Merchant of Venice: Shylock More Sinned Against Than Sinning

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Is Shylock more sinned against than sinning?

Many different views can be taken on the Jewish merchant Shylock in the play ‘The Merchant of Venice’ written by William Shakespeare. Although when taking into account the many trials and tribulations that Shylock had to endure, it is forthcoming to say that Shylock was more sinned against than sinning. There are key and defining moments in this play when it becomes more apparent as to why Shylock is acting out against Antonio. From early on when Antonio goes to Shylock, the audience is notified of the distaste Antonio has for Shylock. On top of this, the treatment of him after he loses his daughter to the one thing he hates more than Antonio, his beliefs, coupled with the manner in which he was forced to become a Christian and join those who continually oppressed him is enough evidence to suggest he was more sinned against. Yet this journey of Shylock’s fall all began with Antonio who through his mistreatment of Shylock spurred him on to rebel against the Christians by seeking revenge on Antonio.

Hate is a strong motivation. A force that at the worst of times is as strong as any other humanly passion; love, anger and rage. Yet hate is not simply inexplicable and solitary. It is a potent and dangerous concoction of emotions that easily consumes those who use it. Hating someone can be seen as sinning against them, because irrespective of what that person does, this bottomless pit of hate continues to burn deep within. This passion is highlighted throughout the ‘Merchant of Venice.’ From early on, he audience is made aware of the hostile relationship between Antonio and his merchant enemy; Shylock. From their first encounter in the play, when Bassanio is in need of the ducats, Antonio implies many things. Shylock is seeking Antonio’s respect or mere acknowledgement as an equal. He tells Antonio of the story of the sheep and Jacob’s profit. Antonio quickly warns Bassanio, ‘the devil can cite scriptures for his...
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