Throughout William Shakespeare’s works he has demonstrated a variety of characters that are ostracized for being different. In particular, Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice showcases Shylock, a Jewish merchant, as being the outsider to a group of Christians. Religion is obviously a very significant aspect of this play as it references many biblical figures and stories. As well as the titles of Christian and Jew that are repeated constantly throughout the play. For example, Shylock is constantly referred to as “Jew” throughout the play. This title is used to constantly remind him of his true standing in a Christian society. The divide between these two groups is so deep that both Shylock and Antonio refer to themselves as their understood stereotypes. The constant social battle between these two groups is also one of the biggest forces that drives this play. Shakespeare created a complex and possibly misunderstood character through Shylock, because of his religion, values, and constant demand for law. There are many different aspects that set Shylock apart from the rest of society. The biggest being that Shylock is Jewish, while all of the other characters are Christian. Along with the title of Jew is all of the stereotypes that follow it. Shylock is known to be very money hungry, in addition to being rather harsh and strict. In Act 1, Scene 3 Bassanio is seen asking Shylock of a loan of money, with the accompaniment of Antonio to ensure that the debt will be repaid.
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The merchant of Venice is a drama and romantic play, by William Shakespeare. Regarding the test for the suitors and the final part of the book, the author is inspired by a fourteenth-century Italian novel of Giovanni Fiorentino, called “Il Giannetto”, (Bullough, 1957). The merchant of Venice is believed to have been written between 1596 and 1598. It is contained on the First Folio, in the contents of Comedies, sharing certain aspects with others plays. That one traditionally ends with the positive return to order expected from the genre, it also has some characteristics of a tragedy, in particular with regard to the punishment and the oppression that are suffered to Shylock Jew. The peculiarity is the title of this book, “The Merchant of Venice”, in fact, it refers to the character Antonio, and not Shylock, a moneylender, which has a pivotal role in this play. One possible reason is that by calling “The Merchant of Venice”, Shakespeare wanted to focus the attention of the readers, on the
In ‘The Merchant of Venice’ Shylock is very strong minded and is singled out of the play because he is a mean Jew that charges interest. Shylock is very stubborn and determined to keep to his bond; a pound of flesh of Antonio.
Discrimination and hatred across religions can be often become a normal part of everyday life, and can be difficult to eradicate and extinguish. In William Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, the idea of the “normality” of everyday prejudices comes across in interactions and the portrayal of Shylock, a Jewish moneylender in Venice. Through Shylock’s character, Shakespeare provides a commentary on how his society has viewed Judaism in a dehumanizing way for many generations, but also expresses how difficult and not in a playwright’s place to change these societal prejudices.
Since Shylock is Jewish, his vengeance is seen as heinous, while Antonio’s would be considered heroic since he’s a Christian character. His religion creates a preconception in people’s mind that he is evil, so any wrong move portrays him as the villain. Also, during the courtroom scene, all of the Christians have complete faith Antonio won’t have to lose a pound from his body because Shylock will take the six thousand ducats instead. However, when Bassanio offers Shylock the money, Shylock turns his nose to the offer. He remarks, “If every ducat in six parts, and every part a ducat, I would not draw them. I would have my bond” (Shakespeare, 4.1.86-88). Shylock’s surprising answer reveals that Jewish people go against even their strongest stereotypes. Jewish people are known to desire nothing but money. However, Shylock feels so hurt from all of Antonio’s past harassment, he craves revenge and nothing more. Stereotypes force people to believe people in certain groups will follow the mold their society has created them and will act more like caricatures than people. Shylock’s need for revenge reminds us Jewish people have the same emotions as everyone else. The heartfelt passages from Shylock demonstrate anti-Semitism is unfair to the Jewish people’s image.
Shakespeare engages a modern audience through the character Shylock. Shylock in The Merchant of Venice is the antagonist of the play and is subject to sequences of misfortune, much to the delight of the Elizabethan audience. However, in a modern context we show slight feelings of sympathy towards him as a result of today’s ideologies. Upon meeting Shylock we see that his religious standing puts him in an isolated position against the Venetian society. A line is recited
Shylock is a character famously known as being the antagonist of Shakespeare’s play merchant of Venice. In this play, Shakespeare portrayal of Shylock the moneylender is one of anti-Semitic stereotype. Shylock is depicted as a typical bloodthirsty Jew who lives a life void of any depth or meaning. His sole purpose for living seems to be to amass wealth and vengeance as seen from his adamant claim for his “pound of flesh”. Despite Shakespeare’s attempts to humanize Shylock at points in the story, it appears that his primary focus is to steer the audience against Shylock, painting him as being a cruel, bitter and inaffable figure. It is clear that in both Shakespeare’s merchant of Venice and Grace Tiffany’s Turquoise Ring, Shylock exposes
Stereotypes for every different religion, ethnicity, culture, and gender exist among the minds of the human race. These typecasts have ruled this world for as long as there has been diversity among people. In Shakespeare’s comedic tragedy, The Merchant of Venice, one prejudice is very central to the theme. The play is dominantly set in Venice, one of the most liberal cities of the Renaissance era. In this place and time period, anti-Semitism is very much in force. The Jewish people are discriminated against and treated terribly by the Christians living in Venice. Shylock, a wealthy Jew, is mercilessly spurned many times by men like Antonio, a Venetian merchant. In contrast to this blind hatred is the longing and lust associated with
He declares, "I'm very glad of it. I'll plague him, I'll torture him, I am glad of it." (3, 1, 115-116) At the end of Act 3, scene 1, Shylock's true motive is revealed. Shylock says, "I will have the heart of him if he forfeit, for were he out of Venice I can make what merchandise I will." (3, 1, 125-127) All these comments clearly attempt to paint Shylock as a money-worshipping murderer and not as a person.
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare portrays Shylock as a victim throughout the play, but as he seeks revenge towards the Christians and everyone who has done him wrong, Shylock defends himself with some villainous behaviour. To a modern audience, the discrimination and suffering Shylock experiences, place him as a victim. Throughout the play, Shylock, a Jewish money lender, is perceived as a greedy and miserly man due to his Jewish culture. In Shakespeare's time, exploitation of Jews was common; particularly in Venice as it was an anti-Semitic city. However, Jews thought of themselves as victims of harassment and oppression. Shylock has been discriminated against, but nevertheless seeks revenge on people who have done him wrong which displays another side to Shylock. Therefore, Shylock is viewed as a victim and a villain, but more of a victim because of the abuse he has suffered.
William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is a perplexing story of dark humor, race, religion, identity, love, and justice. Generally, most people understand The Merchant of Venice as a comedy about a bitter and outcasted Jewish moneylender named Shylock who seeks revenge against a Christian merchant who has failed to pay his loan back. However, there are many different perspectives on whether The Merchant of Venice is a comedy or a tragedy depending on one’s views on the difference between race and religion. If one views the story as a comedy, it is a dark comedy full of many problems, especially the controversial subject matter of anti-Semitic attitudes of its Christian characters. If one views it as a tragedy, it is a tragedy that concludes with majority of its characters in a “happy ending”—that is if one agrees that Jessica’s decision of love over betraying her father and giving up her Jewish identity is indeed a happy ending.
The Merchant of Venice was created between 1596 and 1598, it was published as a comic, romantic, tragic in 1600. The play has many struggles in it but the main ones are Bassanio's quest to marry Portia and his attempt to free Antonio from Shylock's deal. The idea that Shakespeare's representation of Shylock is unquestionably Anti-Semitic will be impacted in this essay because thought this book Shakespeare portrayed Shylock as Anti-Semitic.
Shakespeare still had to please the crowd with the insults and anti-Semitic feelings the people loved. He did this by adding flaws to the characters that they are now known for. Shakespeare gave Shylock his deep hatred for Antonio and all Christians, shown constantly by Shylock himself as he rants how Antonio constantly wrongs him. Another flaw in Shylock's morals is seen in his "Hath not a Jew eyes" speech. There he believes he has the right for revenge when a Christian wrongs him, saying, "If a Jew wrongs a Christians, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrongs a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge." (III, i, 63-66). Antonio too shows flaws, both through Shylock's stories of Antonio's persecution and through the insults he offers Shylock throughout the play. In the courtroom scene, Antonio tells Bassanio he might as well go stand on the beach and tell the waves to stop their endless beat upon the shores than try to get the Jew to change his mind. He also jokes that Shylock is turning into a Christian with his kindness to lend Antonio the 3,000 ducats, saying "The Hebrew will turn Christian: he grows kind." (I, iii, 170). Not only does this add the necessary conflicts for humor that the audience wants, but it provides the backbone for the story, showing the background of the
Throughout William Shakespeare’s play, The Merchant of Venice, there is a strong theme of prejudice. Portia has to deal with prejudice against her sex, the Prince of Morocco has to deal with prejudice against his race but the character that is most discriminated against is Shylock. He is hated for being a Jew and a money-lender, but Shakespeare has not made Shylock a character easy to sympathise with. He appears to be mean and cruel and it seems as though he loves money above all things. However during the play there are moments when Shakespeare gives Shylock speeches which show his humanity. In these moments, the audience is made to feel sorry
In the play the ‘Merchant of Venice’ by William Shakespeare the antagonist Shylock is both the victim and the villain. Shylock is a Jewish moneylender and is initially portrayed as anger filled and bloodthirsty but as the play continues we begin to see him as more human and his emotions become more evident. As the antagonist, Shylock is a fearful adversary to Antonio, the protagonist. But as good begins to win over evil, Shylock is crushed and we see evidence of his mortality in his grief. Shylock changes significantly though out the course of the play and he is formed into a too complex character to be labeled just victim or villain.
The Merchant Of Venice is structured partly on the contrast between idealistic and realistic opinions about society and relationships. The play tells us mercy is preferable to revenge. Shylock chose revenge over mercy against Antonio and how his choices affected him. The Court of Venice begging mercy of Shylock. Finally, Portia forgiving Bassanio for giving away his wedding band.