Merchant of Venice

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In this assessment I will analyse Shakespeare’s use of language, structure and dramatic techniques to present the relationship between Shylock and the Christians at different points of the play. I will first look at Act 1 Scene 3, where we learn that Shylock has suffered mercilessly at the hands of the Christians and now harbors an almost sadistic hatred towards them. This can be evidence by Shylock’s statement to Antonio. “You………gabardine,”. This statement allows the audience to gain an understanding of Shylock’s feelings and hatred towards Antonio. However, what is fascinating about this quote is Shakespeare’s use of the words “you” and “dog”. This is because, although Shylock and Antonio have never met before, Shylock’s use of the word “you” suggests otherwise. The reason behind Shakespeare’s use of personal and direct language is to allow the audience to imagine Antonio as the embodiment of Christianity. Thus, letting the Elizabethan audience know that Shylock’s feelings of hatred is actually aimed towards the Christians and hence the Elizabethan audience themselves, therefore causing further resent and prejudice towards Shylock’s character. While the use of the word “dog”, which is repeated throughout the play, not only symbolises that the Christians see Shylock as beneath them and will never be their equal. But also reinforces, through the use of repetition, that Shylock is seen as an infestation to the Elizabethan society, which in turn adds to Shylock’s humiliation and determination for revenge. However, due to his social ranking Shylock must consciously recognise his position of inferiority and must also treat the Christians with a, one sided, respect, despite his affluent position. Shakespeare manages to show this involuntary respect from Shylock to Antonio by structuring the dialog between these two main characters in poetry. Furthermore the level of hatred that Shylocks possesses towards the Christians can be evidence from Shylocks aside speech to...
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