The merchant of Venice is the most convincing play related to racism in nowadays. William Shakespeare – the most famous writer in the world, originally wrote this play. This play is about love, power and honour and it has been presented between the two wars. The play was thought as a comedy to most Christian; on the other hand, people thought the play was presented extremely races, as a Jew (Shylock) was the only villain and having all the punishments.
In Act 3 Scene 1, Shylock was so depressed because his “own flesh and blood to rebel (Jessica eloped with a lot of money)” He was depressed for losing his own “blood” (Jessica) and angry because she stole everything from him. But two Christians (Salerio and Solanio) was being extremely disrespected Shylock. They compared difference between red wine and Rhenish as a metaphor of the relationship between Jessica and Shylock (Act three scene one line 35-39). So he made a powerful and touching speech.
“ 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 winter and summer as a Christian is? If you pick us, do we not die? —And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? (Act three scene one line 49-62)” Shylock has suggested the society that he lived in is full of racisms. He thinks everybody and every nation should be treated the same. This is because we are all human being.
Sadly, most people are always regarding Shylock as the money-hunger. But he is not. This play was written in 16 century and the only way that the Jewish can earn a living was relied on the interest from lending money. Without money they can die because there wasn’t any support for them in that society. (By that time the races to the Jewish people were very serious. But why did the Jews being treated so badly, and when? According to the history, the Christians were not allowed to lend money with interest according to the bible.
Jewish people were treated as outsiders and the jobs that they can do are few; therefore most of them lend money with interest to the people who needed money. And they were the debt collector as well as being a lender and in trying to regain the debt owed to them, they frequently became the target of resentment. They were expelled from England. Later one of the Marranos(a small group of Jews that lived quietly under Elizabeth’s reign)tried to poison the Queen. By that time, all foreigners were seen as a threat to the security of English Nation.
) Shylock is a lonely figure in the society in the play. His only self-security is money. Shylock has passion and he loves his daughter. He trusted Jessica and gave her the key of the jadishness house. Remember the house was full of money – the key represents his ‘final protection’. However Shylock did not show his love directly to Jessica. And Jessica cannot receive the way of love that she was hoping for. In my opinions, Shylock is loved and passion person. He is a man more sinned against than sinning. He is a complete human being.
He was treated badly because the racial and religious discrimination. He intend to kill Antonio because Antonio is the person who persuade people lend money without money, he “cooled my friends and heated my enemies. ” The bond was a merry bond, if Antonio did not sign the bond, he did not have to face to death. But Antonio took revenge on Shylock by punishing him. At the end of the trial scene, I feel great sympathy for Shylock because the disgrace on his religion, the loss of daughter (the love is betrayed), the change of religion and the loss of money.