Merchant of Venice

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The Merchant of Venice Essay

‘Shylock was justified in taking revenge on Antonio.’
Do you agree?

In ‘The Merchant of Venice’ by William Shakespeare, Shylock the Jew is portrayed as the antagonist of the story. Cunning, vengeful and cruel are words you may use to describe this malicious character, but does he really deserve this reputation?

Upon the mention of Shylock, the saying ‘Never judge a book by its cover’ comes to mind. Though Shylock is seen as a cruel and spiteful character, if one takes the time to seriously analyze the story, you will find that Shylock’s behavior is not without reason.

Under the circumstances that had befallen him, it is relatively normal that Shylock would wish to seek revenge towards Antonio, seeing as Antonio had not treated Shylock amiably in the past, calling him ‘cut throat dog’ and even going as far as to spitting on his Jewish robes. But Shylock did take the whole ‘revenge’ factor a little too far, and most, if not all people would agree that his desire for revenge should not be justified.

However, there are always two sides to every story, and I believe that in this case, not many people take Shylock’s side of the story into enough consideration. I believe that if one takes the time to analyze the situation thoroughly without showing favor for either sides, you will realize that Shylock has not made any unfair demands towards Antonio.

Looking further into the matter, it is seen that Shylock and Antonio were both business men, and they had signed a contract, clearly outlining the bond, also including the chilling results of a broken bond. As Antonio was a known business man, he knew exactly what would happen to him if he did not return the money by the due date, but he was so certain that his ships would be back before the given time that he did not think much about the risk and danger he was putting himself into by agreeing to the bond.

Since Antonio knew the consequences he would face from the moment...
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