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Shylock a Victim or Villon

By juliaasaandy Apr 11, 2013 528 Words
Is Shylock from the Merchant of Venice a villain or victim?
My English teacher asked us this and it kept me thinking. Is Shylock a villain because of his attitude towards Christians or a victim because he lost his daughter and lost in court? 5 years ago Report Abuse

Best Answer - Chosen by Voters

Hi flow interesting question.
But I have one for you???
Which is the greater love, Shylock's love for his daughter or his love of money???
Often, The character Shylock, in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice,is portrayed as a beastly monstrosity, with a lust for Antonio's life. Through a more careful examination it can be determined that Shylock was an upstanding member of his community, who endured abuse, forgave easily, and upheld the customs and law. Shylock endured much of Antonio's abuse, overt a long period of time. This can be seen by the sheer volume of disgraces he has bore. A good example is in Act 3 Scene 1, beginning with line 52:

"He hath disgraced me half a million, laughed at my losses,
mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies..." -Shylock
Shylock had such a magnanimous spirit, that he even offered Antonio, who had abused him terribly, a loan, free of interest. Shylock was willing to loan money to one who totally ruined him in public, on terms that were nicer than his normal business terms.This kind, forgiving heart can be seen in Act 1 Scene 3 beginning with line 148: "Why, look how you storm ! I would be friends with you and

have your love, forget the names that you have stained me
with, supply your present needs and take no doit of usance
for my moneys, and you'll not hear me! This is kind I offer." -Shylock
Often, this quote from Act 3 Scene 1 line 83,
"Why, there, there, there, there! A diamond gone cost me two thousand ducats in Frankfurt! The curse never fell upon our nation till now, I never felt it till now. Two thousand ducats in that and other precious,, jewels! I would my daughter were dead at my foot and the jewels in her ear;" portraying Shylocks' treatment of his daughter, after she ran away, is manipulated to make Shylock seem beastly. But, within the Jewish culture and the time period, his response was appropriate. After his daughter ran away, she was, for all intents and purposes, disowned. Thus, the theft of his jewels reduced her to the level of a thief, and so she deserved to be punished. Shylock is also an honest, law abiding citizen of Venice, before the very end. His great respect for law and order are shown in the following quotes from Act 4 Scene

Line 104: "I stand for judgment"
Line 213: "I crave the law"
Line 257: "O Noble judge!"
Shylock the Jew, through a careful examination of The Merchant of Venice, is found to be an enduring, magnanimous, forgiving, and law abiding citizen of Venice. As opposed to his typical role as the wicked blood thirsty villain. I hope this is of some help.


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