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Shylock in The Merchant of Venice

            Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice consists of humorous, passionate, heart wrenching, and sometimes violent scenes. The central figure that corrupts the minds of readers is of course, Shylock. In being the antagonist, he appears as a money hungry, self absorbed, Jewish advocate who later on becomes a victim; left without so much as his own blood, and dignity. It is through the eyes of modern readers that Shylock gradually transforms from the highly despised villain, to the highly sympathized victim. .
             Historically, readers would have had a different outlook on Shakespeare's use of comedy with relation to Shylock, than modern readers will perceive after reading The Merchant of Venice. Shakespeare's audience would have felt more comedic and would've laughed at Shylock's misfortune, rather than modern readers who will sympathize it. Shakespeare's audience would have found humour in Shylock fuming over losing his jewels, daughter, and even his forced conversion to Christianity. This humour can be recognized from Shylock as he cries out in the play: "My daughter, oh my ducats, oh my daughter!" (Act II, scene 8). Fellow character Solanio also portrayed humour, as he referred to Shylock as "A Jewish dog" (Act II, scene 8). Additionally, Shylock also took on the role of the plays impulsive villain. .
             In the eyes of modern readers, in the beginning of the play, Shylock immediately was thought to be the villain. In act I scene 3, Shylock says to himself "I hate him for he is Christian," in referring to Antonio. This gives off the impression that Shylock is racist against Christians. He is shown as a man who consistently wants control, as shown throughout the use of the word "bond". This is a key word used consistently through the play especially by Shylock. The word "bond" is powerful language of the law and portrays Shylock as a dignified human being. Furthermore, whenever Shylock talks to either Bassanio or Antonio, he rarely uses gracious language.

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