Character Analysis Of Shylock In The Merchant Of Venice

1680 Words 7 Pages
Imagine a world where everything was blue, except one person was green. This person was often mistreated by all the blue due to it’s different color. This is how Shylock felt in The Merchant of Venice. During the piece, Shylock was often mistreated due to his Jewish religion. He was the outsider that was different in his society. Because of this, many christians pushed him around. Thus, in The Merchant of Venice, a work of William Shakespeare, one will discover why Shylock is a victim. This is shown through the history of Jews mistreatment, Shakespeare’s portrayal of Shylock, and modern interpretations of the text. Throughout history, Jewish people were often misinterpreted. In a nonfiction article, the author talks about Jewish people during …show more content…
This is greatly promoted in the non-fiction packets. The writer expresses that Shakespeare intentionally left Shylock with nothing, “In the end, Shylock’s greed leads to his ruin. He is left without a livelihood, and in many ways, without a life” (“Shylock: A Character Analysis” 1). Shylock lost his identity, being forced to convert into Christianity. He also lost his money and his daughter. All of this shows Shylock as a victim. He is left powerless and suffered the most out of all the characters. Shakespeare clearly depicted Shylock this way by leaving him with essentially nothing. Additionally, in “Shakespeare’s England”, examples of how Shakespeare portrayed Shylock as a victim are shown. The writer emphasizes the Christians maltreatment toward Shylock, “Throughout the play, Shylock is despised and insulted by the other characters. Shylock is spat upon by Antonio, reviled even by his servants, abandoned by his daughter, Jessica, and ultimately undone by Portia” (“Shakespeare’s England” 2). People mentally abused him throughout the play. He was literally spat on by Christians who did not like Jewish people. This shows how Shakespeare intentionally depicted Shylock as a victim. He had Christians treat Shylock harshly to emphasize his victimization. If this wasn’t enough, Shakespeare insured this idea by having his own blood betray him. His daughter ran away and stole his …show more content…
Trevor Nunn, an experienced, multi-award winning director, expressed his thoughts on the play. In an interview, he stated, “The Christian behavior in that production was presented as shockingly cruel” (“An Interview With Trevor Nunn”). He explicitly states that the Christians in the play displayed poor behavior. His interpretation supports the idea that Shylock was treated unfairly by Christians with “cruel” behavior. Thus showing that current interpretations stay true to the concept of Shylock being a victim. In addition, the 2004 film adaptation directed by Michael Radford showed the belief that Shylock is a victim. In the play it would be act 4 (the courtroom scene). Physical elements were added to the scene such as people spitting on Shylock. They also laugh at him and bicker as he talks. Not only do they completely disrespect him, but they go out of their way to treat him like an animal. Physically being spat on is being bullied, thus showing his victimization. The director did a great job of portraying Shylock by having his mistreatment shown. Another scene is of Shylock outside in the cold with nothing left looking vulnerable as doors are shut on him. This is the last you see of Shylock, which leaves the audience with a distraught image of him. Radford adds to this creation of sympathy towards Shylock by ending the film with Jessica, Shylocks daughter, who reveals that she kept her father

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