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GCSE: The Merchant of Venice
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Discuss Shakespeare’s portrayal of Shylock in ‘The Merchant of Venice’: is he portrayed as victim or villain.
By saying this he was saying that he wanted to convert to Christianity, but the spectators saw this as a confession, that he is guilty, but in a matter of fact the spectators see it as him saying I hate the Queen as much as I hate Jesus Christ. The Jewish people were seen as a race apart. They were feared, disliked, persecuted and nomadic. Martin Luther, founder of the Protestant Church, once said: "Know, Christian, that next to the devil has no enemy more cruel, more envious and violent than a true Jew."
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Antonio is the merchant of Venice, he’s waiting for his boats to arrive home, and until then he’s not got any money.
At the end of the story Portia does not reveal her true identity and Antonio hears news that his ships have not been lost at sea and are arriving home soon. The merchant of Venice was based on another play that was written by Phillip Marlow and was called The Jew of Malta. In William Shakespeare time, Jews was hated by all Christians, and what made it worst for the hatred of the Jews, was a Jewish doctor called Rodrigo Lopez that served Queen Elizabeth 1st tried to kill the queen by poison, but failed.
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As some Christian's did this, the Jews hated them even more because who would go to a person who charges interest on money borrowing, when they could attain it for free? Also, because one of the only reasons the Jews lived in Venice was lending money, this made them hate some of the Christians even more e.g. Antonio. In the play you can quite clearly see how Shylock is treated, whether you think this is fair or not, is entirely up to you.
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Shylock is portrayed throughout the entire play as both a villain and a victim and nowhere more so than through the drama of the courtroom scene.Do you agree with this statement?
Do you agree with this statement? : This is the question that I am being asked. Everything I do must be linked with it. I am going to start with looking at the stimulus, the Merchant of Venice. Then I move on to Shylock's past. Then I will move on to looking at how Shylock is treated by different people, first how Basanio and Antonio treat him in Act1 Scene 3. Then I will look at how his own daughter, Jessica treats him and what she thinks of him, in Act 2 Scene 3 and Act 2 Scene 5.
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Act 4 Scene 1 is the dramatic climax to the play. Analyse how Shakespeare achieves dramatic effect in this scene. (Pay attention to context, characterisation, action, use of language, aspects of staging and any element of contemporary importance.)
He is considered an alien in Venice as he dresses differently, comes from a different back ground and culture. We also learn of Shylock's hatred towards Christians and Antonio, before he even says a word to Antonio he lets the audience now of his hatred towards Antonio. 'How like a fawning publican he looks! I hate him for he is a Christian.' Shylock also shows an element of belligerence in his refusal to ever forgive the Christians. We also see how devious and cunning he is in the way he tells Antonio he wants to be friends with him and saying the bond is just a 'merry sport'.
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"I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and so following, but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you." This passage tells us that Shylock was willing to offer his profit-making services to Christians but was not prepared to socialise with them. The bond plot begins with Antonio becoming one of Shylock's customers of a loan. Shylock agreed to the three thousand ducats Antonio requested, but instead of charging interest he said if he could not pay him back he would have his bond, which was one pound of flesh from any part of Antonio's body.
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Another reason that the Christians didn't like the Jews was because they needed them. Jews were traditionally stereotyped as money lenders, and although not every Jew was one, most were. It was against the law to be a money lender in Elizabethan England, and so although people didn't want to borrow money, they had to. The Jews were the people that the Christians needed, and so they disliked them. Jews hated the Christians for hating them. Shylock however then goes on to say that he also hates Antonio because he is bad for business.
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Christians hated Jews because they were almost always money lenders which was a job given to them because, by Christian rules they were not able to do it, Jews were rarely allowed to own land or take part in trade and so they had to take full advantage of lending money. In Venice at the time that the play was written it was mainly populated by Christians who lived in the centre with the Jews around the outside, they were seen as outsiders and demoralised because of their religion.
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The Duke describes Shylock as a ‘Stony adversary, and inhuman wretch.’ Did Shakespeare intend us to hate Shylock?
From the moment we meet Shylock, we see that he is very against the Christian faith. "...To eat the habitation which your prophet the Nazarite conjured the devil into..." Here, Shylock is referring to Jesus and scorning Christianity. This would have caused much upset in Shakespeare's audience. Immediately, they would not have liked Shylock, as many were Christian and very anti-Semitic. The first insight we get of Shylock's character portrays him to be very mysterious and not very approachable. He is making Bassanio wait to know whether he can borrow 3000 ducats. Shylock teases him and delays in giving him his answer.
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Women Struggling To Escape As A Theme In Cousin Kate , A Willing Mistress and 'The Merchant Of Venice'.
Nerissa points that if the german chooses the right casket and Portia refuses to marry him then Portia would be refusing to perform her father?s will. Portia replies by saying that she would place a glass of wine in the wrong casket so that the vile german chooses it and would not be able to marry Portia. So, we can see that Portia is prepared to influence the lottery her father had devised for her wooers, to get her own means.
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As the speech goes on he gets more passionate and tries to gain the sympathy of the audience and appeals to common humanity, Shylock does this by the use of rhetorical questions, such as: ?Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands?, ?If you poison us, do we not die.? However, Shylock?s sympathetic side does not last long as he quickly turns into his usual self by saying, ?And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge.? He is saying here, because Antonio has done something wrong, Shylock has a right to take the pound of flesh and not show any mercy.
- Word count: 2624