An analysis of the character of shylock as a villain in the play the merchant of venice by william s

How is shylock portrayed as a villain

Shylock is no better. Here, Shylock acts as a negative stereotype Jew, but he is only acting in manner due to forced circumstances. In contrast, many have seen the creation of Shylock as an attack on this kind of intolerance. He wants his pound of flesh. The fact that he is a Jew is, in a sense, accidental. When the Roman Empire deteriorated, many of the Jews returned to Palestine, and were ruled by the Turks, then the British, eventually got their own state in A Jew, he reasons, is equipped with the same faculties as a Christian, and is therefore subject to feeling the same pains, comforts and emotions. It portrays each characters attitude, opinions and actions and shows how they affect the other characters. Therefore, it should be no surprise that three spirited young women are present in The Merchant of Venice. My personal belief is that Shakespeare was not racist but merely wanted to portray the attitudes of society in those times. However, it is difficult to view Shylock as anything other than a devious, bloodthirsty and heartless villain in the majority of the play. His views of himself and others are rational, articulate, and consistent. No, there is never any thinking of him as other than a Jew: the Venetians playboys who spit on him one minute and ask for money from him the next will not allow the Jew in him to be forgotten and, whether as a consequence or by preference, he will not allow the Jew in him to be forgotten either. Much before the twentieth century, anti-Semitism was rife and The Merchant of Venice is a curious tale, as we are able to see how Jews were viewed in the late s - especially as Shakespeare's depiction was at odds with the accepted anti-Jewish prejudiced views in that he considers both sides of the argument

Where things ended for him, they end forever. To play him as a consummate comedic provocateur, then, as I saw him played by a young and juiced-up actor in Venice, is not at all to rescue him from obloquy.

Perhaps most actors, weighed down by their Jewish gabardine and the supposed mannerisms of a Jew made old by the antiquity of his faith, find it hard to put the requisite verve into this.

The victim is forced to overcome obstacles and is often hurt physically and emotionally while the villain is the one who wreaks havoc and tries to stop the victim from achieving their goal.

is shylock a villain or a tragic figure

Shylock is a Jewish moneylender and is initially portrayed as anger filled and bloodthirsty but as the play continues we begin to see him as more human and his emotions become more evident. Much before the twentieth century, anti-Semitism was rife and The Merchant of Venice is a curious tale, as we are able to see how Jews were viewed in the late s - especially as Shakespeare's depiction was at odds with the accepted anti-Jewish prejudiced views in that he considers both sides of the argument Exactly how to read Shylock has been a matter of some debate, and even the most persuasive scholars would be hard-pressed to call him a flattering portrait of a Jew.

is shylock a villain or victim or combination of both

But the character of Shylock has also been the subject of much critical debate: How are we meant to evaluate the attitude of the Venetians in the play toward him?

This shows the audience that Shylock places money in a very high position in his life. This was because they were a minority group, as they had been previously banned from the country by Edward I unless they were willing to become a Christian.

And I allow him to say it. He has sunk to the level of his fellow Christian Venetians.

Shylock character sketch pdf

But Shakespeare, they forget, was a dramatist. On stage, it is Shylock who makes the play, and almost all of the great actors of the English and Continental stage have attempted the role. This was because they were a minority group, as they had been previously banned from the country by Edward I unless they were willing to become a Christian. Instead, he suggests, seemingly in jest, that Antonio forfeit a pound of his own flesh should the loan not be repaid in due time. It appears that Shylock has no natural affection for his own offspring. The resentment becomes open when Antonio asks Shylock to lend him money, and Shylock asks for his flesh in case he does not return the loan in time. It portrays each characters attitude, opinions and actions and shows how they affect the other characters. Shylock, on the other hand, is an outcast even before the play begins, vilified and spat upon by the Christian characters. Shylock is powerfully drawn, perhaps too powerfully for this comedy, but his superb dignity is admirable, despite the fact that we must finally condemn him. As you can imagine, Shylock is completely mortified at the end of the play when he is forced to stop practising Judaism.
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The Merchant of Venice: Is Shylock a Villain or a Victim?