Shylock is portrayed throughout the entire play as both a villain
Shylock is portrayed throughout the entire play as both a villain

Shylock is portrayed throughout the entire play as both a villain

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  • Published: October 27, 2017
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To answer the first part of the question, you will need to think about:

* Shylock’s treatment of Antonio.

* Antonio’s treatment of Shylock.

* Jessica’s treatment of her father.

* Shylock’s reaction to Jessica’s behaviour.

To answer the second part of the question, you will need to analyse Act 4 Scene 1 (the courtroom scene) and consider how Shakespeare uses drama to show Shylocks changing fortunes.

As historical context, examine the position of Jews in Shakespearean society.

First I shall talk about the question I have been set. I shall take what I think are the important words and explain them. I am doing this because it will help me understand the question well and fulfil what it asks.

Shylock: One of the main characters in the play. The person who the question is based around.

Villain: A bad character. A not nice person.

Victim: This is the person on the receiving end.

Courtroom Scene: Act 4 Scene 1. This is the scene where Shylock is after a pound of Antonio’s flesh but is out witted.

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. After that I will see how Shylock is treated in the courtroom scene, Act 4 Scene 1. Then I will do a conclusion on how Shylock has been treated. Then I will examine the play and see as a whole and see how Jew’s were treated in Shakespearean times. Then I will do another conclusion on how Jew’s as a whole were treated and I will comment on how reliable Shakespeare’s plays were for historical content.

The stimulus that this essay is based on is The Merchant of Venice. It is a play by William Shakespeare, based on Shakespeare’s normal themes: love and hate.

We start the book in Venice, Antonio, the great merchant, is sad, his two friends, Salerio and Solanio are trying to cheer him up. His best friend Bassanio turns up, Bassanio is also sad. He confesses that he has lost a great deal of money and is in love with the heiress, Portia. Antonio’s ships are all at sea so he has no money to lend Bassanio to help him get to Portia and have a chance of marrying her. Then we move into Belmont, a fictitious island off the coast of Venice, where Portia and her servant Nerissa talk about the test which Portia’s suitors have to take to have a chance of marrying her. Some men have already come and failed. Portia makes fun of them and shows that she does not like them and then at the end of the scene Nerissa reminds her that Bassanio is coming.

Then we go back to

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Venice, to a public place, where we join a conversation between Shylock, Bassanio and Antonio. Shylock is a usuary – a moneylender. Shylock is able to lend the money but is reluctant because Antonio and Bassanio have been horrible to him in the past because he is a jew. They argue about the morality of lending money. Shylock reminds Antonio and Bassanio of what they have done to him in the past but in the end he agrees to lend the money but he asks for an unusual collateral. His collateral was a pound of flesh to be given to Shylock.

We then move back to Belmont where Portia meets the Prince of Morocco who takes the test with the three caskets – however, he fails.

We go back again to Venice where Lancelot Gobbo is thinking about running away from his master, Shylock. Old Gobbo, his father, comes onto stage in search of his son. Because he is blind he does not recognise Lancelot, who plays a mean trick on him. Old Gobbo asks Bassanio to give employment to Lancelot. Bassanio says Yes. Gratiano asks a favour of Bassanio. He wants to go to Belmont with Bassanio – Bassanio agrees but he warns him that he must behave.

In the next scene we are still in Venice in a street outside Shylock’s house. Lancelot is saying goodbye to Jessica, Shylock’s daughter. Bassanio’s friends have planned some kind of entertainment to amuse the guests at dinner. Lancelot gives Lorenzo a letter from Jessica. Lorenzo explains his intentions to the audience.

Still in the street outside Shylock’s house, Shylock tells Jessica to lock the house up and then goes off to dinner with Bassanio. Lorenzo and his frends meet outside Shylock’s house. Jessica appears on a balcony embarrassed because she is dressed as a boy.

At Belmont the Prince of Morocco has come to examine the three caskets. He reads aloud what each says on it and trys to work out what the inscriptions mean. He makes his choice – the wrong one.

Salerio and Solanio discuss where Lorenzo has gone. They have heard that Shylock has lost his daughter and been robbed of some money and there is some bad news for Antonio – one of his ships has sunk.

Back at Belmont, in Portia’s house, another suitor, the Prince of Arragon, has come to make his choice of the caskets. He reads the inscriptions and decides what he deserves. Just as he has read the scroll a servant comes in and tells Portia that Bassanio is on his way.

In a street in Venice, Salerio has heard the bad news about one of Antonio’s ships. Shylock threatens Antonio and when Shylock and Tubal are left, Shylock gloats over Antonio’s danger because of the bond of the pound of flesh. Shylock’s pleasure over this matter is equal to the pain he suffers in the loss of his daughter.

Portia has fallen in love with Bassanio and wants him to wait a few days before making his choice of the caskets but Bassanio does not want to wait. He thinks aloud about the difference between appearance and reality and then

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