Was Shylock's Reasons for Revenge Justified?

Topics: The Merchant of Venice, Shylock, Bullying Pages: 2 (519 words) Published: August 26, 2013
Shylock, the Jew and ‘alien’, is one of the most notable characters in the Merchant of Venice. He is mostly shown as a vengeful character and depicted as a blood thirsty villain. However, he was also a victim of abuse and harsh criticism as a result of his belief and religion and had several reasons for revenge against his counterpart, Antonio, as he was mocked by him and had suffered many problems on his behalf. Although he had many reasons for revenge, were they justified? Shylock hated and did not respect Antonio as he had injured and insulted him in the past and made it very clear that he would in the future as he says "I am as like to call thee [dog] again, / to spit on thee again, to spurn thee too." Shylock says “If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villany you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.”, showing that his main purpose for revenge was the discrimination and racism the Christians had committed against him. As Antonio had publicly scorned and humiliated him, purposely fuelling his anger, Shylock had a definite reason to despise and seek revenge on Antonio. Also, in the play, it is shown by Shylock that Antonio was an enemy in business and had interfered with Shylock’s business, which had resulted in Shylock losing money and his friends turning against him, when he states “He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million; laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and what’s his reason? I am a Jew.” This also would have fuelled his anger and given a justified reason for revenge. On the other hand, although his hatred and desire for revenge for the reasons above were justified, his reason for taking someone’s life was not. Taking someone’s life over an argument and some insults was not justified and showed...
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