Discrimination in The Merchant of Venice Essay

1410 Words 6 Pages
Discrimination in The Merchant of Venice Discrimination is a resounding theme in The Merchant of Venice (Meyers). All of the characters are affected by inequality. This inequity is evidenced clearly in Shylock, the Jewish usurer. He is treated with scorn and derision by all the characters. Shylock’s misfortunes stem not from poor attributes or even a poor background; it stems from the fact he is Jewish, and what is more, he is impenitent of that distinction. If he had been more daunted by Christian influence, he might have been forgiven, as Jessica is subjectively exonerated. He is not contrite and it is believed that his appalling birth cannot be absolved (Bonnell).
All of the characters are defined through Shylock. Launcelot Gobbo,
…show more content…
Discrimination in The Merchant of Venice Discrimination is a resounding theme in The Merchant of Venice (Meyers). All of the characters are affected by inequality. This inequity is evidenced clearly in Shylock, the Jewish usurer. He is treated with scorn and derision by all the characters. Shylock’s misfortunes stem not from poor attributes or even a poor background; it stems from the fact he is Jewish, and what is more, he is impenitent of that distinction. If he had been more daunted by Christian influence, he might have been forgiven, as Jessica is subjectively exonerated. He is not contrite and it is believed that his appalling birth cannot be absolved (Bonnell).
All of the characters are defined through Shylock. Launcelot Gobbo, Shylock’s servant, treats his father disrespectfully, but this disdain is not ill-received by the audience; like the other examples of inequity, Launcelot’s apathetic attitude toward his near-blind father is inexplicably tolerated by past and contemporary society (Picker). Launcelot’s contempt is generally assumed to be a result of his underprivileged upbringing, if it is noted at all. His lack of education has deprived him from good manners as well as good sense. The scene itself initially seems inconsistent with the rest of the play.
The prejudice the women tolerate is evidenced by their tendency to dress in men’s clothing in order to be heard or considered (Olson). As women, their voices are inhibited or disregarded; they are
Open Document