The Merchant of Venice - of Shylock
Shylock was mistreated by Christians in particularly Antonio before they entered into their bond. It is understandable that this would be, because Jews were mistreated by the Christians and that's just the way it was during those times. The Jews were segregated and forced to live in a ghetto and were abused by the Christians. It is know wonder that when Shylock was presented with an opportunity to reciprocate, he would. However, Shylock also did his fair of mistreatment especially towards Launcelot. He knew that Launcelot was socially beneath him and perhaps lashed out at him since he could not do so at the other Christians. He also mistreats Jessica confining her to their home treating her as a prisoner. However, in Shylock's defense, he was trying to protect her as best as he knew how. In addition, given the times they were in, it was probably the norm to behave the way he did towards her and being an overprotective parent especially not having a mother around.
One of the reasons why I considered Shylock to be a villain is because he was very greedy in contrast to Antonio who lent his money to others with no interest. Shylock considered him foolish for doing this. Also, when they merged in their bond together it was quite grotesque for Shylock to ask for a pound of his flesh if the loan was not returned in time. Shylock's greed got the best of him and left him nothing. When he was outsmarted by Portia during court, he was given many opportunities to forfeit the bond and take double or triple the money, but he refused. When he denied the money and realized that he could not go through with the cutting of the flesh, he decided that he will take the money instead. However, Portia as manipulative and clever as she is had other things in store for him. His greed and lack of compassion are to blame for his misfortunes.
The fact that Shylock shows no mercy towards Antonio in court shows that he is a man of bad...
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