Shylock, if he is a victim or villain of his religious prejudice. The Merchant of Venice

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                                                                Victim? Or Villain?


In this essay I aim to show the truth about Shylock, if he is a victim or villain of his religious prejudice. As a Jew, in the play Shylock is the victim of racism, at this time, it is the 1500s so Jews were persecuted most of the time. In the play “The merchant of Venice” Antonio the Christian won the court battle against Shylock, whereas if Shylock would have won, the crowd watching the play in the 1500s would consider the play to be biased and would throw food as an act of disgrace and anger to the actors. Christians persecuted Jews in the 16-century and even now because they are different in lifestyles and beliefs. To Christians Jews are Aliens. Shylock was probably the only well known Jew in Venice so he got a lot of Anti-Semitism from not only Antonio but others as well, he was very unhappy, yet proud of his faith, so becoming a Christian would be a big defeat, not only for himself but for his faith that he has any control over. Shylock is a victim of his persecution, yet a villain for his revenge, he gets too carried away with reprisal. A Christian stereotype of a Jew is of greed, revenge and of selfishness. And at times he becomes too engulfed in greed and vengefulness and doesn’t stop till he gets what he wants. In this play he becomes too engulfed in vengeance and hatred for Antonio, so he doesn’t bother to notice that his daughter has run away with lots of his money and her mothers jewellery. Because of Shylocks retribution he deserved everything he got, to take Antonio’s flesh would be a very inhumane thing to do. And the readers or even characters would have thought just about he same.

        This is which makes it more the reason to hate him, and for Bassanio to avenge his death. When Shylock said in the court case said, “If every ducat out of that 6000 were multiplied by six, I would not take them. I would rather have my bond.” This show how greedy and bloodthirsty he is, even for money that of which he does not have because his daughter stole it. Because of the stereotypical view of a Jew, Antonio might have thought he would take it, but he may not be bothered with money, Shylock may have thought that it is as close as he’d get to killing a Christian so he became carried away. It was Shylocks evilness that got him in the position he was slowly edged into, bankrupt, and converted to a Christian. As I said this course work will explain all his feelings and if he is really a victim? Or a villain?


Victim? Or Villain?

Anti-Semitism in the 16-century was prejudice of the beliefs and religion, Jews like Shylock were persecuted and in the play ‘The merchant of Venice’ Shylock is the villain. If he had been the main good character who succeeds in the end, the crowd and others round watching would consider it biased. At that time Jews were hated for what they believed in, and for a Christian like Antonio to be defeated by a Jew was terrible Nothing much has changed since the 16-century, the Nazis intended to have a super race of super humans therefore eliminating the mistake God made when creating humans. Even now, in Palestine Jews are being victimized, Israel are trying to take land from the Palestine because of the prejudice towards the Jews. So not a great deal has altered since the play was made. The stereotype of a Jew was basic, that they are greedy, vengeful and hate all Christians. This is the reason why Jews like Shylock were ill treated, in the end it will lead people to hate all Jews, and with a play similar to this, when a Jew loses. The spectators would judge this a triumph and a win to all Christians, the spectators and Anti-semantics of the 1600s liked to see a Jew in misery, having lost everything even his beliefs. In the 21st century Jews are treated in most places well, because of civil rights and because people know more about them. The Moors in the play really resemble Barbarians. Bloodthirsty, violent, experts at making a scene and arrogant “By my love I swear the best regarded virgins of our clime.”

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The Moors and the Prince of Morocco in the play are made to look arrogant and to feel above everyone else, snobs really, who stick their nose up at anyone who they feel is a ‘lower class’ to them e.g. a beggar. This quote is from when the Prince is deciding on which casket to choose “All that glitters is not gold;/ Often have you heard that told”?

Shylock in this day and age is considered a victim of his prejudice, as he is the minority he has no one to back him up with his argument. Because ...

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