The Merchant of Venice
In The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare portrays Shylock as a covetous Jew. Shylock charges interest to those who borrow money from him when they are in need. Shylock is mercenary. Shylock’s love for objects overweighs his love for his own daughter. This character trait shows that in Venetian times, it was a time of greed and selfishness. In The Merchant of Venice, Antonio discriminates against Shylock because he is a Jew. Shylock shows us his human moments –this embodies that he is as much of a human as any Christian in the play. Shylock is vengeful because of his past with Antonio. Shylock’s vengeful attitude shows us that back in Venetian times, it was a time of prejudice and intolerance. William Shakespeare also portrays Shylock as a merciless Jew. This shows us that back in Venetian times, Shylock being merciless is a reflection of the values of Venice of the day.
Shylock’s thirst for revenge is evident. Shylock learns that his rebellious daughter runs away and elopes with a Christian. He is furious. Shylock’s determination to call in the bond is strengthened by Jessica’s departure. After hearing that Antonio’s ship has been wrecked, Salarino says to Shylock he is sure he wouldn’t actually insist on taking Antonio’s pound of flesh. When Salarino asks what it’s good for, Shylock replies: To bait fish withal. If it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge.
… If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge! If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why revenge! The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction (Shylock III.i.50)
Shylock’s vengeful attitude towards Antonio in a time of prejudice and intolerance helps us navigate our way through the play. Shylock’s impulsive decisions are what drives the plot and makes the events happen in the course of the play. The Merchant of Venice depends heavily upon laws and rules....
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