Dehumanization In The Merchant Of Venice Analysis

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In an incident involving dehumanization and hatred, in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, a Christian merchant, Antonio, consistently animalizes the Jewish merchant, Shylock for his religion and business in usury. From the daily condescension, Shylock results to exact vengeance on Antonio to attain peace for Antonio’s abuse towards him. And the Jew becomes Antonio’s foil. In dehumanization, one treats another individual less than human. Usually, people dehumanize others through bullying and lowering the individuals for whom the people are while exalting themselves to a higher position. However, these actions affect individuals’ entire lives, leading them into abhorring anyone. Quickly, these individuals isolate themselves from others, becoming …show more content…
For example, Shylock vocalizes, “If I can catch him once upon the hip, I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him” (I.iii. 40-41). A merchant competing for business against Antonio, Shylock strives to succeed over Antonio. And since Antonio ridicules Shylock for usury, Shylock bounds to take revenge on him to dignify his business freely in Venice. In one case, the Jewish merchant proliferates his chance of revenge through dictating, “If you repay me not on such a day… let the forfeit be nominated for an equal pound of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken in what part of your body pleaseth me” (I.iii.142 and 144-147). Assisting his friend, Bassanio, Antonio comes to Shylock to provide the funds for Bassanio to reach Belmont to meet his beloved Portia. Shylock declines the proposal out of his long grudge against Antonio but insists on a bond that assures a pound of Antonio’s flesh if the merchant does not repay the money back. Through the bond, Shylock exacts his revenge on having the advantage over Antonio because the Christian becomes subject under the Jew’s contract. Therefore, the tensioned background between Shylock and Antonio reveals an unhealable …show more content…
A case in point is when, Shylock explains his need for revenge: “If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villany you teach me I will execute–and it shall go hard bit I will better the instruction” (III.i.57-61). In Shylock’s background, Antonio not only ridicules Shylock for his usury, but also for his religion. Apparent in the Elizabethan era, Jews were considered less than human for their lust for money, practice in usury and the Jewish practice. And since in the Elizabethan era, Christians would dehumanize Shylock, his only solution would be to return the favor to create peace within himself because suffering dominates his memories. Remembering Antonio’s ignominy, the Jew assures, “Thou calledst me dog, beware my fangs. The duke shall grant me justice” (III.iii.7-8). Constantly tormented, Shylock assures that justice will prevail for Antonio breaking the bond. A primary reason stems from Antonio’s torments. The Jew holds onto his pain and suffering, only striving for his revenge through his trial against the Christian. For consist torments from Antonio pushes Shylock to ultimate, blinding revenge, which becomes his mortal flaw. Furthermore, by holding onto the past, the tormented character emphasizes a wound that never

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