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Shylock: Villain or victim?

By agustin1234 Sep 27, 2014 908 Words
Good morning ladies and gentlemen,
Our names are Agustin Gonzalez Chaves and Sol Sundblad and we are here to pose the question that has made us wonder many times while reading the Merchant Of Venice. Is Shylock really a victim or a villain? At first, we weren’t quite sure about the answer as throughout the play Shylock is portrayed as being both victim and villain. However, after reading and analyzing the book and getting enough evidence to prove our point, we finally made up our minds and decided which was the most suitable adjective for Shylock.

On the one hand, Shylock might be considered as a villain as he is a miserly moneylender who delights in the prospect of cutting a pound of flesh from the noble merchant who has exposed his corrupt ways. To begin with, during the play while he speaks he hints the fact that he wants to seek revenge against one of his major enemies, Antonio, in the worst way possible. Revenge seems to approach, while he was sealing the bond with Antonio. In this one Shylock agrees to lend him 3,000 ducats, but if Antonio doesn’t pay in time, Shylock will be able to take a pound of flesh from him. The only thing Shylock cares about is hurting the man that has hurt him along his whole life. He wants to hurt Antonio so as he felt as if he were dead. This is revealed in Act One, Scene Three when Shylock expresses:” Give his direction for this merry bond” This words clearly show that Shylock is confident and grateful with the bond his about to sign as he knows that the merchant won’t be able to pay the money in time, and this is what makes him feel even more delightful. Besides, Shylock can also be considered as a bloodthirsty fiend armed with scales and a knife, who cares more for his money that for his runaway daughter. This is showed in Act Two Scene Eight, when Shylock shouts out loud: My daughter! Oh my ducats! Oh my daughter! Fleed with a Christian! O my Christian ducats! Justice! The law! My ducats and my daughter! A sealed bag, two sealed bags of ducats, of double ducats, stolen from me by my daughter”. Even though we might get confused with these words as they show that he is also worried about his daughter, however we have to know that he is concerned about her because she has his money, not because he really cares about her. Therefore, it can be said that throughout these actions Shylock can be portrayed as a villain.

On the other hand, Shylock might be considered as a victim as he is badly mistreated throughout the play. He suffers racism from the Christian community only for being a Jew, for having another culture; just for being different and this is shown many times thought out the play. Firstly, this is revealed when Solanio in Act Two Scene Eight says:” As the dog Jew did utter in the streets” He is laughing at the fact that Shylock has lost everything, and when he refers to as “dog” and “Jew” rather than Shylock in order to show how much he hates him. Moreover, this is also shown when Antonio at the Rialto spit upon his Jewish gabardine, when Shylock has done anything to him, only due to the fact that he is a Jew. What`s more all of the characters refuse to trade with him and only talk to him when they need a favour. Similarly, Shylock is confined in the Ghetto, this one is a place specially built for the Jews. This clearly shows how harsh where Christians on Jews, that they even didn’t let them live in the same place they lived. Furthermore, this is truly conveyed in the trial scene in Act Four Scene one when Gratiano expressed upright judge! Mark, Jew. O learned judge. In this way Gratiano is laughing at the fact that Shylock has lost the trial. Therefore, it can be said that thought these different things said by the rest of the characters of the play, Shylock might be considered as a victim.

All in all, we can say after having enough evidence that Shylock is the victim of the play. He only tries to defend himself from the mistreat that he receives from Christian community. We believe that if he wasn’t discriminated at first, he wouldn’t treat Antonio so severe and harsh. Antonio started criticizing him and discriminating him and now he only tries to defend himself and to put on a limit to the Christians, so that this racism finally, end up. The evidence we have just shown clearly proofs that Shylock only asks what he deserves, even though it might not be the best way to defend himself, seeking for revenge in a way that it will hurt someone’s body, he is all right to do this as he was deeply hurt.

Word count:782 words

CONSULTEJOS. (CONSULTAS Y CONSEJOS) JAJAJAJ
…. Aca tambien explica no solamente el odio que le tiene tambien pone tipo lo que lo menosprecia diciendole perro, y tambien como usa la palabra JEW como mala palabra. (te tiro esta idea, me parece que esta Buena pero no se explicarla) …. Aca no van comillas?

… wasn`t o weren`t. a mi me suena wasn`t pero la computadora me lo subraya. (vos habias puesto weren`t)

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