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Shylock as a Victim of Villain Essay

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Shylock as a Victim of Villain
Throughout the play ‘The Merchant of Venice’ there are constant
references to various characters and the way they relate to one
another, however there is no character so diverse and so complex as
Shylock’s character. Shakespeare tries to portray Shylock in a number
of ways however I believe his main focus in the play, is on his
villainous side. This may be portraying the time of Shakespeare where
ethnic minorities like Jews were hated and condemned for their
religion. Jews like Shylock weren’t awarded equal rights during
Shakespeare’s times and there was definitely a lot of prejudice
against them. They were forced to earn a living in ways not practised
by Christians like lending money. However this was against Christian
religion and therefore Jews were seen as villains for taking part in
this type of business, as they were seen to be exploiting their
religion to earn money from the Christians. So this is most likely why
Shylock is portrayed as such a villainous character; or is he?

There are definitely a lot of instances in this play where Shakespeare
portrays Shylock as a villain however there are also instances where
he is presented as a victim and I believe that in Act 1 scene 3
Shylock is being portrayed as a victim. In this scene Shylock is
explaining how Antonio has been abusing him, “ Many a time and oft in
the Rialto you have rated me about my moneys and my usances.” In this
case Shylock is saying that Antonio is always abusing him about his
money and his interests, so in this instance Shylock is most
definitely being portrayed as a victim. As well as Shylock being
abused...


... middle of paper ...


...to plead with the Duke, “ Give me
my principal, and let me go.” Shylock is on his last legs mercifully
bleeding to just get his money and leave. So in this trial Shakespeare
portrays the fall of Shylock, from a strong, ruthless and charismatic
man to a man who is willing to grovel and who has nothing left in his
life.

Overall in “The Merchant of Venice” Shakespeare portrays various sides
to Shylock’s character. He portrays his ruthless and cruel side which
overall makes us see him as a villain. He also shows us his sensitive
side, a caring father who really does love his daughter, which
ultimately makes us see him as a victim. However overall I believe
that Shakespeare portrays Shylock predominately as a villain and he
probably does this do convey the true feelings of people to ethnic
minorities during the time.


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