Merchant of Venice Essay

4117 Words Sep 18th, 2014 17 Pages
An Analysis of Shylock's Speech in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice


Hamada Shehdeh Abid Dawood Discourse Analysis

English Department Faculty of Arts Hebron University


This paper aims at examining, analyzing and revealing Shylock's utterances in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, by relating his words to the power, ideology, value, and etc. in the play. What is found in this study is that Shylock, the Jew merchant, lacks power and ideology, but when he seeks to find these elements, he loses all of them. In addition, Shylock's language varies from both situations. When he is the weaker, he is the source where Christians used to evacuate their insults.

William Shakespeare
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Some critics believe that Shakespeare is an anti-Semitic writer for the way Shylock is treated; others point out that it’s merely a


play describing the way of life during Shakespeare's era where there is no aggression against the Jews. For the character of Shylock, Shakespeare drew from a long tradition of folktales that relate the story of a creditor who tries and fails to extract a pound of human flesh as payment of a debt. Like the hero-villain Barabas in English dramatist Christopher Marlowe's Jew of Malta (1589?), Shylock is a Jew. He is portrayed in striking contrast with the other characters, who are Christians. Shylock is frugal and preoccupied with making and keeping money; he hoards it and treasures it above his personal relationships. He views the Christians’ attitude toward money as frivolous and irresponsible. In contrast to Shylock, Bassanio, a Christian, uses money for love and beauty instead of for the accumulation of wealth. The chest he chooses in answer to Portia’s riddle is not the one made of silver nor the one of gold, but the one made of lead. His rejection of the gold and silver containers in favor of a lead one, within whose dull exterior lie the riches of Portia's portrait, symbolizes the fact that, for him, "all that glisters (glistens) is not gold (Encarta Encyclopedia, 2002).

Characterization and Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA)
To characterize is to describe the nature of sb/sth or to show a person's

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