Shylock has been very badly treated by certain Christians and he yearns for revenge. He goes too far when he seeks the life of his main persecutor, but he is essentially, an intelligent, dignified man who can no longer bear to be humiliated. Long before Shylock plotted against him, Antonio seemed to take a pride in spurning Shylock, treating him in public with rudeness and contempt. This type of behaviour appears to contradict with the rest of his character. You would imagine that such a man would instinctively shrink from insulting anybody so grossly, but Antonio seems proud of it and tells Shylock that he will probably abuse him again, 'spit on him again and spurn him, too'. In 'The Merchant of Venice', Shakespeare does not treat Shylock as simply evil for evil's sake. He makes him human. Shylock has good reason to resent Antonio. He says: 'You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, and spit upon my Jewish gabardine, and all for use of that which is mine own,' When Shylock shows a seeming kindness to Antonio he takes it as a sign that 'The Hebrew will turn Christian: he grows kind'. Kindness in a Jew is beyond Antonio's conception. Christians alienate Shylock simply because he is a Jew. In ancient, medieval, and Renaissance times, Jews almost always encountered prejudice from non-Jews around them. Scholars are divided on whether Shakespeare, in The Merchant of
Write about the role and character of Portia in the play. Beautiful, wealthy and quick-witted, Portia embodies the virtues that are classic of Shakespeare's heroines-it is not a surprise that she emerges to be the antidote to Shylock's malice. However, in Act I Scene 2, when we first see Portia, we do not see her potential for resourcefulness and initiative, as she is portrayed as a victim, bound helplessly by the will of her dead father to marry the man who correctly chooses between a gold, silver and lead casket. This opening appearance, however, proves to be quite a revealing introduction to Portia, who appears to be that rarest of combinations-a free spirit who abides rigidly by rules. Rather than ignoring the stipulations of her father's will, she watches a stream of suitors pass her by, happy to see some particular suitors go, but sad that she has no choice in the matter. 'I may neither choose who I would, nor refuse who I dislike' (Act 1 scene 2) However, like all interesting characters, Portia does have a dark side. She goes on to give a witty account of each of these suitors to Nerissa, showing the bigoted Elizabethan attitude towards foreigners. This can be shown in Act 1 scene 2 when Portia first talks of the Prince of Morocco, describing him as having 'the complexion of a devil'. Her descriptions of her suitors show Portia to be witty and quick-thinking, but
From the study of ‘The Merchant of Venice’ is shylock presented as a villain or victim? To what extent will this view have changed from that of the original audience?
From the study of 'The Merchant of Venice' is shylock presented as a villain or victim? To what extent will this view have changed from that of the original audience? The play is set in the late 15th century and is mainly about the character of shylock a money lending Jew; he is trying to live a simplistic life as a simplistic character in Venice a country that would have despised and alienated Jewish people. Christians very much believed in their religion/faith and would have disliked any Jewish person. Therefore the original audience would have hated shylock because of his religious beliefs and his job of money lending, as Christians wouldn't have been able to this job, as it would disagree with their belief. Shakespeare captured the way Jews were portrayed in this play well and managed to display it in a certain way, which wouldn't offend, but captured both sympathy and understanding from the audience at the time. Shakespeare play would be looked at in a very different way in a modern performance as the audience wouldn't discriminate towards Jews/ shylock as Christians are taught differently to when the play was originally written and children would have learnt about different religions and cultures and could cope with a Jewish character. Shylock's first appearance in the play is in act 1 scene 3 and his first line is; " Three thousand ducats", this could be taken by
Is Shylock a villain or victim? In The Merchant of Venice, Shylock does not have the biggest role in the play but he is the character that everyone remembers. Our attitudes to Shylock change throughout the play, and he is one of Shakespeare most complicated characters. During the play Shylock is seen as both a villain and a victim, but which is the true shylock? In the middle of Act 1 we are introduced to Shylock straight away. We have clues as to his personality and his motives within his first speech: "Three thousand ducats, well". His tone sounds interested, evil. In the play Shylock is a moneylender. Another example of Shylock showing his personality is when he comments in Antonio as a "good man". It does not mean that Antonio is a good person or good to be a friend but it means Antonio is worthy of credit for a loan. He used the word good because he wants them to borrow the money so Shylock may have a chance to take revenge. As the play unfolds, Shylock is presented as the villain because he is portrayed as cold, greedy and evil. But is he? Is Shylock really the villain in the play or can he also be portrayed as the victim? In Shakespeare's times, the Sixteenth Century, Jews were rarely seen in England. In the middle Ages, Jews had fled to England to escape and their only job was to lend money because Christians were not allowed to lend out money to get interest. They
Shylock- Villain or Victim? During the play, Shakespeare illustrates Shylock's situation in such a way that the audience understands his villainous action towards Antonio is a result of victimisation. He is a victim of anti Semitism, including verbal abuse and even his own daughter insults him by robbing him and running away with a Christian and in the end he is a victim of not showing mercy and so suffers from that mistake. To find what makes up a classic Shakespearean villain one could look to Iago in "Othello". In this play he is seen as the embodiment of evil, that is to say he has no real motivation for his wicked actions and no one could give him any sympathy. On the other hand, Shylock does have a motive for his villainy therefore he is not a villain. Instead Shylock has been directed towards his position because he has been victimised. Shylock has been a victim of racial abuse, "You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, And spit upon my Jewish gabardine", "(Solanio referring to Shylock) Let me say 'amen' betimes for here he comes in likeness of a Jew", Solanio is anti Semitic, claiming Shylock is the devil. Because he is a Jew his situation in Venice is second-class. This is first seen in Bassanio's hostility towards him. At the beginning of the scene Bassanio's speech is short and prosaic indicating the lack of friendship between them, "Your answer to that", this
To what extent do you think Shylock deserves the treatment given to him in the trial scene? Shylock receives a variety of treatment during Act 4 Scene 1. He receives pity, mercy but most of all he is treated as bad as a "dog"; a "wolf", being viewed as heartless and vicious. Gratiano begins insulting Shylock before Portia enters; at the beginning of the court hearing. He says "thou be damned inexecrable dog", hoping Shylock would die for what he is doing. Gratiano tends to express the opinions of other people rather than his own, which shows how hated Shylock is. However, Shylock does receive (what turns out to be) mercy when Portia tell Shylock to "be merciful". "It is an attribute to God himself", Portia exclaims, showing she has considered how to appeal to Shylock and how she considers him as an equal, talking about their god and not excluding shylock as a non-believer etc. as others do. Although, while I think she is being fair in giving him mercy, I consider the possibility that if it was Antonio seizing a pound of Shylock's flesh, then Portia would not of tried to stop him. But I cannot be sure of this as there is no evidence supporting this apart from the Christians' general hatred towards Jews and - more specifically - Shylock. Later on, Shylock is offered to take 9000 ducats, thrice what he wanted, and leave. However, Shylock declines this offer due to it not
How does Shakespeare present the character of Shylock in the play? Is it possible to sympathise with him?
How does Shakespeare present the character of Shylock in the play? Is it possible to sympathise with him? Shylock is introduced as a wealthy, Jewish man who lends money and charges interest. He seems to know Antonio, a local merchant in Venice, as when Antonio goes to him for money he says how Antonio has previously spat on him. We do not know whether Shakespeare meant this to be literate or metaphorical but we do know that many Christians hated Shylock as in Elizabethan times usurers were looked down at as usury was against Christian practise and Shylock was a Jew. Shylock takes a key part in the bond plot, a plot that involved the lending of some Ducats to Antonio so long as if he need to forfeit he must give willingly a 1lb of his flesh. Antonio agrees as the way Shylock said it to him made it sound like it was a joke, and he was certain that his ships would be arriving soon with more than enough to pay off the debt. Further on in the play, we are introduced to Jessica, Shylock's daughter. Jessica is not very fond of her father and we see this in action when she runs away with a young Christian and is converted. She also steals a number of precious jewels and Ducats from her father. This sends Shylock into a rage and he is pleasantly surprised to find out that Antonio's ships have failed him and so Antonio must forfeit the bond. Shylock seems more irate that his
To what extent is Shylock the villain of the play? For many years, people have argued that Shylock is the villain of the Merchant of Venice. However, some would argue that he was not the villain and was only reacting to the way he was treated by people and other Christians. Before I address this question, I am going to impart my definition of a villain. A villain can be a character in a book, play, film, etc. who harms other people. Shakespeare may have predetermined Shylock to be a villain in this particular play because for many hundreds of years people did not like Jew's. Mainly because they were known throughout Europe as the moneylenders with high interest and often demanded the money back quicker than could be paid. The Christians of Elizabethan time, and the time before hand, blamed the Jew's for the crucifixion of Christ. Shylock shows himself a villain in many different ways. Firstly, in the way he treats Antonio and Bassanio, because they are Christian and he is a Jew he shows forms of dislike towards them. He dislikes them so much he will not even consider eating with them "...I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you." Some people would agree that Shylock had a reason to dislike Antonio and Bassanio because of the way the treated him, "You spet upon my Jewish gaberdine" This would give Shylock a means to vent his anger, this could show him
Is shylock a villain or victim? In literature, the victim is the most complex character. Victims often become depressed, but sometimes they overreact and lash out in rage. It takes a special character to withstand a bombardment of abuse. In my opinion, in the Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare creates a victim of mistreatment and discrimination, named Shylock but still manages to keep his human emotions. Firstly, Shylock is the victim of society's persecution on several counts. In addition, the mistreatment of others can become addictive for many abusers. Throughout the book, it seems like everyone wants to be a part of the mistreatment of Shylock. Antonio and many other merchants frequently criticize and belittle Shylock and his business, with Antonio "rails even there where merchants most do congregate on me, my bargains, and my well-won thrift". By calling Shylock "a devil Jew" and "he is a very Jew" further shows the insults from society that Shylock has to endure in many occasions. Furthermore, they insult his culture and religion, pushing him to the extent of Shylock proclaiming that "sufferance is the badge of our tribe". This general negative perception of Shylock seriously damages his business and reputation. Words are one thing, but physical abuse is much more powerful. In a heated argument, Shylock even exclaims to Antonio and Bassanio, "You that did void your rheum
Did Shylock get the result he was hoping for when he took his case to court? The terms of the contract were simple. Antonio borrowed some money from the Jewish money lender Shylock. The agreement was that if the money was not paid back in two months then Shylock was entitled to a pound of flesh off Antonio's body. Antonio did not pay him back so Shylock went to court over the matter. In the court scene a judge came called 'Dr Balthazar'. Dr Balthazar was actually Portia dressed a man so she was doing her best to change Shylock's mind. She managed to overturn the conditions and turn the tables on Shylock in three main ways. Firstly she said that the contract clearly said that he could clearly have his flesh but it did not say he could take one drop of blood. She also told him that he could not take more or less than exactly one pound of Antonio's flesh. Portia tells Shylock to go ahead and take his flesh but he may not break either of these rules. Portia says that if he does break one of then rules then all his lands and goods will be confiscated. The final charge she presses on Shylock is that as he is Jewish he is not allowed to kill a Venetian citizen. As there is practically no chance of him not successfully taking his flesh he is now the one begging for mercy. After Shylock realised that he wasn't going to get his way, he asked for the sum of money. By this time it was