Merchant of Venice: Shylock More Sinned Against Than Sinning

1564 Words Nov 2nd, 2012 7 Pages
Is Shylock more sinned against than sinning?

Many different views can be taken on the Jewish merchant Shylock in the play ‘The Merchant of Venice’ written by William Shakespeare. Although when taking into account the many trials and tribulations that Shylock had to endure, it is forthcoming to say that Shylock was more sinned against than sinning. There are key and defining moments in this play when it becomes more apparent as to why Shylock is acting out against Antonio. From early on when Antonio goes to Shylock, the audience is notified of the distaste Antonio has for Shylock. On top of this, the treatment of him after he loses his daughter to the one thing he hates more than Antonio, his beliefs, coupled with the manner in which he
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In his eyes every Christian is like Antonio, he does not sympothise. It is well known that he is hurt, for he is also human. He even says ‘Oh my breathing, no tears Oh my shedding.’ To deal with this constant throbbing that rattles his core and then have the people mock him and laugh at him as is to gloat. It is a constant battle, and he is a one man army. He is quick to blame Salarino, the closest person around saying ‘you knew.’ Salarino sarcastically admits that he did saying, ‘that’s certain. I for, my part knew the tailor that made the wings she flew withal.’ Their inability to sympathise or even minutely respect him coupled with the fact that they consider themselves superior is a part of why he felt the urge to seek revenge. They were constantly sinning against him.

Before he was angry, although is has escalated to the point where now he seeks retribution. While the masses were so eager to see him fail, now he is eager to see Antonio fail. For Antonio is a reflection and representation of the people of Venice. This is why Shylock is pleased to hear of Antonio’s misfortunes. Although his whole motive is explained when he likens himself to a Christian. Yet by putting himself on the same level as them he informs them, ‘the villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.’ This urge to revenge has only been brought on
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