Is Shylock More Sinned Against Than Sinning? Discuss...

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Is Shylock More Sinned Against Than Sinning? Discuss…

In the play ‘The Merchant Of Venice’ by William Shakespeare, the main characters, Shylock and Antonio are money lenders. Shylock lends money for a business making money from interest whereas Antonio lends money without interest, his main occupation being a tradesman. Shylock hates Antonio for not charging interest along with many other things and Antonio also hates Shylock, mainly for being a Jew.

        Shylock has a daughter, which makes her Jewish, but she is deeply in love with Lorenzo, a Christian man. Shylock is highly against this, he wishes for his daughter to marry a fellow Jew as he thinks that Christians are all bad, they are mostly against him. Jessica runs away from home with Lorenzo to get married, Shylock is very distraught at this.

        Antonio is very good friends with Bassanio. Antonio is always willing to lend any money he has to Bassanio, they are both very loyal to each other. Bassanio wishes to impress Portia so she will become his partner, he wishes to borrow money from Antonio, Antonio needs to borrow the money from Shylock. Antonio signs a bond saying he is allowed to borrow 3000 ducats to be paid back over three months, if not paid back in time Shylock is allowed to take the pound of flesh closest to Antonio’s heart. Antonio is confident he will be able to pay back the money but while some of his ships are at sea, awful weather causes all of his ships to sink.

        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. After all of this there is now a case against Shylock. Antonio now decides Shylock’s fate as if there is a plot to kill another Venetian, they have to give up half their belongings to the person he plans to kill, the other half goes to the state in which they live.

Antonio is concerned to help Jessica and Lorenzo in their marriage. Antonio decides as a punishment to Shylock, he must support his daughter and Lorenzo her husband. In being her husband this now makes Jessica a Christian, Shylock is very unhappy about this.


Throughout the play Shylock is sinned against on many occasions, normally because of the fact of Shylock being a Jew. He is sinned against  by Antonio. In Act 1 Scene III Shylock states how he hates Antonio because of the things he does. Antonio calls Shylock a ‘misbeliever’, spits on his coat and his beard and kicks and pushes him out the way, they hate each other because of their religions, yet Shylock is still willing to lend the money to Antonio.

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The next piece of evidence is said by Launcelot in Scene 2 Act II. He is Shylock’s servant and in the scene is having a battle with his conscience over whether to leave Shylock’s home. Launcelot refers to Shylock as being the ‘Devil Incarnation’, ‘certainly the Jew is the very devil incarnation’ – line 26. He says that he is being starved in the service of Shylock, ‘I am famished in his service’ Line 102-103 ‘You may tell every finger I have with my ribs’ Line 105, in saying that he was confused and meant you may tell every rib ...

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