The Merchant of Venice

2444 Words Jul 10th, 2018 10 Pages
The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice was written in 1598 by William Shakespeare. The story is set in Elizabethan times, which was the sixteenth century. People back then were quite prejudiced towards any race that was not Christian. They would have hated Jews. When Shylock would come onto the stage, the audience would have just booed him back off. The Christians had their reasons for hating the Jews. The fact that they supposedly killed “Jesus” still angers many people today. Christians were resentful of their wealth. Jews were very successful with their businesses. You could say that the Christians were experiencing Xenophobia, fear of foreigners. They feared that they would take over their land. So when Shylock comes to act,
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The audience would feel some sort of pity for him when Antonio says, “I’m like to kick you again!” On the other hand the Elizabethan audience members might go up on stage and give him a pat on the back.

When the court scene begins, Shylock is not anywhere to be seen nor is Antonio, the supposed victim of his. The duke is there who is supposed to be the master of ceremonies. One thing that you should know is that Antonio and the Duke are good friends, which puts Shylock in a bad position right away as the man who decides his fate is biased towards Antonio, meaning that he is in favour of helping out Antonio. The Duke says to Antonio, “I’m Sorry for Thee.” You can see that Shylock will have his work cut out for him. The court rooms are a place of justice, the duke should not even think to be biased. They describe Shylock as, “stony, cold and inhuman.” They say that he is incapable of pity. He is at the bottom of the chain of beings, below animals. You can see that Shylock is being criticised in his absence. The Christians who are in the court at the moment refer to him as “The Jew.” He is nameless to these people. He is portrayed, through their use of language, as a stone cold villain.

After much criticism and “behind his back” abuse, Shylock comes in. His entry is quite dramatic in the way of what he brings in with him. It shows his cold side, and
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