Christians did not make profits whereas people like Shylock made their profits from interest, this clearly did not please the Christian community, this may have created negative attitudes towards all Jews. Antonio is aware that "Shylock seeks my life; his reasons I well know: I oft delivered from his forfeitures Many that have at times made moan to me; Therefore he hates me." (III, ii, 21-24) Antonio ‘hates our sacred nation, and he rails.’ The above clearly depicts ‘The Merchant of Venice’ as being anti-Jewish.
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare The character Shylock was a stereotypical Jew of his time, and as Jews were generally unpopular, the audience would have been automatically prejudiced against him. In Shakespeare's time, Jews were not treated well at all. This was because they were a minority group, as they had been previously banned from the country by Edward I unless they were willing to become a Christian. But, in large European cities, like Venice there was a large Jewish population. As these cities relied on trade, the authorities encouraged Jews to become moneylenders.
Shylock as a Villian or Victim in The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare The Merchant Of Venice is the story of Antonio, a merchant, borrowing money from Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, in order to fund his best friend Bassanio’s romantic ambitions. Like the majority of the habitants of Venice, Antonio is Christian. At the time of the play, the sixteenth century, there was a huge abhorrence against those who were not Christian. As Antonio needed money quickly he had no alternative to borrowing from Shylock; Jewish moneylenders made profit from charging interests. Christians were resentful towards Jews as they were very successful with their businesses.
Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice In the "Merchant of Venice", Shylock’s character undergoes a metamorphosis from victim to villain. Christians looked down on him, and he suffered humiliation and prejudice because of his job as a usurer and because of his race. However, he is also vengeful and cunning, and jumps at every chance to take revenge for himself. During the time that the play was set there were not many Jews in Venice as the Christians were Anti – Semitism. Christians thought of Jews as hard hearted and made separate rules for them, for example, Jews were not allowed to retaliate if a Christian hit them or called them names, they also had too wear only Jewish clothes so that they stood out.
Shylock, the villain in the story, is depicted as the one being racist at some points. When he does Shakespeare makes it look as though he doesn’t have the right to be racist, for he is a mere Jew. He is equal to a dog in this story from a Christian’s point of view. He makes the audience feel sorrow for Antonio, the merchant, for having to borrow money from someone beneath him by saying it was done as a last resort, so that Antonio, out of his good heart, could help out a friend. When Bassanio asks Shylock to dine with the Christian’s he denies him the offer (p.20).
In the sixteenth century Christians didn't treat Jews the same because they hated the traditional profession of Jews which was lending money to gain a profit, this is shown in the way William Shakespeare portrays Shylock. We also see different relationships and struggles between the other characters in the play. In 16th century Venice there was great opposition between Christians and Jews. The centre of Venice was made up of mostly a Christian population and the Jews were situated outside the perimeters in ghettos. This shows that Jews were somewhat alienated from Venetian society and from all Christian society.
The Jews were hated in the Elizabethan times because the Christians believe that the Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus Christ. The Jews were spat on and treated very badly; they were also called names and mocked. Italywas very big in learning and trade in those times. Trade and learning was the biggest industry in the time and it was how Venicegot its major income. The term victim means someone who is powerless and who cannot control what is happing to him.
He learns of the unlikelihood of his owed money being repaid by Antonio and people continue to mock Shylock for his losses, so he seeks his revenge, condemning Antonio to death. He claims religious justification and that he is simply following the 'example' set to him by Christians. Before anything else, Shylock is a Jew in a predominantly Christian city. Members of the two faiths dislike each other (largely due to historical disagreement), and at this time in history it is hardly surprising that the Christians take advantage of their numerical supremacy. In the street they openly mistreat Shylock by spitting and swearing at him because there is nothing to stop them.
This is showing that Shylock wants revenge for Antonio's behaviour towards him. Taking a pound of flesh could kill Antonio, which seems very drastic, but if you remember the reason behind... ... middle of paper ... ... Sometimes I feel sorry for him as he was constantly being abused by the Christians for no reason except that he was a Jew and he did not retaliate until the trail scene, when he was demanding a pound of Antonio's flesh. However at this point, Shylock also showed he was evil and sadistic as he knew he would most probably kill Antonio and he did not seem to care. Shylock also showed how mercenary he was as when his daughter ran off, and he seemed to be more worried about his money than his daughter.