Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice Essay, Is Shylock a Victim or Villain? Grade a

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Pages: 8

In The Merchant of Venice how does Shakespeare present both Shylock as both victim and villain? Throughout the play, ‘The Merchant of Venice’, Shylock reveals many personalities; therefore making him such an emotionally complex and detailed character that shows elements of being both a victim and villain; and to come to my decision to whether Shylock is either of the two, other characters language towards him and his reactions will perceive different ideas from different era’s in time to determine my answer. The first time Shylock is introduced into the play is in Act 1 Scene 3 where Antonio is to lend Bassanio 3,000 ducats to allow him to meet his love, Portia, in Belmont. However Antonio’s money is tied up at sea; which is why …show more content…
Nonetheless to realise that your daughter has run away and for her to be ashamed to be your child: “To be ashamed to be my father’s [Shylock’s] child”; must be a horrible feeling for Shylock. Also if your daughter has stolen half a million ducats; your late wife’s ring, and other precious sentimental items, I’m not overly surprised how he reacted. However for Jessica to say “Our house is hell”; is very strong and for her to say this, Shylock must have done wrong to her. In this side of the story; Shakespeare has made it majorly difficult to decide whether he’s acting a victim or villain here; reading it the first time I thought he was a villain, but after putting myself in Shylock’s position, he shows signs of being what truly a human would be like, how a human would react, and in the Elizabethan era, Jews weren’t necessarily seen as humans. In Elizabethan times when this play would have been shown; the bulk of the crowd were prejudice and would see Shylock as the villain as soon as they knew he was a Jew. In this period of time there were few Jews in Britain, they were considered rare. Anti-Semitism was shown normal throughout Elizabeth’s reign, as they saw Jews as non-believers and greedy. Shakespeare shows in the play Shylock being greedy, as when