Merchant of Venice Shylock Analysis Essay

Words: 1040
Pages: 5

Robert F. Kennedy stated, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” In Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, Shylock is the core of all ripples. He lashed out against the prejudice that was thrust upon him and is considered evil for doing so. The Merchant of Venice brought together different characters of different religions. Shakespeare used characters in this play to reflect sixteenth century views on Christianity and Judaism. The character Shylock wass …show more content…
He was very confident and didn’t seem threatened at all by Shylock. Therefore, Shylock cannot really be considered a genuinely bad person as Antonio has indicated if he's not even threatening. Shylock became the victim at the court of the Duke of Venice. The Duke immediately feels sorry for Antonio, even though he is wrong. Shylock was treated unfairly because of his religion, rather than solely because of his own character. Shylock was immediately asked to drop the charges that he made when the Duke says, “Forgive a moi’ty of the principal” (Act4 scene 1 line 27). Sympathy was automatically shown to Antonio because he is Christian. As soon as Portia arrives, things worsened for Shylock. In order to remind the audience of his religion Portia doesn't refer to him by name but 'Jew' as if that was his title. She uses the phrases “The Jew shall have all justice” (Act4 scene 1 line 335) and, “Tarry Jew” (Act 4 scene 1 line 116). These show pure disrespect for Shylock and his beliefs. It must be taken into account also that Shylock has no one to side with him. He was completely alone and received no help from any character in the play. This could suggest that he is the true victim rather than the villain and also that he staying true to his religion, not converting to Christianity because that will make his life easier. The treatment of Shylock draws different reactions from people of varying time periods. A Shakespearian contemporary audience