I am going to discuss the treatment the Jews received by the Christians during Elizabethan times, I will also compare this to the treatment that Shylock received by the Christians in the play to see if there are any similarities between something that is fact and fiction.
I am also going to discuss and view different aspects of Shylock’s character, in what ways he thinks of the Christians as business partners and friends, but also as a race.Later at the end of this essay I will write my conclusion on my views if I think Shylock is a villain or a victim giving reasons for my answers. During Elizabethan times Jews were treated as scum and as vile people and also a devil worshiping religion, the Christians thought they were much superior to the Jews and considered them as the lowest of the low.I can give an example of this sort of treatment, when in 1594 three years before The Merchant of Venice was first staged injustice and discrimination was brought to the courtroom, the Queen’s private physician and doctor named Dr Roderigo Lopez was accused of trying to poison the Queen Elizabeth the doctor was waiting to be called in to the courtroom the judges referred to his statement ‘Bring in the vile Jew’ they did not call him ‘doctor’ or ‘sir’ but all the way through the trial he was called ‘vile Jew’. Later Dr Lopez was found and executed, from this true story we can see how much racial prejudice was brought upo...
n the Jewish people.
In Act 1 Scene 3 Shylock tells Bassanio ‘Antonio is a good man’. However Shylock is not really meaning what he is saying, he is referring to Antonio as a good man because Antonio has vast amounts of money, this is telling us that Shylock’s one and only main concern and desire is money, there is now way that Shylock would call Antonio a good man and actually mean it. We know why Shylock would not do this because of the way Antonio has treated him in the past, when Shylock talks to Antonio about the loan he says ‘ You call me a misbeliever, cut throat dog, and spit upon my Jewish gaberdine’.From this quote we can understand that Shylock has received racial hate from Antonio and the Christians in the past, also we can tell that Shylock has no sympathy for any of the Christians especially Antonio.
Such other reasons why Shylock despises Antonio is that Antonio is of the Christian faith, I can back up my uggestion, when Shylock is talking to Bassanio about Antonio he says ‘I hate him for he is a Christian’. To add to this Shylock also tells Bassanio ‘I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and so following.But I will not eat with you, nor drink with you, nor pray with you’. From this quote we can understand how much hatred Shylock has against the Christians, because he will do business with them, but he will not participate with them in any social way such as eating
and drinking also he will not join them in praying and worshiping.
So far from my analysis I think Shylock is being a villain more than a victim because he only desire of getting the 3,000 ducats, but he does not want to make a friendly bond with the Christians.Antonio later says he will be entitled to do what he desires to Shylock in the future, he tells Shylock ‘I am as like to call the again, to spurn the too’. So from this quote we also understand that Antonio hates Shylock too and he will continue spitting on him and calling him names. In Act 2 Launcelot wishes to stop working for Shylock he says to himself at he beginning of his though thought ‘Certainly my conscience will serve me to run from this Jew my master’ so he is thinking of not working for Shylock anymore and his conscience tells him to leave also.Later Launcelot describes Shylock, as ‘Certainly the Jew is the very devil incarnation’ there is so much hate that Launcelot shows towards Shylock that he even calls him the incarnation of the devil.
Launcelot wants to start working for Bassanio. Jessica does not want to live in Shylock’s house anymore because she feels lonely and trapped in it, she wants to leave as soon as possible. Shylock wants Jessica to stay and look after the house, he is very controlling of Jessica’s life and all of her movements he says ‘I am kid forth to supper Jessica there are my keys.But therefore should I go? People who would have been watching this play would have felt that Shylock is very controlling of his daughters life, he tells her what to do and where to go, people would think he is selfish and he is very self minded, he does things to fill his riches. In Act 2 Scene 6 Jessica appears dressed as a boy, and throws down the money she has stolen from Shylock. She is alarmed at having to appear in public.
Later Jessica goes of with Lorenzo and Salerio to leave for the party. Although Lorenzo is a Christian and Jessica is a Jew, they both show love and affection towards each other.In Act 2 Scene 6 Lorenzo describes his love for Jessica when he says ‘So are you sweet, even in the lovely garnish of a boy’. This shows that even when Jessica is dressed up as a boy she is still as sweet and beautiful even when she looks different.
Jessica’s and Lorenzo’s love is so strong that they even will not let their religious differences split them apart. This would have made Shylock go ballistic, if he would have found out she was dating and planning to marry a Christian, to Shylock this would be the ultimate and worst sin a Jewish person would make.Solanio and Salerio discuss the reaction of Shylock to Jessica’s elopement to Lorenzo by Solanio saying ‘ I never heard a passion so confused, so strange, outrageous and so variable, as the dog Jew did utter in the streets: My daughter! O my ducats! O
- Free Will
- Good And Evil
- Holy Spirit
- New Testament
- alternative religions