Sympathizing with Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice

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Sympathizing with Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice In the Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare creates an atmosphere throughout the play, which causes the audience to sympathize with Shylock. Shakespeare uses key events, and dialogue to influence the audience. At the time Shakespeare wrote his plays, and they were performed, the contemporary audience would have mainly consisted of Christians. Jews were often persecuted, as they were the minority. The Christian audience would have been quite arrogant, and Shakespeare would have had to pander to this audience, to make the play appeal to them. He did this through Shylock. In Act 3 Scene 3, Shylock tells of how he is abused by…show more content…
A modern audience would be multi-racial and therefore they would feel the same level of emotion, but it would be different, as only an extremely small minority of the modern audience would have mistreated Jews so consequently, they would almost be able to feel Shylock's emotions, as they can relate to them. He gives a very powerful performance. His speech is then concluded with further evoking of sympathy, "If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh?" stating that he is not merely a religion, which he is seen as by the people who discriminate against him, he is a human. This particular sentence has become very famous, and further evokes sympathy and shows that Shylock is human with feelings and has a valid reason for wanting revenge. The play has two plots; the flesh-bond plot, and the marriage-caskets plot. Bassanio wishes to offer marriage to Portia, the Heiress of Belmont but cannot compete with her other suitors. Portia is the heiress to a great fortune, but her father's will states that she can only marry the man who chooses the correct casket, made of either Gold, Silver or lead. The potential husband must choose the casket containing her portrait. In Belmont, after the Princes of Morocco and Aragon have both chosen the wrong

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