Perspectives on Shylock from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice

908 Words Jul 17th, 2018 4 Pages
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 …show more content…
The victimization of Shylock for being a Jew makes the reader sympathize with him and for the fact that he is Jewish. It lends an understanding as to how Shylock cultivated a hate for Christians and his justification in doing so. In contrast, Shakespeare makes no mention of Shylock’s past and uses his Judaism as the sole means for his distinctive torment of Antonio.
The Turquoise Ring gives depth to Shylock’s character by providing insight into his relationship with his daughter Jessica. While the merchant of Venice seems to Portray Shylock as a hostile and overprotective father, the Turquoise Ring offers a different perspective on the matter. It gives an understanding as to the reason for the constant contention seen between Shylock and his daughter. Shylock tells his daughter, “an angel were you, that did preserve me”, showing the central role Jessica plays in Shylocks life. After escaping the atrocities of his homeland in Toledo, Spain, Shylock is left with nothing of importance in his life but his daughter Jessica. His concerned for her is what motivates Shylock to try and create a very sheltered life for his daughter, fearing that he would lose the only thing he had left. After all that he had sacrificed, to lead for his family a Jewish lifestyle in spite of the dangerous implications of doing so, Shylock would not allow his daughter fall to the hands of Christianity,
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