Character Analysis of Shylock from The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

Character Analysis of Shylock from The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

Length: 583 words (1.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Character Analysis of Shylock from The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

In William Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’ the

character Shylock, a Jewish moneylender is shown to

the audience in more than one. In one way we see a

good aspect of him as a caring and loving father, in

another way we see a dreadful part of him as a beast

that loves his money more than his daughter and

follows a brutal and cruel desire to end a man’s life in

this case Antonio the merchant.

We see that Shylock suffers from awful and physical verbal abuse from
all the Christians in Venice but especially from Antonio, Shylock
states that,

“You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog,

And spit upon my Jewish gabardine”

This tells us Antonio called Shylock a misbeliever, cut-throat dog and
has spat on him. This metaphor is comparing Shylock to an animal. 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! O my daughter!”

The quote “As the dog Jew did utter in the streets” is a metaphor
which tells us that Shylock is being referred to as a dog, not like a
dog so he is not human. They mock him even more by getting the
children in Venice to follow Shylock and repeat what he says. Solanio
also calls him a “villain Jew” meaning he is a criminal and they class
him below everyone and like a person in jail. Shylock takes everything
that is said to him and doesn’t retaliate or say anything to them.

Bassino asks Shylock to dinner when Shylock asks to meet a

Antonio. This is probably one of the only times when he has not been
called a ‘dog’ or been spat upon by any Christian. This is like a big

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Character Analysis of Shylock from The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare." 123HelpMe.com. 24 Aug 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=143851>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Dramatic Contributions of the Character Antonio The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

- Dramatic Contributions of the Character Antonio The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare Antonio is the namesake of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, but in addition to contributing to the title, his constant search for emotional martyrdom adds an air of depth and drama to an otherwise lighthearted and laughable play. Like many of Shakespeare's best characters, Antonio could easily be overlooked as a mere plot-device. However, upon further inspection, he's more than just two-dimensional; he has a history, a personality, and a raison d'être....   [tags: Merchant of Venice Essays]

Research Papers
998 words (2.9 pages)

Character Analysis of Shylock from The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

- Character Analysis of Shylock from The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare In William Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’ the character Shylock, a Jewish moneylender is shown to the audience in more than one. In one way we see a good aspect of him as a caring and loving father, in another way we see a dreadful part of him as a beast that loves his money more than his daughter and follows a brutal and cruel desire to end a man’s life in this case Antonio the merchant....   [tags: Free Merchant of Venice Essays]

Free Essays
583 words (1.7 pages)

William Shakespeare 's The Merchant Of Venice Essay

- William Shakespeare 's, The Merchant of Venice, acts contrary to the majority of Elizabethan literature, by exhibiting strong, witty, and independent women. William Shakespeare is well known for writing headstrong female characters such as Viola from Twelfth Night, or Hermia from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Therefore, it should be no surprise that three spirited young women are present in The Merchant of Venice. Portia, Nerissa, and Jessica all show an alternative side of women by acting on their own accord and taking control of their personal destinies....   [tags: The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare]

Research Papers
1167 words (3.3 pages)

The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare Essay

- 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....   [tags: Merchant of Venice Essays]

Research Papers
1017 words (2.9 pages)

William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Essay

- William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice "The Merchant of Venice" by William Shakespeare features, Shylock a very controversial character due to his religion, profession and personal traits. Professionally Shylock lends money to people in debt, in order to gain interest and profit. Although, this is very much central to our modern way of life, in the Elizabethan period, money lending was not accepted as an acceptable profession. Throughout "The Merchant of Venice" Shylock is portrayed as menacing, inhumane and slightly eccentric, yet at times misunderstood and induces sympathy from the reader....   [tags: Merchant of Venice Essays]

Research Papers
1254 words (3.6 pages)

William Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice Essay

- William Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice In this piece of work, I am to discuss whether Portia is a modern woman of the sixteenth century. I am aiming to discuss many of her elements, relating and comparing them with the time in which the play is set. I will be looking at what aspects mark her out as a ‘modern’ woman and those that mark her out to be a ‘renaissance’ woman. When William Shakespeare wrote, ‘The Merchant of Venice’, he included a female character that leads the play dramatically....   [tags: Free Merchant of Venice Essays]

Free Essays
1190 words (3.4 pages)

Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Essay

- Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice There have been many variations over the hundreds of years in how the character Shylock has been played in productions of “The Merchant of Venice” by William Shakespeare. Shylock is often noted as the most important character in the play, so the way he is performed can change how people interpret the play itself. Shylock can be interpreted as the villain or the victim of the play. Sometimes in productions the audiences’ sympathies can swing first one-way then another, the actor will portray Shylock as a consistent character however; certain scenes create sympathy for him....   [tags: Free Merchant of Venice Essays]

Free Essays
907 words (2.6 pages)

Shylock in The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare Essay

- Shylock in The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare Shylock is certainly an interesting character made even more intriguing by Shakespeare's portrayal of him. Much before the twentieth century, anti-Semitism was rife and The Merchant of Venice is a curious tale, as we are able to see how Jews were viewed in the late 1500s - especially as Shakespeare's depiction was at odds with the accepted anti-Jewish prejudiced views in that he considers both sides of the argument....   [tags: Merchant of Venice Essays]

Research Papers
1048 words (3 pages)

Essay Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice

- 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....   [tags: Free Merchant of Venice Essays]

Free Essays
681 words (1.9 pages)

Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Essay

- Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Shakespeare has created a marvellous character in Shylock. He lives in Veniceand he is a money lender. He is a widower and he is isolated by the people of Venicebecause of his religion. He is hated also because he is a money lender and the Christians think that it is wrong to lend money and charge interest. The Jews were hated in the Elizabethan times because the Christians believe that the Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus Christ....   [tags: Merchant of Venice Essays]

Research Papers
1560 words (4.5 pages)

moment for Shylock because he has never been asked like this by any
Christian to have dinner with them. He doesn’t refuse to go with them.
This shows that there is a human side to Shylock and is not like a
beast always. Shylock doesn’t Antonio because he lends out money with
out taking interest on the money lends out so Shylock loses out on his
business.

Shylock makes a point about Christians and Jews being the same he says

“I am a Jew. Hath

Not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs,

Dimensions, senses affections, passions?”

Shylock is telling us that Jews have the same hands, organs and other
features as Christians and any other person has. He is speaking to
Solanio and Salerio and says the quote above this shows that he knows
that there is no difference in Jews and Christians except that they
have different religions. He asks them what is ‘humility’ as a
rhetorical question to them and he answers that it is revenge and that
they are not following what they teach because they should accept
wrongs with humility but instead they don’t practise what they preach
and want revenge. The effect of this rhetorical question is to
embarrass them because they do not know the answer themselves.

In another way we Shylock as a beast who wants revenge for what has to
him and all the Jews in Venice. He states,

“How like a fawning publican he looks.

I hate him for he is Christian.”

He hates Antonio for his religion and because he looks like a Jewish
tax collector and they were hated and despised if they did this job.

Shylock says that he will not charge interest but will take a pound of
flesh from Antonio form any part of his body if he can not pay the
money of the bound within the time. This shows that he is not normal
that he wants the pound of flesh. When Shylock is talking to Salerio,
Salerio says,

“Why I am sure, if he forfeit, thou wilt not take his

Flesh, what’s that good for?”

In return to this Shylock says,

“To bait fish withal. If it will feed nothing else, it will

Feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me, and

Hindered me in half a million, laughter at my loses,”

He is clearly saying that it will feed his revenge for all that has
happened to him which tells us that he has turned mad. After he says
that it will feed his revenge he gives a list of things that Antonio
has done to him. By giving this list Shakespeare creates a repetition
effect, to show that a lot has happened to him and that there is a
reason for what he is doing.
Return to 123HelpMe.com