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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


Shakespeare has created a marvellous character in Shylock. He lives in
Veniceand he is a money lender. He is a widower and he is isolated by
the people of Venicebecause of his religion. He is hated also because
he is a money lender and the Christians think that it is wrong to lend
money and charge interest. The Jews were hated in the Elizabethan
times because the Christians believe that the Jews were responsible
for the death of Jesus Christ. The Jews were spat on and treated very
badly; they were also called names and mocked. Italywas very big in
learning and trade in those times. Trade and learning was the biggest
industry in the time and it was how Venicegot its major income.

The term victim means someone who is powerless and who cannot control
what is happing to him. People are doing things to him but he is not
doing anything back, basically he is weak in the terms of power, he is
helpless. The term villain means someone who is causing pain and
suffering to one or more people, a villain also has power over the
victim and he has control over the victim. My thesis statement is that
Shylock has elements of both a villain and victim; he is a villain at
the end of the play and is a victim near the beginning of the play. He
has no power until the part when he gets the bond over Antonio, he
also has power of his daughter throughout the whole play and he treats
his daughter really badly and in my opinion that makes him a villain
in his daughter's eyes. He is becoming victimised by the people of
Venice, ironically similar to the way he is treating his daughter, he
is making her a ...


... middle of paper ...


... the "Jew" accepts it. This makes Shylock a victim
especially the fact that he had to become Christian. All in all I feel
that Shylock in this play was a victim and villain equally but if I
was living in Shakespearian time I would have probably considered
Shylock to be a villain because I would have a different point of
view. In those times it was ordinary to consider Jews to be villains
because of their religion. I think that the two main villainous parts
of Shylock's behaviour were, the idea and continuation of trying to
fulfil the bond and the treatment of his daughter. I think the two
main features of Shylock being a victim is the fact that he was made
to become Christian and all of the mocking and name calling that he
experienced just because of his religion and because he was a money
lender that charged interest.


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