Evaluation of Shylock as a Tragic Hero

Topics: Jews, Judaism, Israel Pages: 4 (1165 words) Published: June 13, 2011
Shylock is a monster of cruelty, miser, greedy, suspicious ,cunning , bloodthirsty ,revengeful, mean ,a bad father and a bad master. But it is the circumstances that made him like this. Shylock is a tragic figure, trapped by prejudice and driven to revenge by the treatment he receives He is not cruel by nature. He is human in inner-self as the Christians are. He is therefore the most injured man, insulted, abused and disgraced by the Christians and even by his own daughter,

His cruelty is made by centuries of insult and outrage which the Christians inflicted upon the Jews race. Shylock became hard and savage by long and cruel oppression. He suffers immensely. Shylock’s humiliation and sufferings can only be measured by someone who has experienced the alienation of a gross minority.

From the very beginning of the play Shylock is a lonely man. His wife Leah ,whom he loves dearly ,is dead. His daughter Jessica is not much of a help, and infect adds to his loneliness. She betrays her father by robbing him of all his money after he had bestowed upon her the trust of his house. She not only takes the money but also marries Lorenzo, a Christian boy by changing her religion. This must have been particularly heart-breaking for the proud Jew.She later exchanges the turquoise ring of her mother for a monkey.

Shylock is hated by Antonio because of his anti-Semitism. Antonio in particular spits upon him and calls him a cut-throat dog. So it is but natural that such a man begins to hate those persons who hate him. His hatred of Antonio is religious, patriotic ,personal and professional. Lorenzo elopes with his daughter that makes him more revengeful .He bears insults with patience. He says “sufferance is the badge of tribe.” In his impassioned speech in Act III ,Scene I ,beginning with “To bait fish withal” he rises to the magnitude of a tragic hero, “ I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes ,hath not a Jew Hands ,organs, dimensions, senses , fed with the same food ,hurt...
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