To what extent do you think Shylock deserves the treatment given to him in the trial scene?

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Hassan Bassam 10R

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 being “paid, according to the tenour”, while the date to pay the money back has been passed and therefore Shylock was entitled to the forfeit, it still comes across to me as evil to want to kill Antonio instead of taking substantially more money. This shows that Shylock was being evil and unforgiving, leaving you to think that later on in the scene; the treat he got was deserved.

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          Furthermore, Shylock was asked to “Have by some surgeon” but Shylock denies Portia’s request as it is not “nominated in the bond”. This clearly confirms – if it wasn’t already – that Shylock’s aim is to kill Antonio, and in my opinion no one should have the right to kill an innocent man. However, I can’t help but think about Shylock’s and Antonio’s history, before the play began. From my point of view, Shylock is reacting in retaliation to Antonio, by the fact he’s so determined yet nervous, this means to me that Antonio has ...

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Unfortunately the candidate fails to mention the use of language within the play, It is necessary to discuss various linguistic techniques, such as metaphors and smilies, in order to achieve a higher grade at this level. There are also a few issues with spelling and grammar throughout the essay, I’m sure the candidate could have picked up on these if they had taken the time to carefully proof read their work. No-one expects you’re work to be perfect, but try to take the time to read though and eliminate careless mistakes.

There is very little analysis within this essay and for the most part the candidate simply uses quotations form the play to retell the story. This is something you need to avoid as much as possible. It is often important to discuss certain scenes in a play, but you need to find a way to do this without simply retelling the story. As I mentioned earlier you should discuss the characters thoughts and feelings. When selecting appropriate quotations to use, you should pick ones that you feel back up your ideas and opinions. In addition the candidate could have gained a higher grade by undergoing independent research, this shows your interest in the play and also makes the essay more enjoyable for the reader. Finally though the candidate does conclude the essay, the conclusion is weak, as well as answering the initial question, you should summarise your key points and ideas and include your personal opinions. The candidate does attempt to explain why they think Shylock didn’t deserve the treatment he received, but this could have been developed further. A strong conclusion brings the essay to a close and gives you a chance to leave the reader with a good impression.

The candidate does not begin this essay with a clear introduction, this lowers the tone of the essay before you’ve even read the first couple of paragraphs. You should use your introductory paragraph to outline the topics that you plan discuss, state any questions that you intend to answer (in this case does Shylock deserve the treatment he receives?) and summarise any relevant points. This is your chance to catch the readers attention, you should try and make it short and to the point but interesting (which can be done by mentioning additional facts from independent research). As for the candidates response they do attempt to discuss the various ways in which Shylock is treated, however you should mention how the character's are felling and what they might be thinking, even if its just a guess, your opinions matter. The candidate fails to do this, which weakens their response. However on a positive note, the candidate does clearly answer the set question in their conclusive paragraph and this is essential with this type of essay.