Essay The Merchant of Venice Shylock Villain or Victim

Decent Essays
Shylock, Villain or victim?
The Merchant of Venice

June 8th, 2011

In the play The Merchant of Venice Shylock is supposed to be the protagonist, the definition of protagonist is; the leading character or a major character in a drama, movie, novel, or other fictional text. But the way Shylock is portrayed is more along the lines of being both victim and villain. Shylock is out for one pound of Antonio’s flesh which will in the end kill Antonio and the flesh will do him no good anyway. But he also gets called cruel names and is pushed around and spit on in the public by Christians, Antonio and all of Antonio’s friends. And farther on into the play Shylock is betrayed by his own daughter who stole from her father and became a Christian.
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Therefore Shylock is greedy and will refuse to lose a fight when he is involved in one. “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. I do wonder,
Thou naughty gaoler, that thou art so fond to come abroad with him at his request.
(3, 3, 4-10)
Lastly Shylock is shown as a victim when his daughter Jessica lies and betrays her father, when she waits for her father to leave for dinner with some Christians. She has a message delivered to her by one of her father’s workers. Lancelot tells her to look out the window because her Christian lover will be there waiting to rescue her. So Jessica dresses as a male torchbearer, steals all of Shylocks jewels and money, including Shylocks former wife Leah’s wedding ring and runs away from her father to elope with Lorenzo and become a Christian. Later on when Shylock finds out he is very upset and feels betrayed because Jessica was his only daughter and she stole Leah’s ring and has traded it for a pet monkey. He goes on to say he would not have given it up for a wilderness of monkeys. That shows Shylock’s sweet sensitive side and shows he is not only victim to being harassed and spit on, but also a
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