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Shylock: Villain or Victim

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    He is a Jewish moneylender who earns his living by charging interest on money he loans (like modern banks). He often speaks prose in the play, which marks him out as an outsider. He is persecuted by all the non-Jews he knows: He tells Antonio, “suff’rance is the badge of all our tribe”. He is verbally abused and bullied by most characters in the play and is called cruel names including “villain with a smiling cheek, cut-throat dog, bloody creditor, damned inexecrable dog”. He is clearly an intelligent businessman:

    He is very astute and is aware of other people’s concerns – he knows all about Antonio’s business ventures. The main reason he hates Antonio is financial: “I hate him for he is a Christian; / But more, for that in low simplicity / He lends out money gratis”. So, why does he make such a strange agreement with Antonio, asking for a pound of Antonio’s flesh instead of interest if the loan is not repaid within the arranged time? Does he genuinely want to be friends with Antonio when he says “I would be friends with you, and have your love”? He is Jessica’s father. His daughter hates him and calls him a “devil”.

    We see him being impatient with her and ordering her around. When she runs away, he seems as upset about the loss of his money as her: “My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter! … My ducats and my daughter! ” It would seem that Shylock cares for money more than anything else. Yet in an often forgotten moment when Shylock finds out his daughter traded his wife’s ring for a monkey he cares only for its sentimental value. “Out upon her! Thou torturest me, Tubal: it was my turquoise; / I had it of Leah when I was a bachelor: / I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys”.

    He wants revenge: Perhaps it is the loss of Jessica as well as all the harsh treatment he has suffered from Antonio – and others – over the years that makes him bitter enough to ask for Antonio’s pound of flesh. He cleverly argues in Act III, scene 1 that he is as much a man as a Christian is and so will follow the example the Christians set by seeking revenge. “The villainy you teach me I will execute”. He is thrilled to hear that another of Antonio’s ships is lost, making Antonio more vulnerable. “I thank God, I thank God. Is it true, is it true? He is very confident that he will win, telling Antonio while he is in prison,”Thou call’dst me dog … But since I am a dog, beware my fangs”. He knows that the Venetian justice system will have to support him and so relishes beating Antonio at his own game. He resolutely refuses to listen to all the pleas for mercy during the trial scene (from the Duke, Bassanio and Balthazar), insisting all the time on justice and his pound of flesh. Do you think this is this a sign of strength or foolishness? He could have pardoned Antonio and shown himself to be morally superior – but would this have done him any good in the long run?

    Caught out by Portia, by the end of the trial he has lost all his money and has to suffer the humiliation of being forced to become a Christian. Shakespeare doesn’t give Shylock any lines to tell us how he feels. How should he react? We never find out what happens to him. Weighing up all you know about Shylock, do you consider him to be more avillain or a victim? Is Shylock a Villain or Victim? Summary: Shylock, is the most noteworthy figure in Shakespeare’s comedy, The Merchant of Venice. While no consensus has been reached on whether Shylock is a tyrannical villain or a tragic victim, evidence indicates he is a bloodthirsty villain.

    Antonio’s counterpart, Shylock, is the most noteworthy figure in Shakespeare’s comedy, The Merchant of Venice. No consensus has been reached on whether Shylock is a tyrannical villain or a tragic victim. Shylock, in my opinion, is a bloodthirsty villain. In the following paragraphs, it will be shown that Shylock is a villain in every sense of the word. Namely, he is vengeful, very materialistic and shrewd. Firstly, Shylock is extremely vengeful. When Salerio asks Shylock what good would Antonio’s flesh do Shylock if Antonio forfeits the bond, he replies, “If it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge.

    He hath disgraced me, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation,” The quote clearly portrays Shylock remembering every single thing that Antonio has done to him. He calculates what Antonio has done to him and tries to revenge the wrongs done to him by murdering Antonio. Next, Shylock is very materialistic. When Tubal brings news of Jessica to Shylock, Shylock says “Two thousand ducats in that, and other precious, precious jewels! I would my daughter dead at my foot, with the jewels in her ear! ” This clearly shows that Shylock would prefer to have his money and jewels than his daughter’s return.

    Thirdly, Shylock is shrewd. When discussing the forfeiture of the bond, Shylock says “let the forfeiture be nominated for an equal pound of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken in what part of the body pleaseth me. ” Shylock suggests the forfeiture of the bond playfully, whereas it is actually a cunning plan to murder Antonio with the law on his side. Finally, I would like to reiterate that Shylock is a tyrannical and bloodthirsty villain instead of a tragic figure, whom many might sympathize with. In the above essay, I have clearly shown that Shylock is a villain. He is vengeful, materialistic and shrewd.

    These are the characteristics of a stereotypical villain. I personally think Shylock, from The Merchant of Venice, was the victim. He made the deal with Antonio because he believed Antonio’s ships would come back. Throughout the play he is mocked and dehumanized (in the entire play, his name is mentioned by characters thrice; anytime else he is “the Jew,” or similar. ), and the characters blew up his minor errors when they themselves had large sins of their own (Bassanio lived off of others, Jessica is an ungrateful daughter who steals from her father and runs away, Lorenzo is a hypocrite… So, enough about my opinions. What do you think? Victim or villain? Which is the greater love, Shylock’s love for his daughter or his love of money??? Often, The character Shylock, in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice,is portrayed as a beastly monstrosity, with a lust for Antonio’s life. Through a more careful examination it can be determined that Shylock was an upstanding member of his community, who endured abuse, forgave easily, and upheld the customs and law. Shylock endured much of Antonio’s abuse, overt a long period of time.

    This can be seen by the sheer volume of disgraces he has bore. A good example is in Act 3 Scene 1, beginning with line 52: “He hath disgraced me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies… ” -Shylock Shylock had such a magnanimous spirit, that he even offered Antonio, who had abused him terribly, a loan, free of interest. Shylock was willing to loan money to one who totally ruined him in public, on terms that were nicer than his normal business terms.

    This kind, forgiving heart can be seen in Act 1 Scene 3 beginning with line 148: “Why, look how you storm ! I would be friends with you and have your love, forget the names that you have stained me with, supply your present needs and take no doit of usance for my moneys, and you’ll not hear me! This is kind I offer. ” -Shylock Often, this quote from Act 3 Scene 1 line 83, “Why, there, there, there, there! A diamond gone cost me two thousand ducats in Frankfurt! The curse never fell upon our nation till now, I never felt it till now. Two thousand ducats in that and other precious,, jewels!

    I would my daughter were dead at my foot and the jewels in her ear;” portraying Shylocks’ treatment of his daughter, after she ran away, is manipulated to make Shylock seem beastly. But, within the Jewish culture and the time period, his response was appropriate. After his daughter ran away, she was, for all intents and purposes, disowned. Thus, the theft of his jewels reduced her to the level of a thief, and so she deserved to be punished. Shylock is also an honest, law abiding citizen of Venice, before the very end. His great respect for law and order are shown in the following quotes from Act 4 Scene

    Line 104: “I stand for judgment” Line 213: “I crave the law” Line 257: “O Noble judge! ” Shylock the Jew, through a careful examination of The Merchant of Venice, is found to be an enduring, magnanimous, forgiving, and law abiding citizen of Venice. As opposed to his typical role as the wicked blood thirsty villain. Shylock: Victim or villain? “The Merchant of Venice” is one of Shakespeare’s most well known comedies and was written in the late 1590’s. The play is set mainly in Venice, which at the time was the city of trade, and which Shakespeare’s audience would have found exotic.

    At this time, Jews were treated very badly and were frequently excluded by their community. The themes of the play are revenge, mercy, and justice. Shylock, with Antonio is the major character in the play, at times referred to as a villain and sometimes a victim. The dictionary defines a villain as “a cruelly malicious person” and a victim as “a person who is deceived or cheated”. However the question still remains: Shylock victim or villain? Shylock does not appear at the start of the play for one key reason I believe, which is Shakespeare wanted the audience to see Shylock enter by himself for dramatic effect.

    Shylock’s first appearance is in Act 1 Scene 3, which is set in Venice. Shylock is rather teasing as he makes Bassanio sweat for a simple one-word answer: “Three thousand ducats for three months, and Antonio bound” “Three thousand ducats: I think I may take this bond” Evidently, Shylock is repetitive and he is controlling the dialogue. The audience would not enjoy Shylock attaining power especially over Bassanio , who is a Christian. The word “bond” is a key word used consistently through the play especially by Shylock. The word “bond” is powerful language of the law and portrays Shylock as a dignified human being.

    Shakespeare’s intention here is to show how Shylock constantly wants to be in control, but as we see later in the play this is not always the case. Shylock admittedly says he hates Christians, which is very racist: “I hate him for he is Christian” Clearly this language shows that Shylock is prejudiced and this quotation would shock the contemporary audience, as they would be predominantly Christian. The way this phrase is constructed is very interesting and typical of Shakespeare. Shakespeare has cleverly written this sentence so that every word, bar, Christian has one syllable whereas the word Christian has two.

    This stresses the Christian part of the sentence so it will remain in the audience’s minds who they will be not pleased at Shylock. Furthermore, whenever Shylock talks to either Bassanio or Antonio, he rarely uses gracious language. “Curs’d”, has unpleasant connotations which show the audience that Shylock does not have any respect. Shylock’s bond has an extreme condition to it: “for an equal pound of your fair flesh” This shows that Shylock wants revenge if his money is not repaid. The language is simple, but effective. Shakespeare uses alliteration to make the point “fair flesh” stand out.

    This phrase would cause high dramatic tension. Shylock has been called a dog, an insult for a Jew, “…. cut throat dog”. At this time people believed in the chain of being which was a hierarchy of beings. Dogs as animals were at the bottom of this chain so this insult is even worse. Unfortunately, at the time of the play it was common for Jewish people to be insulted in this way. The imagery is revolting. A “cut throat dog” suggests death and execution which would make the audience shiver. Additionally in Act 2 Scene 2 we see an insight into Shylock’s domestic life from his servant Lancelot: “the Jew is the very devil incarnation”

    Shakespeare has cleverly included Lancelot in this scene so the audience can get a perspective of what Shylock the man is really like. Therefore when he calls Shylock a devil the audience knows that Lancelot does not have any respect for him. The word “devil” adds to the running motif in the play as Shylock is always referred to as devil-like. In context Lancelot should respect his master not deceive him. Loyalty is a major theme of the play and there is none between these two characters. Lancelot wants to run away from Shylock, his master: I will run as far as God has any ground” which shows deep hatred for Shylock, and leaves him believing that Lancelot is running away because Shylock is treating him badly In Act 2 Scene 3 we see Shylock’s daughter Jessica who does not like her own house, “Our house is hell” “Hell” is a strong word in the play and this image of Shylock recurs throughout the play. This simple language is monosyllabic which shows Jessica’s lack of happiness. The audience would feel sympathetic towards Jessica as she is alone with Shylock who in the eyes of the audience is portrayed as a monster.

    Shakespeare’s purpose here is to show the audience what Shylock’s own blood and flesh thinks of him, evidently deep loathing. What makes this more convincing is the fact that Jessica is saying this because she has known Shylock her whole life and she still hates him. In the next scene Lorenzo compares Shylock to his daughter and evidently shows more lovingness towards Jessica and disrespect to Shylock: “If e’r the Jew her father come to heaven, it will be for his gentle daughter’s sake” We can see here how there is a contrast in the language used when referring to Jessica and Shylock.

    Firstly Lorenzo addresses Shylock as “Jew’ which is prejudiced, whereas he uses words such as “heaven” and “gentle” to portray Jessica. Shakespeare has cleverly carried out this contrast for effect because he wanted to make it clear to the audience who the villain really is. He also makes a religious joke at Shylock’s expense. Shylock is malevolent to his servant Lancelot and extremely commanding: “I do not bid thee call” “Do as I bid” The way that Shylock said this was in a mean manner and is harsh towards Lancelot.

    In both cases the language is monosyllabic and commanding which shows the audience that Shylock believes he has power over everyone. At the end of Act 2 Scene 5 we see Jessica privately mutter to herself the controversial truth: “Farewell, and if my fortune be not cross’d I have a father, you a daughter lost” This is a very contentious phrase in the play. At this stage, we feel extremely sympathetic for Shylock, as he does not know that he is going to lose his daughter. This is extreme dramatic irony.

    Shakespeare’s language here is purposeful as he has used rhyming couplets for dramatic effect and also to stress the importance of these words. In Act 2 Scene 6 we see a different side of Jessica. Jessica when running away is very deceitful and takes all her father’s wealth: “Here, catch this casket, it is worth three pains” This is tremendously emotional for the audience because here they are seeing a daughter running away from home and they know that regardless of what has happened that Shylock will be upset. In addition, Jessica is taking all Shylock’s wealth and money is a big theme of the play, which Shakespeare exploits here.

    When Solanio finds outs that Shylock has lost his daughter and his money in Act 2 Scene 8 he teases Shylock but not to his face: “My ducats and my daughter” The structure of this sentence is clever. Firstly Shakespeare has used alliteration so the audience can clearly hear the words especially “daughter” and “ducats” as they are important here. I also noticed when depicting this was the arrangement of the words and I saw that the word “ducats” is before “daughter”. So this could infer how he likes his money more than his daughter. The contemporary audience would sympathise with Shylock as he is being mocked behind his back.

    Act 3 Scene 1 was set in Venice, which was the place of business. Shylock is in the street by himself, whereas Solanio and Solario are together. This adds to Shylock’s vulnerability as he is alone with no friends and friendship is a vital theme of the play. Salarino says to Shylock how different he is compared to his daughter, ‘Jet and Ivory’. Shakespeare uses an oxymoron to portray the contrast between them, which creates images in the audience’s heads which some may find funny an others ironic. This would build up tension between the two characters and shows Shylock as dark and Jessica as fair.

    Shylock repeats himself for revenge again and has many horrific ideas such as the “pound of flesh”. Shylock also does not like how there is a big difference between Jews and Christians: ‘If you prick us do we not bleed’ Shylock has a lot of anger in him and has expressed himself very emotionally here. Shylock’s speech is in prose which makes it clear and it is from the heart. He is arguing for common humanity as he feels alienated and vulnerable. Here at the end of the speech I believe the audience would have been silenced as Shylock touches on some sensitive topics.

    The imagery created is extremely efficacious because Shylock has an extremely valid point and has divulged this with a rhetorical question. This would have an inducing effect on the audience because this phrase would leave them to answer this question in their own mind. The utilisation of a rhetorical question has enabled Shylock to communicate indirectly to the audience, which could influence their opinion of him. After his speech Shylock becomes intrigued when he hears news that Antonio’s ships are sinking, “I’ll torture him”.

    Torture is a powerful word and very horrific, which shows deep desire to get revenge on Antonio. In Act 3 Scene 3, Antonio has been arrested. Shylock takes the image of a dog and turns it around to the Christians. “If I am dog beware my fangs”. Here is evidence of how bitter Shylock has become and the tone in which he would say it would be sarcastic. Act 4 Scene 1 is the central and most dramatic part of the play where both Shylock and Antonio settle their differences in a courtroom. The Duke shows deep emotion for Antonio at the start, he refers to Antonio as “thee”.

    The fact that the Duke addresses him as “thee”, is quite significant as “thee” is used intimately. When Shylock first enters the room he is being questioned. “Shylock the world thinks”, this shows how they are trying to isolate Shylock. At this juncture the audience would have commiseration for Shylock because the contrast of how he is treated compared with Antonio, here Shylock is seen as a victim. In the courtroom when Shylock replies he uses quite vengeful and powerful language and he uses a lot of language associated with animals. “forfeit”, “sworn”, “cat” and “rat”.

    These words are significant because they show his passion for revenge. The animal imagery is crude and based on vermin which makes Shylock seem uncanny in the eyes of the audience. Later on in this Act we see Shylock with his knife: “To cut the forfeiture” The diction here suggests death immediately and these images are quite violent and would alarm the audience. The way Shakespeare brings the knife into this is he cleverly uses light relief from a minor character to bring this about. Whereas Antonio’s language is noticeably simple and the audience would look at this, “I do”.

    This is significant because he knows that the end is approaching, so the audience would feel for Antonio because they know that Shylock is eager to kill him. During the court scene, it is astonishing how Bassanio manages to insult Shylock, “cruel devil” This is a recurrent motif throughout the play but what is important about the timing of this insult is that it is in a court room which is supposed to be fair to all parties. So they are trying to play mind games with Shylock , these tactics would be viewed as unfair by the contemporary audience. Shylock only seems to remember the bloody details of his bond, “I cannot find it”.

    This is quite ironic how Shylock was fussy about details about the “pound of flesh” but not when Antonio’s life is the issue. Evidently, this shows that Shylock does not want justice but revenge and the audience would see that clearly. Antonio becomes emotional, when he knows the end is near: “you may as well do anything most hard” This is a piece of rhetoric stressing the future of his cause. The atmosphere is drastically tense, Shakespeare uses hyperbolic language to express emotional sadness. The fact that Antonio is nearing death makes the audience feel for him as his life is on the line.

    Further, on in the court scene Antonio admits that he is doomed: “the weakest kind of fruit” This metaphor is compelling and would make the audience sad to see him scared. The imagery created by this is powerful in the sense that Antonio is like a fruit which is slowly buthylock, “O learned judge”. This would make the audience laugh as Shylock previou Shylock is a victim as the only reason he wanted to take a pound of Antonio’s flesh is because he was mocked and “stung” by him. “what wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice”. But on the other hand he refused to take any sum of money, even six times the original amount. if every ducat in six thousand ducats, were in six parts and every part a ducat, i would not draw them”. so in someways he is a victim but sometimes a villian I think Shylock is a villain because of his actions and emotions. The other characters think he is evil. “An inhuman wretch, incapable of pity, void and empty”. This quote shows the opinion the others have of Shylock. Another reason why Shylock appears evil is when he is offered six times the original price and still refuses, “You’ll ask me why i rather choose to have a weight of carrion flesh than to receive three thousand ducats”.

    I also see Shylock as a villain because when his daughter runs away he said he would rather her dead at his feat with the stolen jewels in her ear. For these reasons i believe Shylock is an evil character I think that that Shylock is a victim because he is only doing what he feels necessary so stop people taking advantage of him again “wouldst thou have a serpent sting him twice? ” . everybody is treating him unfairly and he feels that to make it fair then he should be aloud to do it too, I feel that this is reasonable . I also feel that he is treated unfairly when Antonio makes im “presently become a Christian” as , in my views, a persons religion is something that you should not tamper with. I think shylock is a victim because he thinks that he should have every right to fulfill the bond, even if it is a little extreme. He thinks this bond will make up for all the evil that antonio has shown towards him, “What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice? “. This seems fair because all his life he was being pushed around and then he has this chance to take out all those years of misery out on antonio, the cause, in a court.

    On the other hand shylock is also shown as a villian because he then admits he hates antonio which is why he wants this contract fulfilled. He shows his excitment by sharpening the knife on his boots in court, ” not on thy sole, but on thy sole, harsh jew, thou mak’st thy knife keen. ” He goes to far because he believes that the pound of flesh belongs to him, even when the duke said that this was going to far. this is what makes him the villain because he has crossed the line of being a moral person. in conclusion i believe shylock is the victim and the villian. think shylock is a victim because if antonio and the others hadn’t treated him differently just because he was a jew he would have probably given them fairer treatment. “He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies. “this shows antonio mistreets shylock for no real reason exept his religion. “and what’s his reason? I am a Jew. ” I think Shylock is a victim because he is always being made fun of by all the other men in Venice. O be damned inexcrable dog. ” The least he could do is take a pound of Antonio’s flesh as he has had to go through a lifetime of being mocked and he deserves revenge. I also think though,that Shylock is a villain as he explains in the play that he will not take any form of money,he just wants to kill Antonio which is a very evil thing to say. “If every ducat in 6 thousand ducats were in 6 parts,and every part a ducat,I would not draw them. ” Overall, I believe Shylock is a hero and a villain because of the thing he’s said,and the deeds he’s done.

    To integrate quotations properly, you need to introduce them and use the correct punctuation. If it is a long quotation, you miss a line and indent. If it is a short quotation, keep it on the same line. Examples: Shylock is persecuted by the Christians in Venice, because he is a Jew. He describes his ill-treatement at the hands of Antonio in Act 3, Scene 1, when he says: He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million; laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and what’s his reason?

    I am a Jew. Shylock is persecuted by the Christians in Venice, because he is a Jew. He describes his ill-treatement at the hands of Antonio in Act 3, Scene 1, when he says, ‘he hath disgraced me’. I think Shylock is a victim because throughout his life he has been treated badly but just because Antonio has hurt him and Shylock doesn’t want him to do it again, we know this because he says, “wouldst thou have a serpent sting him twice? “. Also just because Shylock wants to get back at Antonio and fails, he gets most of his things taken off him (because he’s a Jew).

    Antonio’s wishes are extreme, we see the extremeness when Antonio says, ” He presently become a Christian,The other, that do record a gift here in the court, of all he dies possessed unto his son Lorenzo and his daughter. ” On one hand i think Shylock is a victim as he is bullied by Antonio and other Christians in Venice. the only reason they do this is because he is a Jew. “and what’s his reason? I am a Jew. ” On the other hand i think he is a villian as it is not right if you want to take a pound of someones flesh especially if you are not willing to break the bond for six times the amount. If every ducat in 6 thousand ducats were in 6 parts,and every part a ducat,I would not draw them. ” overall i think Shylock is both a villain and a victim. i think Shylock is a victim as he only acted the way he did because he had been mistreated by Antonio and others all because of his religion, “and what’s his reason? I am a Jew. “

    If he had been treated better by them he may not have wanted to cut of a pound of Antonios flesh of after being offered six times the amount he wanted, “If every ducat in 6 thousand ducats were in 6 parts,and every part a ducat,I would not draw them. I think Shylock is a villain because even though people are not nice to him that doesn’t give him the right to kill one of them one piece of evidence that shows he is a villain is he doesn’t give a reason for wanting to take a pound of Antonio’s flesh we know this because he says “some men there are love not a gaping pig; some that are mad if they behold a cat” this tells us he has no reason for taking his flesh. Another reason think he is a villain is because other people say that he is “a stoney adversary, an inhuman wretch, uncapable of pity, void and empty. these two quotes show us that he is a villain in many people’s eyes. I think that Shylock is a villain. Although he may have deserved a chance to get revenge he refused an offer of six times the original amount of ducats saying “If every ducat in six thousand ducats were in six parts and every part a ducat, I would not draw them, I would have my bond. “

    This is obviously not the first evil thing he’s done as other characters make comments on how evil he is including “A stone adversary, an inhuman wrench, uncapable of pity, void and empty, from any dream of mercy. I think this shows that Shylock is very evil and is driven by revenge. I think Shylock is a victim as he is abused by the christians in Venice. They treat him like he is an outcast as we can tell when Gratiano says to Shylock ” O thou be damned, inexecrable dog “. This shows that he has a strong hatred towards Shylock. Shylock has spent his life receiving abuse from Christians. He indicates to Bassanio that Antonio has offended him numerous times before and therefore refuses to free Antonio from the terms of the bond as shown when he says ” Wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice “.

    Even though Shylock refuses 6 times the original amount; ” if every ducat in six thousand ducats, were in six parts and every part a ducat, i would not draw them “, I still feel he is a victim as he has put up with a lifetime of abuse. The Merchant of Venice’s character “Shylock the Jew”. Discusses whether he was subjected to problems at the time, or if he caused problems for other people. Throughout the play: The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare juggles with the idea of Shylock being either a villain or a victim. At the time the Merchant of Venice was written, Jews were neglected and abused by Christians.

    This is reflected in the Merchant of Venice, although the audience of the play is made to feel sorry for Shylock at times, such as when Jessica, Shylocks daughter, elopes with a Christian. With this said, Shylock is driven to into such a state of rage that he seeks to take Antonio’s life. This is why in the end he seems to be portrayed as a villain. But is he really a victim or a villain? In these sets of examples, Shakespeare uses language and scenarios to suggest Shylock is a victimized character. In the following situations Shylock is victimized by others around him because he is Jewish.

    In the Merchant of Venice, Shylock speaks of how he is offended by Christians and the names he is called by them. This is around during the time when then the bond is first made. Shylocks’ daughter, Jessica elopes with Lorenzo and takes his money, jewels and family honour. This throws Shylock into a state of rage. This is where Shylock starts to act out on his villainous side. A quote made by Antonio states “the devil can cite scripture for his purpose”. This clearly makes the link between Shylock as someone akin to the devil. Shakespeare sets up numerous cases of Shylock being victimized than those previously stated.

    Shylock is a victim of business due to the fact that Antonio lends out money gratis. It brings down the rate of interest in Venice and this means that Shylock is not able to make money because all the people who borrow it, end up going to Antonio instead. In court after Shylock loses his case, part of his punishment as well as monetary Owings is to become Christian. At this point, Shylock is basically defined as a villain, but because he is constantly ridiculed and humiliated by Antonio his revenge could be understood somewhat. Shylock’s victimization is also contrary to the fact that Shylock can also be seen ass a villain.

    He clearly seeks to kill Antonio by taking a pound of his flesh. Antonio and Bassanio interprets Shylock bond at first as a bit of a joke. But when Shylock is thrown into a state of rage when his daughter steals his goods, he decides to act out on his bond. A quote by Shylock says, “ He lends out money gratis and lowers the rate of usance here in Venice”. This quote tells us that Shylock’s villainous actions if acted out would benefit him greatly in his business. In the Elizabethan times, quotes like “ I hate him for he is a Christian”, would have provoked the audience.

    This is why Shylock would have been regarded as a villain as well during this era. Shylock speaks carelessly about the loss of Antonio’s fortunes and sailors as sea, which demonstrates the spitefulness of Shylock. The real turning point of Shylocks evil doings is when his daughter Jessica runs away and takes all his wealth with her. Shylock quotes that he would “have his daughter dead at his feet” if he could. This provokes him into craving his bond and truly becoming villainous. In conclusion Shylock is interpreted as an unfortunate victim but also as a vindictive villain.

    Had Jessica not left he may have stayed within reason of right and wrong. Because Shylock ends up being a greedy man, audiences remember Shylock as more of a villainous character than a victim, especially because he tried to kill Antonio. To attempt to take a man’s life is a lot more serious than simply calling him names or spitting on him. This is why Shylock is regarded as a villain. This is my favorite play of all time the quote u are asking for comes form act 3 scene 1 and it states:”To bait fish withal: if it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge.

    He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million; laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and what’s his reason? I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? f you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villany you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction. ” I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and so following; but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you.

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    Shylock: Villain or Victim. (2016, Nov 11). Retrieved from

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