The Merchant of Venice - Shylock

Paper Rating: Word Count: 805 Approx Pages: 3

Is Shylock, in your opinion: a comic villain, a ˜stage' Jew

OR a villain who just happens to be Jewish

OR an ill-treated and persecuted victim?

After reading this play I think of Shylock as both a victim and a villain. He is ill-treated which makes me think of him as a victim but he is also revengeful and cruel.

Shylock's hatred of the Christians comes from their hatred of him because he is Jewish and the fact that they lend out money with no interest. When I first read Shylock's character talk I thought of him as just another money lender but then he went on to talk about how he was mocked and insulted, this made me feel sorry for him. Many characters despise him because of his religion and his character; Gratiano is one of them. During the court scene Gratiano says

"A halter gratis - nothing else, for God's sake  (Act 4 sc 1)

This means that instead of showing mercy towards Shylock, Gratiano wanted to give Shylock a rope to hang himself with, free of interest. This quote proves that Gratiano hates Shylock because he wants him dead.

Although there is no solid proof that Shylock was ill-treated, we know that he was because Shylock told us and Antonio didn't deny it. In Act 1 sc 3 Shylock says to Antonio

"You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog,

And you spit upon my Jewish gabardine. 

"Fair sir, you spat on me on Wednesday last,

You spurn'd me such a day, another time

You call'd me dog: and for these courtesies

I'll lend you thus much monies. 

Both of these quotes show how Shylock was ill-treated and all because he was Jewish. Shylock ... Continue Reading