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Examine The Extent To Which Shakespeare Presents Shylock As Either A Villain Or Victim Of The Society Which He Lives

955 words - 4 pages

Examine the extent to which Shakespeare presents shylock as either a villain or victim of the society which he lives

In the Merchant of Venice…Bassanio, a Venetian nobleman with financial difficulties, wishes to complete the hand of Portia, a wealthy heiress of Belmont in order to restore his fortune. He asks his friend Antonio, a successful Merchant of Venice, to loan him the money necessary to undertake such an attempt. Antonio agrees, but as all his assets are tied up at sea, he will have to use his credit in order to obtain the money for his friend. They go to shylock a Jewish money lender and enemy of Antonio’s. Shylock agrees to lend them 3000 ducats, but only if the loan is paid ...view middle of the document...

To some degree, shylock is shown to be a villain, for example when he agrees to lend three thousand ducats to Antonio for three months. ‘‘Three thousand ducats for three months, and Antonio bound’’. However Shylock adds an unusual clause; he adds that if Antonio does not pay back the three thousand ducats in three months he will cut a pound of his flesh. ‘A pound of the man’s flesh, taken a man is not estimable, nor profitable.’ this shows us that shylock is a villain because he is threatening Antonio to pay back the money on time. He is making Antonio suffer by reminding him that will accrue if he does not stick to the bond. Shylock is getting his revenge on Antonio from the past because; Antonio has constantly bullied and harassed shylock, by adding this bond he will make Antonio pay.

Nevertheless, it is my view that Shakespeare presents Shylock the most part thought the play as a villain. For example when he is referring to Antonio, hating Christians. ‘‘I hate him for he is a Christian’’. This tells us that shylock is discriminating against Christians. Traditionally three has been hatred and enmity between the Jews and the Christians because; the Christians accused the Jews of killing, Jesus while the Jews never accepted Jesus as their messiah.

Another example where Shylock appears a villain is when he tells his daughter to ‘‘lock my house…lock my doors…do as I bid you’’ this quote shows us that shylock is a villain because the relationship shylock has with his daughter is very un-loving and there is no affection shown towards her. ‘‘My girl’’ he calls her as if she were a servant. This shows Shylock dose not care about his daughter and is un-willing to show any love.

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