Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Essay

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Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice

In the productions of ‘The Merchant of Venice’ the character Shylock seems to be the most important throughout the play. However, he can be played in different ways. He can be portrayed as a victim or a villain. Even during a single production the audience’s sympathies change towards him.

Shylock can be seen as villain in many ways. One of these is his desire for revenge on Antonio. Shylock doesn’t like him because he is racist towards him and has disrespected him for a long time. Therefore when Bassanio asks him whether he will lend Antonio money Shylock keeps him waiting before he gives him an answer so he can think about the risks
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He also says, “If it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge,” he is referring to the bond and how he is using that as a way of revenge.

However Antonio was rather cruel for all those years to him but the revenge Shylock had planned was very extreme. Asking for a pound of his flesh may have started off as a joke but still wanting to cut off his flesh even after being offered three times the original agreement, this proved how much Shylock really wanted Antonio hurt. Choosing a pound of his flesh over money says a lot, as Shylock is very fond of money but is obviously fonder of the possibility of seeing Antonio dead.

Furthermore Shylock’s attitude towards money shows him as more of a villain. Money is such an important detail in his life and would be very upset if he were to lose it, as he was. When Jessica fled she took his money and jewels. When she did it was as if he was more upset over losing his money than his daughter. After he found out about his daughter who had left with his money he shouted out on the streets, “My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter! Fled with a Christian! O my Christian ducats! Justice! the law! My ducats and my daughter! A sealed bag, two sealed bags of ducats, of double ducats, stolen from me by my daughter! And jewels, two stones, two rich and precious stones,” Shylock’s
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