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Essay Skylock in Shakespeare´s Merchant of Venice Villian

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One of the earliest idioms taught to students of all ages is “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Oftentimes, a quote like that can easily be disregarded, however, it is applicable to people who aren’t always who they seem to be. Shakespeare’s play the Merchant of Venice is an outstanding work that contains a very strange villain in Shylock, who is hated by all, although he has not wronged them in the past. Thusly, his habits and personality evolved from his interactions with the Venetian populous. By examining the changes Shylock displays in tone, Shylock the villain’s motivations can be seen and ultimately display that no matter how twisted a person is or may seem, the motivations behind their actions indicate that innately they have a…show more content…
This correlates almost directly to how most of the other major characters of Merchant of Venice also treat him (e.g. Antonio). However, as is with most cases, there are two sides to each story. To understand the motivation behind Shylock’s obsession with money, the beginning of the play has to be referenced. In Shylock’s negotiations with Bassanio and Antonio, Shylock recalls, “Signior Antonio, many a time and oft in the Rialto you have rated me about my moneys and my usances… You call me misbeliever, cutthroat dog and spet upon my Jewish gabardine… You called me dog; and for these courtesies I’ll lend you thus much moneys?” (1.3.104-126). From this passage, Shylock’s motivations are presented clearly. He loathes Antonio for how poorly he has treated him in the past, insulting both his character and his religion. Therefore, the motivating factor in lending money to Bassanio is so Shylock has the ability to hold some form of power over Antonio. Therein lies the key to Shylock’s obsession with wealth. In the referenced Venetian culture, Jewish people were persecuted for their religion and were branded unsavory by the predominantly Christian community. Shylock, being ridiculed and domineered his whole life by his Christian counterparts, saw an opportunity to finally even the odds and jumped at it. Shylock clings onto his wealth because it is the only thing that gives him power in Venetian
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