The Merchant of Venice

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Society tends to define people as being either victims or villains due to the actions, beliefs and decisions present in their lives. In the Merchant of Venice, this separation between those good and evil is existent in the Venetian community, especially for the character of Shylock. Although one may think that Shylock is a victim in this play, as a result of other’s wrong-doing, Shylock is rather a villain because he conspired to kill Antonio through his bond, wished to see his daughter dead for him to retain his wealth, and refused to show even mercy so as he could get his revenge on Antonio. It is through such destructive intentions Shylock possessed, having a negative impact on other characters in the play, which designates him as a…show more content…
In Act 2 Scene 8, Solarino notifies Solanio of a ship that was lost in the English Channel and it is discovered later from Tubal, Shylock’s servant, that this ship was Antonio’s. Instead of being understanding of his loss, Shylock argues that just as a Jew wrongs a Christian and would seek revenge, if a Christian wrongs a Jew, they would be able to seek revenge too. Thus, when Antonio did forfeit because all his ships were believed to be lost, Shylock showed no mercy as Antonio was trying to speak and stated:

I’ll have my bond, speak not against my bond;

I have sworn an oath that I will have my bond.

Thou call’dst me dog before thou hadst a cause,

But since I am a dog, beware my fangs.

The duke shall grant me justice.


It is evident that Shylock has already made his mind up and his decision to keep the bond would not be swayed in favour of Antonio, regardless of what he pleaded. In response to the cruel names Antonio had called him previously, Shylock wants to show him how horribly he can truly be, choosing to behave as a worse villain than Antonio was towards him. Rather than rising to the occasion and showing mercy, Shylock chooses to be a villain, bloodthirsty for revenge and his bond in order to get Antonio back for the

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