Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Introduction One of the most interesting and dramatic characters in ‘The Merchant of Venice’ is the rich, despised money-lending Jew Shylock. It is impossible to judge Shylock’s character by our own modern Standards, simple because Shakespeare wrote this play for play goers in Elizabethan times. This was very different to modern times for two reasons. Firstly, people watching the play would not find it strange to feel sorry for a character, then a few moments later, to be screaming for their blood! Secondly, nearly everyone in Shakespeare’s time was racist, and it was common for people to dislike Jews and think of them of villainous.
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.
The flesh pact, the court scene etcetera). It is certainly undemanding to simply label Shylock a stereotypical stock character: the greedy, vindictive and bloodthirsty villain. Surely, there are more than enough instances available to label him as such (1.3.38-49, 3.1.59-62), 3.1.372-375). However, there also exists another possible, yet neglected, description of Shylock's character: the aggrieved, marginalized and putupon minority. As the text repeatedly reminds us, Shylock is Jew; moreover, a Jew in a predominantly Christian Venice.
The Way Shylock is Presented in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice The Merchant of Venice is about the conflict between a Jew and a Christian. This is not between one Jew and one Christian but between Shylock, who stands as a representative of the Jewish tribe, and between groups of Christians who greatly outnumber the Jew. The conflict between Jews and Christians is a historical one. The Christians hated the Jews because they made money from usury; this was completely against the Christian beliefs of that time. However, this hate was not one-sided as the Jews also hated the Christians because the Christians treated them very badly; the Jews were "alien" to the Venetian society and thus were treated as a second class race.
Believe it or not, there is some compassion for the desecration of the Jews in Shakespeare's play. Antonio recognizes the futility of opposing Shylock's passion with reason. "He seems the depository of the vengeance of his race" (Goddard 11). Antonio consequently appears as a charitable Christian who lends money freely, in contrast to the miserly an... ... middle of paper ... ...an something like Marlowe's Barabas. But at the same time, it seems clear (to me, at least) that Shakespeare creates Shylock against an historical and cultural backdrop that was intensely hostile to Jews.
Jews were very successful with their businesses. You could say that the Christians were experiencing Xenophobia, fear of foreigners. They feared that they would take over their land. So when Shylock comes to act, all these negative thoughts are buzzing through the audiences’ minds. Shylock is victimised in this play, as all Jews were back in the sixteenth century.
This shows that Shylock feels it his duty to his nation (the Jews) to seek revenge on Antonio. This entire speech displays Shylock as a villain, a heartless man who is not willing to forgive. During Act1 Scene 3 our feelings toward Shylock change dramatically. Shylock is portrayed as a villain until the point where Antonio enters. Antonio does not treat Shylock with any respect despite the fact that he is asking for a favour, this causes us to feel sympathy toward Shylock and he suddenly becomes less villainous.
When the Jew does have his sympathetic lines, they were actually meant to be comedic. Only because of his religion is he discriminated against, people of this time would have found this amusing. Through the way that Jews are looked upon as the racist ones, Jewish people are only care of wealth; which makes them materialistic, Jewish people can suddenly turn Christian overnight, abuse should not cause hate from the Jews, the Jew suffers great loss in the end. The Jews in the story are looked upon as the racist ones. Shylock, the villain in the story, is depicted as the one being racist at some points.
The characters are, therefore, are tied together by friendship and Christianity. In the end, the play is a romantic comedy that emphasizes the rewards of love, generosity, and harmony. In the first scene I had some first impressions of shylock being a villain because he is a person who cannot forgive and forget, because Antonio looks down at him and spits at him because he is a Jew and now that he needs his help he tries to get revenge on Antonio, however you can see why he would do such a thing from the way he has been treated all his life. As the play moves on shylock still strikes me as a villain, the reason being is that he talks to Antonio behind his back, saying what he thin... ... middle of paper ... ...is all if he could save Antonio. Gratiano wishes his wife were in heaven to plead with the power there to bring about a change in the Jew.
Winning this case would also be a triumph for Shylock as it will be his comeback to all the pain and ridicule he has suffered as being a Jew. So far we have seen Shylock in different lights so to speak. Shylock has been the victim and villain. This is surprising as in Elizabethan... ... middle of paper ... ...s and it give you an insight into how people handle judging and tragedy. The contrast of this plot with the others is large.