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Essay about Shylock : a Villain in appearance, a Victim at heart

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In many plays there are two types of characters, good and evil. Then there are those few who could be on either side of the fence. The character could have both good and evil aspects, creating a complex personality. In The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare, there is an example of one of those characters. Shylock could be one of the most controversial characters ever created. Some people believe he is a victim, while others say he is a villain.
In order to trace this idea we should know why people in the Elizabethan era hates Jews. Rodrigo Lopez was a Jew of Portuguese decent, who fled to England in 1559 where he worked as a physician. His practice grew, and in time he was appointed physician to the Queen of England. But the Earl of Essex found what he believed to be evidence that Lopez had accepted a bribe from the King of Spain to poison Queen Elizabeth. It is true that Lopez had underhand dealings with Spanish spies, but it is to this day unproven if Lopez ever intended any harm towards the Queen. However, he was found guilty and in 1996 he was hung, drawn and quartered for a crime he probably was never going to commit. The Merchant of Venice was written two years later in 1596, and the treatment of Shylock is similar to that of Lopez. Shylock is shunned by the Christians and treated as an outcast. Possibly, Shakespeare wrote this play as the Lopez case was fresh in people?s minds, and he knew that a play about a detested Jew would be of great interest. (Shylock in William Shakespeare The Merchant of Venice:2 )
Shylock as a villain:
If we want to talk about Shylock in the role of being a villain. A lot of people would agree. During the play, from the beginning we might excuse other Christians especially Antonio...


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...eare derives sympathy towards Shylock. I think this what he meant to express. That there were no respect among religions in the Elizabethan age. And he tried to resolve it. Unfortunately some critics didn?t get the massage. And they call him anti-Semitic, because he portrayed Shylock as a villain, and repeats the word Jew so many times in the play. But maybe he wants to show us how things work in his time. That people used to take the appearance for everything. Therefore we shouldn?t judge everything from outside. We should look deeply into the heart.


Bibliography:
Shakespeare, William (1596) The Merchant of Venice. Available: >http://www.shakespeare.mit.edu/merchant/full.html< [Accessed 28th April 2008].

Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice (nd) available: >http//:www.123helpme.com/veiw.asp?1d= 149242< [Accessed 24th April 2008].


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