Is Shylock a villain or victim who deservers our sympathy?.
It is unknown how William Shakespeare wanted this character to be portrayed. The age old controversy between the Christian and the Jew is emphasised with the two characters Antonio and Shylock In the time and age that this play was written, the Jewish community was not favoured by the people of Europe, and Christians were often forbidden to associate with them. The Jews were often considered to be inhuman because of their rejection of Jesus, even though Jesus was a Jew himself. .
During the court scene it provides a perfect setting for the viewer to decide how they really feel towards Shylock, and if he deserves the punishment that he go. Through out the play, Shylock is portrayed as being a very stubborn Jew who is obsessed with money, revenge fro his people and he shows no affection towards his daughter. His daughter stole his money and when he found out, he was horrified by his daughter's radical behavior and this is shown in Act 3 scene 1 line 79-93. He is even more disgusted when his only daughter ran-off with a Christian. .
Act 3 scene1 Line 79-93.
Shylock "I would my daughter were dead at my foot, and the jewels in her ear; would she were hearsed at my foot, and the ducats in her coffin.".
In the time that the play was written, Shylock's behavior my have been respectable because of the views and ways of that time. The old saying of "Respecting elders", "Fathers know best", and also the sexist view that women know nothing, and that they need to be protected or kept indoors. However, in today's society it is considered to be very poor parenting to treat a child the way that Shylock treats his daughter, Jessica. There are now laws that prevent such problems from developing to the situation that is portrayed in this play. For his un-fatherly acts towards his daughter, Shylock is seen as a villain. .
The bond that is made between Shylock and Antonio is relatively extreme considering the circumstances.