Shylock as Villian in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice
In Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice the antagonist of the play is
Shylock. Shylock is a wealthy Jewish moneylender. Shylock is probably the
most memorable character in the play because of Shakespeare's excellent
characterization of him. Shylock is the antagonist in the play because he
stands in the way of love, but this does not necessarily make him the
villain of the play. Shylock can be seen as both the villain of the play
and as a man who is very human.
The villain that we see in Shylock is the greedy moneylender.
Shylock charges high interest rates and when he is not repaid he insists on
revenge. In the play Shylock loans Antonio money, and out of jest he
suggests that should the loan not be repaid in time Shylock may cut off one
pound of flesh from Antonio's body. Soon after Shylock's daughter runs
away from home with Lorenzo, a Christian, and takes her father's ducats
with her. When Antonio's ships do not come in and he is not able to repay
the loan Shylock is no longer interested in getting his money back.
Shylock want revenge for the loss of his daughter through the fulfillment
of the bond. In court Shylock is defeated because of his selfishness.
Shakespeare also shows the human qualities of Shylock throughout
the play. Shakespeare brings out these human qualities by causing us to
feel sympathy for him. After the loss of his daughter Shylock ran through
the streets crying "My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter!" as children
followed him, mocking him. This causes us to feel sympathy for Shylock,
even though we may feel him to be a villain. Besides the loss of his
daughter and his ducats, after the trial Shylock also looses his property
and his religion. The loss of his property was certainly a blow to Shylock
but it can hardly compare to his loss of...
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