Shakespeare Essay – Shylock: Villain or Victim
Shakespeare Essay – Shylock: Villain or Victim

Shakespeare Essay – Shylock: Villain or Victim

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  • Pages: 4 (1997 words)
  • Published: October 27, 2017
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William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon around 23rd April 1564 and died in Stratford fifty two years later. He married once to a woman named Anne Hatheway with whom he had three children; the eldest, Susanna and twins, Hamnet and Judith. The Globe theatre was where all of Shakespeares productions were staged, it was built in 1599. “The Merchant of Venice” was one of many successful Shakespeare plays, it was written between 1594 – 1598. The title page of “The Merchant of Venice” describes, very vaguely, the story line, The most excellent Historie of the Merchant of Venice.

With the extreame crueltie of Shylocke the Iewe towards the sayd Merchant, in cutting a Iust pound of his flesh: and the obtayning of Portia by the choyce of three chests. As it hath been divers times acted by the Lord Chamberlaine his Seruants. Written by William Shakespeare. ” This describes the basic story line to all the audience members.

As basically all of the audience would be Christian, it would please them to hear that the Jew in the play is portrayed as being evil.If Shylock were indeed the hero of the play, this would have caused a lot of disruption with the Christian audience. The play is set in Venice because Venice is known as a wealthy and splendid city it is obviously know to be a mans world, with money lenders (eg Shylock) and Merchants (eg Antonio). I believe that Belmont was chosen for the place where Portia lives because of the definite contrast between it and Venice. Belmon

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t is a very effeminate place where there is no money-lending etc.Throughout the play there are various relationships between friends (such as Antonio and Bassanio), there are numerous love affairs (Jessica and Lorenzo and Portia and Bassanio) and finally one other relationship is that between Shylock and Jessica which is a father/daughter relationship.

Religion takes a huge role in this particular play, as the whole play is the discrimination of and against a Jew. Control and power are also very key topics in the play, this is shown in Act four Scene one. This particular scene also shows Portia on her way to becoming the heroine of the play. The central debate of this essay is, Shylock: Villain or Victim?The first Scene that Shylock is in is Act 1 Scene 3, which opens with him saying “Ho, no, no, no” – this immediately shows repetition which is a sign of villainy, then he moves on to talking about money, “three thousand ducats, well” this indicates to the audience what is important in Shylocks life, money. When Shylock says “sacred nation” it shows that he does have a heart and that his religion also takes a very important role in his life.

He continues making the audience believe that he is a victim by showing and telling them that he is being constantly insulted and mocked, “Many a time and oftIn the realto you have rated me. ” He is obviously showing here that he is hurt by what the Christians say and do to him. Shylock shows signs of hypocrisy when sayin

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“I hate him, for he is a Christian” because he has been saying how he, as a jew, does not like being discriminated against and he just announces his hatred by saying that he hates Christians. Shylock is a money lender, we find this out when Antonio says “He lends out money, gratis” this is looked upon as being bad because he asks/demands interest or occasionally more in various bonds such as the one he seals with Antonio in this scene.Before this bond is said Shylock says that this is a “merry sport” which shows him as a very manipulative character. The following bond proves this.

This particular bond is commonly known as the “flesh bond” and is this, “If you repay me not on such a day, In such a place, such sum or sums as are Expressed in the conditions, let the forfeit Be nominated for an equal pound Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken In what part of the body pleaseth me.This shows a lot of villainy on Shylocks behalf, it is telling Antonio that if he does not pay back the money, Shylock will kill him. I believe that Shylock does this in the hope that Antonio will not pay him back so that he can get his revenge for being discriminated against. I personally believe that, although he says it, Shylock would not want to become friends with Antonio and the rest of the Christians.

As much as he would like the discrimination to stop, he has too much hatred in his blood to want to forget about all that has happened between Christians and Jews.Therefore Shylock is showing more villainy when he says “I would be friends with you” because he is lying. At the end of Act 1 Scene 3 I think that Shylock is portrayed and thought of as a very evil and cruel, villainous character, the audience at this point would definitely be on Antonio and the Christians side. The second important scene that Shylock is in is Act 3 Scene 1. This scene involves his daughter – Jessica, although she is not present. The main dialogue is between, Shylock, Solanio, Salerio and Tubal.

It deals with many of the main topics of the play such as Jessica and Lorenzos elopement and the “flesh bond”. Shylocks relationship with his daughter is not a healthy one, this is shown in Act 2 Scene 3 where Shylock announces that Our house is hell” – there are obviously a lot of family difficulties arising (possibly Jessicas elopement. ) Jessica tells him that she is ashamed of being his daughter in Act 2 Scene 3 which shows Shylock more as a victim. I believe that Shylock has a lot of love for his daughter although he does not like to show it.

This is questioned, though, in Act 2 Scene 8 where he is debating to himself what is more important to him money or Jessica, “O my daughter, O my ducats, O my daughter, O my ducats” this shows that his money is equally as important to him as his daughter is

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