The Merchant of Venice

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  • Topic: The Merchant of Venice, Shylock, William Shakespeare
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  • Published : February 17, 2011
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Shylock in "The Merchant of Venice"

Summary: In "The Merchant of Venice" by William Shakespeare, Shylock is always portrayed as the villain of the play. However, a study of his strengths and weaknesses reveals how hard it is to tell whether he is a villain or a victim.

'The Merchant of Venice' written by William Shakespeare is two stories; the flesh blond tale and the love caskets tale. An important character that portrays these two stories is Shylock, an arrogant Jewish merchant. Shylock is an old man who is wealthy by lending money and charging interest e.g. 3000 ducats with Antonio. Shylock has a deep hatred for Christians and he has many strengths and weaknesses. Shylock is sadly always portrayed as the villain of the play.

In 'The Merchant of Venice' by William Shakespeare Shylock is always made known that he is the villain. This is because people stereotype him on his religion and what he acts like. Shylock is portrayed as the villain just because he is a Jew and holds grudges. We are first introduced to Shylock in Act One, Scene Three where we learn of his usury. In this scene we hear of his hatred for Antonio. "How like a fawning publican he looks! I hate him for he is a Christian" (1, 3, 37-38). This statement shows that Shylock hates Antonio. Shylock hates him because he has different beliefs than him and he hates Christians because of past abuse. Shylock also shows signs of ferociousness in his refusal to forgive 3

the Christians. "If I can catch him once upon the hip, I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him" (1, 3, 43). Everybody despises Shylock because he is devious and very cunning. He shows this when naïve Antonio accepts the bond of taking a pound of flesh if 3000 ducats is not paid in three months. Although Shylock performs evil he should be treated like everyone else, not like an animal such as in Act Four, Scene One.

In "The Merchant of Venice' by William Shakespeare,...
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