Shylock - Villain vs Victim

Shylock - Villain vs Victim

  • Submitted By: Jabba124
  • Date Submitted: 01/30/2009 7:16 AM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 565
  • Page: 3
  • Views: 4

I agree to an extent. In the "Merchant of Venice", Shylock is portrayed as both a victim and a villain. Christians looked down on him, and he suffered humiliation and prejudice because of his job as a usurer and his race. However, he is also vengeful and cunning, and jumps as every chance to take revenge for himself.
Many factors need to be contemplated when determining if Shylock is to be considered a victim or a villain. It is difficult to class Shylock as simply a victim or villain as he is a complex character who can be interpreted in different ways.

Anti Semitism was normal in Shakespeare’s era; therefore a Shakespearian audience would have regarded Shylock as a villain. In this period usury was condemned by the Christian religion. this meant he was portrayed unsympathetically. This contrasts with contemporary values, as we would expect a more even handed approach

Shakespeare wanted to show Shylock as a villain, in act I scene iii we learn of his usury. It is in this scene, that Bassanio asks to borrow money in Antonio’s name. In the aside we learn of Shylocks intent regarding Antonio’s life “If I can catch him once upon the hip I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him. This is hidden under a façade of friendship; he calls the bond “a merry sport”. Antonio regards the ‘pound of flesh’ clause to be a show of friendship: ‘The Hebrew will turn Christian: he grows kind’. Antonio receives the terms of the bond because he is confident he will be able to repay the bond. Shylock feels justified in exacting revenge upon Antonio. He i

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Most of the people in the play are Christians.

In Act 4 scene 1 Shylock is represented as a villain, he demands his pound of flesh and renders no mercy.

In the trial scene Bassanio refers to Shylock as a “man”. He warns those who have treated him like a “dog” to “beware my fangs” . we are shown by this he is incapable of forgiveness

“The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard, but I...

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