Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice

Good Essays
Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice

'I am a Jew' a famous saying from Shylock in 'Merchant of Venice' that

clarifies the merchant brotherhood of a wealthy city. 'Merchant of

Venice' contains rascals and heroes. The audiences will soon realise

that Shylock, the Jewish money lender, is shown as a villain within

the wealthy city. Is this really what Shakespeare had intended? This

testimony given proposes that Shylock is more of a deceitful character

than what the Christian colony wants us to comprehend. In my essay I

intend to explore if Shylock is really a villain or a victim of his


Shylock is a Jew, which is why the Christians of Venice dislike him.

This is shown by 'If it be proved against an alien' (Act 4 Scene 1

line 345) because in Shakespeare's time Jews were seen as outsiders

within the city. This quotation shows that the Christians think the

Jewish people are 'Cut-throat' and operate in a way the audience would

not expect. Shakespeare's audience relate to him as an 'alien' because

the Christians believe Jewish people were shown as evil people.

The next point to why Shylock could be seen as a villain in the

society is because he is shown as a Jewish money lender. This means

Shylock makes money by adding interest to the money he loans to

Christians. I know this because Shylock says 'He lends out money

gratis, and brings down the rate of usance here with us in Venice'

(Act 1 scene 3 line 39). This quotation shows us that Shylock explains

his hatred towards Antonio, a valuable Christian, by lending out money

without adding interest on to the loan. Shylock shows rivalry towards

Antonio by explorin...

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...reotypes against Jewish dealers, he

tried to make out that the Jews are the hard done by people and the

Christians are the rightful religion.

In conclusion I believe that Shylock is a villain and a victim of the

patriarchal society in which he lives in. The reason for why I believe

Shylock can be seen as a villain is because of the stubbornness, his

religion and his intention on revenge against Antonio. I also believe

that Shylock is a victim because of all the abuse he was give like,

the name calling, violence, mockery and discrimination. The way

Shylock was treated in Venice can be related back to the Holocaust

when Jews were pick on because of their religion but also the way they

tried to help people escape from the German unpropitious, Hitler. So

is Shylock really a villain or a victim of his patriarchal society.