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Essay about Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice

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Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice

An ogre is according to the Collins Dictionary “a monstrous or cruel
being” but more significantly as “something or someone who eats human
flesh.” Is this how Shylock is portrayed in the play or is he a
simple human being, a species capable of showing emotions and feelings
such as vulnerability and love.

Certainly, Shylock is presented to the audience in so powerful a way
that even though he only appears in five scenes, many consider him the
central character.

Throughout the play Shylock appears to be the butt of all the jokes
and many critics see his status in the play as the tragic hero.

In this play Shakespeare achieves the near impossible because for most
of Shylock’s scenes, one can have as many as three interpretations for
its meaning and as displayed by the title, the reader has to decide
for themselves as to how they will interpret Shakespeare’s
descriptions.

During the play we find that the odds are stacked against Shylock. My
opinion on this is that Shakespeare did not want to be seen as a
pro-Jew or siding with the “enemy” so he gave in and sided with the
majority of his prospective audience’s beliefs and views on Jews.

Personally I do believe that Shylock is in fact a mixture of both an
ogre and a human because I have to give my interpretations according
to the text as it is the subject of my piece.

During the play many lines and scenes are related to ogres or similar
creatures. Firstly I will deal with the point I made at the beginning
about the human flesh reference.

As you know the main and central storyline to the play is the bond
betwe...


... middle of paper ...


...now go on to comment on one of the rare moments in the play
where we see a partly human side to side to Shylock. This is the
speech which he makes claiming that Antonio has thwarted for one
simple reason that he was a Jew. Shylock might actually have some
justification in this statement as we have no evidence that Antonio is
any less anti-Semitic than the rest of his fellow Venetians. He then
points out that he is as much a human as any other man.

Yet many critics and commentators on the play believe that this is not
a plea for equality but to justify his imminent revenge.

In conclusion, throughout this play we discover Shylock has as many
faces and personas as a Mexican wrestler. We have quite literally
seen the good, the bad and the ugly which makes this character so
powerful and the focal point of the play.


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