Shylock


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Shylock

Shylock is the topic of this piece of coursework. He was a character
in the merchant of Venice which was written by Shakespeare. The play
was first printed in 1600 and was first seen as a copy of the play
“Jew of Malta”. One of the reasons Shakespeare chose Venice as the
setting for his play was that Venice had many cultures and religions
in it. Also Venice was very wealthy at the time.

Shylock is in 5 scenes in the play. The part he plays is very
important to the whole play.

The first scene he appears in is act 1 scene 3. He is a money lender.
He is approached by Bassanio to lend his friend, Antonio, three
thousand ducats (the currency) for the span of three months. After a
while of thought Shylock decides that he would like to speak to
Antonio. Shylock hates Antonio for he is a Christian and Antonio makes
fun of Shylock often. Finally at the end of this scene Shylock says
that the terms are that if the loan is not repaid he will take a pound
of flesh from Antonio.

This seems as Shylock is bloodthirsty. But he wants to keep a good
record during the play. This scene sets the play up as you would want
to know what is going to happen to Antonio.

The Second scene Shylock is in is act 2 scene 5. In this scene
Shylock’s servant, Launcelot, that Bassanio would not be as good a
master as he would. Launcelot is thinking of becoming Bassanio’s
servant. Also Shylock tells his daughter, Jessica, not watch the
Christians having fun on the streets. Shylock has to leave and meet
Bassanio. Whilst Shylock meets Bassanio, Jessica has planned to run
away with Lorenzo. Jessica steals all of Shylocks money and jewels in
the house and runs away.

This scene made me feel a bit sympathetic for Shylock because his own
daughter has just stolen all of his money and he hasn’t done anything
wrong.

The third scene Shylock plays a part in is act 3 scene 1.

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Shylock is
delighted in the fact that there is a rumour spreading that Antonio’s
ships have been wrecked. These ships contained all of Antonio’s
wealth. Shylock is happy now because he can kill Antonio, as he hates
him.

I think Shylock isn’t a bad man or a lawbreaker; he just wants revenge
as Antonio calls him and makes fun out of him. Shylock tries to
explain to Antonio that he is still human and deserves to be treated
like a human.

The penultimate scene Shylock is involved in is act 3 scene 3. Shylock
has the duty of taking Antonio off to prison; this is so that the duke
can decide on Antonio’s fate. Solanio condemns Shylock as the worst of
all men that he will carry out his actions. This scene is very short
but it explains that Antonio thinks he will die very soon. I think
that Shylock is carrying out his actions so his reputation is intact.
He also hates Antonio.

The final scene, act 4 scene 1, is the longest that Shylock is in. It
is the courtroom scene where Antonio is judged on his fate. Shylock
would not accept six times more than the original loan amount. He
wouldn’t take this because of hatreds between each other and the way
Antonio has treated Shylock. Shylock dismisses that he is being called
names by Graziano because the day he has been waiting for has finally
come. While Shylock is comfortable during the trial the doctor of law
steps in and makes Shylock go back on what he said originally. But the
doctor says that he can have a pound of flesh or nothing else. This
was said because no blood could be spilt. After deciding that he would
not lose all his possessions he decides that his only option is to
convert to Christianity.

This scene was very important and shows that Shylock is a wealthy man
because he would have lost his estate to Antonio. It also shows that
he is more bothered about his money than anything else.

An important quote that Shylock said in 4:1 is “what judgement shall I
dread, doing no wrong?” this means that he believes he has done
nothing wrong and that he followed the contract. Another important
quote is in 1:3 and it said “cursed by my tribe, if I forgive him.”
This means that if Shylock was to drop the bond then the Jews that he
knows will hate him.

Overall I think that Shylock can be misjudged for an evil person who
doesn’t show any mercy. I think that it is present in some of his
scenes as he just wants to kill Antonio, whereas he does have a human
side to him.


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