Shylock Victim or Villain?
The main or at least one of the main characters is a Jewish money-lender called Shylock living in Venice. The Jews in that time were segregated and abused by Christians. Between them the Jews and the Christians there has been a long, ancient grudge. Shakespeare puts the play in at the time where the ancient grudge is still strong. Shylock is a very controversial character as he in cases is a villain in some cases a victim and even in some cases both. As we are focusing the point on whether Shylock is a victim or a villain, let’s see first why Shylock is a villain. There are quite a few reasons for Shylock being a villain in my opinion supported by text from the play. Firstly, near the beginning of the play, Shylock has a chance to take against the Christians when Bassanio (a Christian) wants to borrow three thousand ducats off Shylock (a money lender). Antonio, (also a Christian), his friend is prepared to do the deal as he is the only one who will be able to pay the money back. Shylock agrees with the deal, but then slyly comes up with a bond that said if Antonio could not pay his money back in time; one pound of his flesh could be cut off. ‘Of your fair flesh, to be cut off’ is quite a horrible deal which shows some of the villainy side to Shylock. It is just the way of thinking that is quite disgusting from Shylock. Another point is that when his daughter, Jessica leaves him, he says ‘I would my daughter dead at my foot’. I think this shows that he is a bad father, saying that he wants his daughter dead where he can see it. If he was a good and caring father he would try to find her and resolve it between them. He should be upset on losing her instead of getting angry at her for leaving him. From that, it also shows us that he doesn’t love his daughter that much. As she also takes some of his money, he finishes the last quote with ‘and the jewels in her ear’. When he says this, it makes you think that Shylock cares...
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