In the play Shylock loans Antonio money, and out of jest he suggests that should the loan not be repaid in time Shylock may cut off one pound of flesh from Antonio's body. When Antonio's ships do not come in and he is not able to repay the loan Shylock is no longer interested in getting his money back. Shylock wants revenge for the loss of his daughter and as his treatment as a Jew through the fulfilment of the bond. After the loss of his daughter Shylock ran through the streets crying "My daughter! O my ducats!
Soon after Shylock's daughter runs away from home with Lorenzo, a Christian, and takes her father's ducats with her. When Antonio's ships do not come in and he is not able to repay the loan Shylock is no longer interested in getting his money back. Shylock want revenge for the loss of his daughter through the fulfillment of the bond. In court Shylock is defeated because of his selfishness. Shakespeare also shows the human qualities of Shylock throughout the play.
In this, we agree to a certain extent only. Pertaining to the first assumption, Shylock is not a one-sided, superficial villain but has actually two sides: one of a comic villain that invokes our dislike, and the other as the helpless victim of the Christians. Most of the time, Shakespeare portrays Shylock as cruel and mean, the most striking example being Shylock's reaction after his discovery of Jessica's eloping with an enemy and the theft of his belongings. His seemingly pure hatred of his daughter can be seen from `"I would my daughter were dead at my foot and the jewels in her ear!" Act 3, Scene 1.
Shylock is continuously presented as the enemy. He comes between many lovers: Bassanio and Portia, Jessica and Lorenzo and the friendship between Antonio and Bassanio. The only love Shylock seems to have is for money: ‘I would my daughter were dead at my foot, and the jewels in her ear: would she were hearsed at my foot, and the ducats in her coffin.’ Shylock shows lack of compassion and loyalty to his daughter. Shylock shows immense intolerance for Christians and this increases when his daughter runs away to marry Lorenzo a friend of Antonio’s. This produces a motive, and provokes Shylock and makes him more set on defeating Antonio.
Fled with a Christian! O my Christian ducats!’ confused, he doesn’t know whether to sob for his daughter or for his stolen ducats. I really have no sympathy for Shylock by the loss of his daughter because I believe he was more slightly more concerned about his ducats than his daughter. ‘I would my daughter were dead at my foot, and the jewels in her ear: would she were hearsed at my foot, and the ducats in her coffin!’(Act 3 Scene 1) This harsh quote also proves to me that he loves his money and jewels more than his daughter. The loss of his daughter also fuels Shylocks for Antonio (for he is a Christian) ‘I’ll plague him;
So he doesn’t have any rights at all. Shylock is mocked at every opportunity by Salerio and Solanio. They deliberately repeat what Shylock is saying in the streets, about his daughter and ducats and make fun of him. They say, “As the dog Jew did utter in the street: ‘My daughter! O my ducats!
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. However, Shylock might have been a flawed character, but did not deserve the punishment he received from Antonio. All in all, Shylock was very revengeful and sadistic but this was due to the treatment by Antonio and the other Christians but he has no excuse for being mercenary and putting his money before his daughter.
He is forced by the Christians to bless Jessica in her marriage to Lorenzo and, as if he had not suffered enough punishment, he is ultimately disgraced, by being forced to give up his religion and become a Christian. In my opinion, the play is prejudice and immoral. However, I also think there is a hidden meaning, the Christians are even more contemptible than Shylock. They are displayed throughout the play as being selfish and disrespectful towards Shylock. The play seems to mean different things to different people.
Antonio and Shylock despise each other. Shakespeare uses a variety of literary devices to show how the differing life styles of Antonio and Shylock impacts the tension between them. Throughout Act One, three distinct sources of tension are introduced. The first is business practices, which causes a lot of controversy between the two characters. Shylock wants interest on his loans, where as Antonio loans money only for the sake of helping others.
Everyone is a victim, locked into a vicious cycle of intolerance that produces acts of inhumanity to members of a different race or religion. Shylock is both the victim of such acts of inhumanity, but also the villain who, admittedly out of revenge, perpetrates similar acts of inhumanity. On the one hand he wants mercy, on the other hand, he is not willing to dispense it.