A Victim Behind the Villain’s Eyes
In a book or play, it is usually very easy to distinguish who the victim is and who the villain is. The villain usually causes all the problems in the story line and the victim is the one who suffers in result of the villain’s actions. In the play The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare, we examine the life of Shylock as a victim. It is seen through three main events in the play. Shylock is ridiculed by his community and his family, he is betrayed by his daughter and the community he lives in, and he is forced to lose all his wealth.
The first event that demonstrates that Shylock is a victim would be that he is ridiculed by his community and his family. Antonio and Shylock were never friends. They always fought because Antonio was a Christian and Shylock was a Jew. They also have different money lending practices which cause a lot of discrepancies. Antonio always mocked Shylock. He calls him a misbeliever and a cutthroat dog. Shylock tells us that Antonio “…call me misbeliever, cutthroat dog,/ and spet upon my Jewish gabardine,” (1.3.108-109). Here Shylock demonstrates that Antonio on a day to day basis mocked Shylock. Later on, Antonio mentions that he will call Shylock that again if he wants to. Another example would be Antonio’s friends. They teas Shylock for his faith and his misfortunes. When Jessica runs away with Shylock’s money and jewelry, he asked the Duke to go help him search Bassanio’s ship for them. Solanio heard
The merchant of Venice is a drama and romantic play, by William Shakespeare. Regarding the test for the suitors and the final part of the book, the author is inspired by a fourteenth-century Italian novel of Giovanni Fiorentino, called “Il Giannetto”, (Bullough, 1957). The merchant of Venice is believed to have been written between 1596 and 1598. It is contained on the First Folio, in the contents of Comedies, sharing certain aspects with others plays. That one traditionally ends with the positive return to order expected from the genre, it also has some characteristics of a tragedy, in particular with regard to the punishment and the oppression that are suffered to Shylock Jew. The peculiarity is the title of this book, “The Merchant of Venice”, in fact, it refers to the character Antonio, and not Shylock, a moneylender, which has a pivotal role in this play. One possible reason is that by calling “The Merchant of Venice”, Shakespeare wanted to focus the attention of the readers, on the
In ‘The Merchant of Venice’ Shylock is very strong minded and is singled out of the play because he is a mean Jew that charges interest. Shylock is very stubborn and determined to keep to his bond; a pound of flesh of Antonio.
Shakespeare engages a modern audience through the character Shylock. Shylock in The Merchant of Venice is the antagonist of the play and is subject to sequences of misfortune, much to the delight of the Elizabethan audience. However, in a modern context we show slight feelings of sympathy towards him as a result of today’s ideologies. Upon meeting Shylock we see that his religious standing puts him in an isolated position against the Venetian society. A line is recited
One of the strengths of good theater is its ability to mirror the problems and conditions shaping its time. In The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare reflects two important aspects of Elizabethan society: the corrupting influence of prosperity and the increasingly vengeful nature of Venetian justice. To address the former issue, Shakespeare downplays the importance of wealth by associating its involvement in romance with superficial and insubstantial advantages. He characterizes prosperity as a deceiving agent, citing its ability to introduce shallowness into a relationship. Shakespeare reasons that genuine romance depends on sacrifice and emotion, not wealth. The problem with justice is equally striking. In the play, justice is
Shylock is a character famously known as being the antagonist of Shakespeare’s play merchant of Venice. In this play, Shakespeare portrayal of Shylock the moneylender is one of anti-Semitic stereotype. Shylock is depicted as a typical bloodthirsty Jew who lives a life void of any depth or meaning. His sole purpose for living seems to be to amass wealth and vengeance as seen from his adamant claim for his “pound of flesh”. Despite Shakespeare’s attempts to humanize Shylock at points in the story, it appears that his primary focus is to steer the audience against Shylock, painting him as being a cruel, bitter and inaffable figure. It is clear that in both Shakespeare’s merchant of Venice and Grace Tiffany’s Turquoise Ring, Shylock exposes
There is no denying that Shakespeare is a definitive playwright. He has presented us with classic works that have set the precedent for drama and the theatre. Among Shakespeare’s more notable plays are his tragedies. In the tragedy his protagonists are often given flaws in their character and hence, are suitably named tragic heroes. The downfall of these protagonists is often a result of their own character flaws and unfortunately, they suffer a doomed and unhappy ending. While the tragic hero is flawed they must also be honorable and worthy of the audience’s understanding and sympathy. On a quest for righteousness the tragic hero often goes through immense suffering which is why the audience can feel bad for him. For the most
Shylock is punished by the Venetian court for seeking to end Antonio’s life. He is charged under a Venetian law (of Shakespeare’s creation) and he is forced to give up his wealth and to beg the Duke to spare him his life. Viewed like this it seems simple enough; Shylock broke a Venetian law and, as a consequence, is punished. However, Shylock’s case is far from simple. Antonio’s demand that Shylock should renounce his Judaism and become a Christian and his insistence that Shylock should will his money to the Christian
Throughout the play Shylock is presented in different ways: a victim who lives in a prejudice and intolerant society, a villain who deserves scorn and rejection and a tragic figure who has admiral traits worthy of respect but destroys himself by giving in to his flaws and weaknesses. This
In every confrontation with Shylock, the other characters attack him with insults that make him appear even viler than his cruel demeanor portrays. There is a common trend throughout the play of demonizing Shylock. In Act 1, scene 2, Antonio counters a legitimate argument that Shylock makes to support his usurping by stating that "the devil can cite scripture for his purpose!" (1, 3, 107) In Act 2, scene 2, Lancelet Gobbo identifies Shylock as "a kind of devil", "the devil himself", and "the very devil incarnation." (2, 2, 24-28) Solanio identifies Shylock as "the devil . . . in the likeness of a Jew" (3, 1, 20-22) and Bassanio identifies Shylock the same way, as "cruel devil." (4, 1, 225) This repeated characterization is certainly driven hard into the minds of the audience
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare portrays Shylock as a victim throughout the play, but as he seeks revenge towards the Christians and everyone who has done him wrong, Shylock defends himself with some villainous behaviour. To a modern audience, the discrimination and suffering Shylock experiences, place him as a victim. Throughout the play, Shylock, a Jewish money lender, is perceived as a greedy and miserly man due to his Jewish culture. In Shakespeare's time, exploitation of Jews was common; particularly in Venice as it was an anti-Semitic city. However, Jews thought of themselves as victims of harassment and oppression. Shylock has been discriminated against, but nevertheless seeks revenge on people who have done him wrong which displays another side to Shylock. Therefore, Shylock is viewed as a victim and a villain, but more of a victim because of the abuse he has suffered.
William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is a perplexing story of dark humor, race, religion, identity, love, and justice. Generally, most people understand The Merchant of Venice as a comedy about a bitter and outcasted Jewish moneylender named Shylock who seeks revenge against a Christian merchant who has failed to pay his loan back. However, there are many different perspectives on whether The Merchant of Venice is a comedy or a tragedy depending on one’s views on the difference between race and religion. If one views the story as a comedy, it is a dark comedy full of many problems, especially the controversial subject matter of anti-Semitic attitudes of its Christian characters. If one views it as a tragedy, it is a tragedy that concludes with majority of its characters in a “happy ending”—that is if one agrees that Jessica’s decision of love over betraying her father and giving up her Jewish identity is indeed a happy ending.
In the play the ‘Merchant of Venice’ by William Shakespeare the antagonist Shylock is both the victim and the villain. Shylock is a Jewish moneylender and is initially portrayed as anger filled and bloodthirsty but as the play continues we begin to see him as more human and his emotions become more evident. As the antagonist, Shylock is a fearful adversary to Antonio, the protagonist. But as good begins to win over evil, Shylock is crushed and we see evidence of his mortality in his grief. Shylock changes significantly though out the course of the play and he is formed into a too complex character to be labeled just victim or villain.
The Merchant Of Venice is structured partly on the contrast between idealistic and realistic opinions about society and relationships. The play tells us mercy is preferable to revenge. Shylock chose revenge over mercy against Antonio and how his choices affected him. The Court of Venice begging mercy of Shylock. Finally, Portia forgiving Bassanio for giving away his wedding band.
Hamlet is one of Shakespeare’s most well-known tragedies. At first glance, it holds all of the common occurrences in a revenge tragedy which include plotting, ghosts, and madness, but its complexity as a story far transcends its functionality as a revenge tragedy. Revenge tragedies are often closely tied to the real or feigned madness in the play. Hamlet is such a complex revenge tragedy because there truly is a question about the sanity of the main character Prince Hamlet. Interestingly enough, this deepens the psychology of his character and affects the way that the revenge tragedy takes place. An evaluation of Hamlet’s actions and words over the course of the play can be determined to see that his ‘outsider’ outlook on society,