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Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Essay

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Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice

One of the most interesting and thought provoking characters in the
Merchant of Venice is Shylock. Throughout his five scenes in the play
he is looked down upon, betrayed, deserted, punished and humiliated by
Christian society, his daughter and all those that will eventually
need his money. His faith and his way of making a living are the
Christians' only justification for this treatment, yet even in his
alienation he is still, as we see later, constitute to Venetian Law.
Shylock's first appearance in the Merchant of Venice is in Act 1 Scene
3, where Bassanio is talking about Antonio taking out a loan on his
behalf. Shylock seems jovial in this first scene, before the
Christians start to heap insults upon him. I believe that this scene
may contain the only true indicator of Shylock's true demeanour, i.e.
an agreeable businessman. This view is unfortunately shattered by the
arrival of Antonio and his good credit rating.
Shylock hates Antonio, not only on principle, as the Christians hate
him, but also due to Antonio's own money lending activities and this,
his cardinal sin, of charging no interest. As Shylock says, "I hate
him for he is a Christian; but more, for in low simplicity he lends
out money gratis, and brings down the rate of usance here with us in
Venice."
Even now, you can recognise Shylock's hatred, firstly upon principle
of religion, and secondly hatred on behalf of his business, which may
be the most important thing to Shylock apart from his beloved
religion. The burden of his race gives Shylock both a sense of
righteous indignation and an overwhelming sense of ...


... middle of paper ...


... he ever want to marry Portia? By the end of
the play, I had almost forgotten that the only reason was because he
wanted a steady source of income without the hassle of working. I
believe that Bassanio may have been just as devious as Shylock. He
worked out that by showing his greed to Portia during the test, would
spell the end of the relationship. Portia could even have been in it
for greed. If not for money, then maybe different collateral, lust for
Bassanio could be interpreted as greed, could it not?
If you think about it, all the characters are driven by greed when you
get down to it. As I stated earlier, Shylock's race had little or
nothing to do with the outcome of the play. If he had been a Christian
moneylender, the same would have happened. In the end, the saying is
true: money is the root of all evil.





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