loan. Shylock reacts to this by keeping Antonio and Bassanio waiting for an answer and seems to ignore their insults. 'Three thousand ducats is a good round sum'. Shylock also says how he and other Jews have been mistreated in the past. 'For sufferance is the badge of our tribe. You call me misbeliever, cut throat dog, and spit upon my Jewish gaberdine'.

    • Word count: 2351
  10. Examine the dramatic qualities of act IV scene 1 of ' The Merchant of Venice' considering to what extent the reactions of Elizabethan and modern audiences would differ.

    The main character is a Jewish loan shark of a Usurer named Shylock. He is hated by the Christians in the play because he is a successful Jewish business man who takes the Christians money. This also reflects upon the attitudes towards Jewish business men at the time. The turning point in the play, act IV, scene 1, is where all of the previous action in the play comes to a head. This is the part in the play where the main plot and the sub-plot come together for the first time in the play.

    • Word count: 2308
  11. 'In The Merchant Of Venice, Does William Shakespeare Portray Shylock as a Victim or a Villain?'

    We learn of a mutual detestation between Shylock and Antonio. Shylock confronts Antonio saying "In the Rialto you have rated me about my moneys and my usances". Shylock is saying that in the Rialto, the trading centre of Venice, Antonio insulted him publicly about his money and interests. Shylock continues saying Antonio "spit upon my Jewish gaberdine!" This is clearly a sign of contempt and very disrespectful to the whole of the Jewish race. These two statements show Shylock being victimised purely because he is of the Jewish faith.

    • Word count: 2054
  12. Do you consider the character of shylock to be a victim or villain in the play The Merchant of Venice?

    In Venice the main form of trade and transportation is by sea. Venice has a spectacular harbour where huge trading ships could exchange gifts and goods. Trade needs capital, and only the Jews could provide it. The Jews made the loans but were hated for the interest they demanded. In the play Shylock is described as a Victim and a Villain. It is clear he is a victim because of the appalling way he had been treated and the ridicule he had been put through because of his Jewish faith.

    • Word count: 2012
  13. How should we best understand Shylock- villain or victim?

    Shylock is one of the most confusing characters in all of Shakespeare's plays. On the surface, he is a villain only concerned about money and revenge. Some critics, however, argue that Shakespeare takes this "stereotypical" Jew much further, making him a complex character whose sufferings at the hands of racists motivate his anger. While Shakespeare gives no definitive answer as to how Shylock should be viewed, he does make important points in support and in denial of this antagonist. In relationship to the Merchant of Venice and Shylock's character, is another partially similar play otherwise known as the 'Jew of Malta.' Written by Christopher Marlowe, (produced in the 1590 and published in 1633)

    • Word count: 2477
  14. The Merchant of Venice

    An example of this is: "If I can catch him once upon the hip, I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him." From this quotation Shakespeare also shows how much Shylock detests Antonio, as a result of being discriminated against. This is exactly the reason why Shylock made the bond with Antonio, knowing that he possibly might not pay him back in time, which is when he could get his vengeance. This creates a whole range of emotions for the audience to experience, depending on their views of Shylock and Antonio, who are from different religions.

    • Word count: 2058
  15. How The Character Of Shylock From "The Merchant Of Venice" Is Presented To The Audience In Scenes 1.3, 3.1 and 4.1

    In act 1 scene 3, Shylock is first introduced as "Enter the Jew". In the first few lines of the play, we find out that Shylock is happy because Antonio is to borrow three thousand ducats from Shylock for his friend Bassanio to get married. We know that Shylock is happy because he repeats that Antonio wants three thousand ducats for three months and that he is bound to the contract. This makes Shylock seem like a greedy man as he is excited at the prospect of gaining interest from the money he is about to loan Antonio.

    • Word count: 2298
  16. Was Shylock a Victim or a Villain?

    This led to Jewish communities living all over the world. Their hatred towards them can be understood, because of their differences to the Christian faith. Today, there is still quite a lot of racial hatred towards the Jews. One example is the Palestinians. They live in a country next to Israel, called Palestine and attack the Jews regularly. The Palestinians are Arabs and have strong views against the Jews. The first scene where Shylock appears is Act 1 Scene 3, where Antonio and Bassanio ask Shylock for the loan. It is clear in my opinion, that their relationship is quite bad, and has tension between them.

    • Word count: 2515
  17. Shylock- Villain or Victim?

    Essay The audience's knowledge of Jews would have been mostly from Marlowe's play; Jew of Malta. Also, they would have known about the trial and execution of Ruy Lopez, a Portuguese Jew. Lopez was convicted of trying to poison the queen. The audience would have been racially motivated by to hate Jews. Shylock would have been seen as a villain, because he was a Jew. Shylock was also a money-lender who prospered from his trade, which made the audience hate him even more. Christianity was the main religion in England at the time, and all of Shakespeare's audience would have been Christians.

    • Word count: 2197
  18. A study of anti-Semitism in 'The Merchant of Venice' it's historical and cultural perspective and possible interpretations and audience reactions from the original time of writing to present day.

    The Judge called him "That vile Jew" and he was hanged for being a Jew. This is an example of the treatment of Jews at the time. It is very important to stress that not everyone was anti-Semitic at the time. Many people of Shakespeare's time did not know what a Jew looked like and only had medieval tales of Jews drinking the blood of Christian children to base their opinions on; despite human sacrifice been against the Jewish faith.

    • Word count: 2061
  19. In your opinion, is Shylock a victim or a villain of the society he lives in?

    'I may neither choose who I would, nor refuse who I dislike, so is the will of a living daughter curbed by the will of a dead father.' This quotation comes from Portia, a rich heiress, who still has to abide by her dead father's rules. This contrasts greatly with Jessica, Shylock's daughter, who goes against his wishes and elopes with a Christian man. This applied even more so to the Jews as Judaism was passed on through the mother and so in converting to Christianity, Jessica will be denying Shylock of a Jewish heir.

    • Word count: 2503
  20. (Act1 - scene 3)

    (Act 1 - Scene 3) "How like a fawning publican he looks! I hate him for he is a Christian But more, for that is low simplicity He lends out money gratis, and brings Down the rate of usance here with us in Venice. If I can catch him upon the hip, I will feed The fat ancient grudge I bear him". Shylock portrays his hatred of Antonio because of his Christianity, this shows he is a bigot, and dislikes Antonio because he charges no interest for his loans, and makes it difficult for People to loan money with interest like Shylock, and he says that he has no business sense.

    • Word count: 2064
  21. Is Shylock More Sinned Against Than Sinning? Discuss...

    He is now unable to pay back Shylock as his ships contained many valuables. Shylock takes him to court and as the bond specifically says, Shylock is now permitted to take the pound of flesh closest to Antonio's heart, but there are loop holes. The bond says he can take the flesh, but it doesn't mention about blood being allowed to drop, if any blood drips to the floor, Shylock can be prosecuted for manslaughter. Then if he is to take any more or less than a pound of flesh, as accurate as down to the weight of a hair, he is to loose all of his belongings.

    • Word count: 2690
  22. Shylock: Hero or villain?

    A hero is someone who constantly strives, sometimes against everything else, for good, and a villain is someone who intentionally causes evil for his own selfish purposes and doesn't care for anyone else. If the title was 'Shylock: Good or bad?' then I would say that throughout the play that he is probably more bad than good, however, I don't believe that this proves him to be a villain. To really get a clear idea of this I looked through the different points of the play and found evidence both for and against Shylock.

    • Word count: 2390
  23. Shylock: Victim or Villain

    Antonio responds in a scornful and condescending behaviour to Shylock. The audience see Antonio in a different light as any decent person would apologise for the manner of pitting upon a person. This drives Shylock to introduce the bond - testifying a pound of Antonio's flesh. Antonio naively signs it because he is secure about his ships. Shylock has the upper hand because he now has a chance to contract his revenge. From this introduction of Shylock, the audience would probably perceive him of having a negative character in contrast to Antonio as Shylock is seen to act in a strongly revengeful manner constructing him to be villain but the

    • Word count: 2844
  24. The Merchant of Venice. Consider the complexities of Shylock's character with detailed reference to and evaluations of different interpretations.

    "You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog and spit upon my Jewish gabardine" Shakespeare has included Shylock's hard past to create a more sympathetic slant and more of a victim's status. Shylock is telling us what Antonio has said about him, we also see an evil trait as he says he hates Antonio "I hate him for he is a Christian" Shylocks tone is angry and bitter as he remembers that Antonio has cursed him "ho, no, no, no, no: my meaning in saying he is a good man is to have you understand me that he is sufficient."

    • Word count: 2186
  25. In 'The Merchant of Venice' in Act 1 Scene 3, Shylock is described as being 'the devil' by Antonio. To what extent do you agree that he is the villain in the play?

    Another reason for resentment towards Jews was that in 1593, Queen Elizabeth's Jewish doctor, Roderigo Lopez, was accused of trying to poison her. The trial was widely publicised and is thought to have inspired a popular revival of a play called 'The Jew of Malta' by Christopher Marlowe. Marlowe's Jew, Barabas, inspires no sympathy; he is most definitely a villain. In 'The Merchant of Venice' Shakespeare seeks to challenge the prejudice of the Elizabethans who believed that Christians were always right and Jews were always wrong.

    • Word count: 2597

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