Shakespeare has written many plays. Merchant of Venice is a play he has written. It was set in the Elizabethan era. It is a comedy because there are many plots and themes. Shylock is one of the main characters in this play. In this essay I will discuss and contrast both sides whether he is really a victim or a villain. Shylock is a Jew and is proud of his beliefs and his religion. In these times Jews were forced to wear skull caps which were a distinctive colour. They were made to wear these to show everyone that they where Jews and so people would often discriminate against them for this. The whole play is based around discrimination against Jews which was known as anti-Semitism. Along with the skull caps they were also forced to live in ghettos, it shows how much they wanted Jews to be noticed and too stand out but in a bad way, as then people may treat or act towards them in whichever way they wish, which was usual a bad way. This sets the play off to be filled with hatred and
When Shylock is introduced he is with Bassanio discussing how many ducats shylock is going to lend them. “Three thousand ducats; well”, Usury in these days where seen as wrong and this was one of the reasons why Jews where disliked. The fact that he is straight away put in this scenario convinces the reader that he is already portrayed as a villain.