Shylock And Jessica From The Merchant Of Venice Essay

Shylock And Jessica From The Merchant Of Venice Essay

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The Jews in The Merchant of Venice are “the wealthy money lender Shylock, his daughter Jessica, and his wealthy friend Tubal. None are likeable. Jessica is disloyal and ruthless, stealing her father’s money and a ring her dead mother had given him. Tubal fans Shylock’s desire for revenge. As for Shylock himself, Shakespeare is most explicit in having him say: I hate him for he is a Christian; / But more for that in low simplicity / He lends our money gratis, and brings down / The rate of usance here with us in Venice” (Opie 1-2). These three Jews play a significant role in the play to help influence the idea of a Christian versus Jew conflict. I will focus more on Shylock and Jessica from The Merchant of Venice. “In contrast with the unrelieved blackness of Barabas, the character of Shylock remains both truly human and within the limits of dramatic probability” (History of English Dramatic Literature). Shylock was used in place for Shakespeare’s views. Shylock in The Merchant of Venice is given lengthy, sympathy stricken lines that influence a reader 's view on Jews. Multiple lines that Shylock speaks are aimed to have sympathy on Jews and hatred for Christians.
Shakespeare also uses Shylock to represent hatred, as well as equality. The play starts off with Antonio, a wealthy merchant, wanting three thousand ducats from Shylock. Antonio uses a slang of words to cut Shylock down, because he is a Jew. For example, “I am as like to call thee so again - / To spit on thee again, to spurn thee too” (Act 1;3 (127-128)). In these lines, Antonio insults Shylock by saying he will spit upon him, even though Shylock has never done anything wrong to Antonio. In Act 1 Shylock then says that if the three thousand ducats are not give...

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... that were fond of his daughter. He also then had a plan to burn the rest of the Christians in Malta, but did not succeed at that without being caught. The inlaw and outlaw feminine character principles are applied to Abigail and Jessica. These principles fit perfectly for these two Jewish daughters because Abigail is an inlaw feminine who shows emotions and respects relationships, especially with her father. Jessica on the other hand, portrays the outlaw feminine because she takes matters in her own hands and illustrate a strong woman to run away from her father and convert to be a Christian. The Merchant of Venice and The Jew of Malta are realistic stories that tell the history of the sixteenth century. Without these texts in our possession, critics would not be able to understand the culture of that time period as well as the Jewish and Christian conflict.

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