The Character Of Shylock In The Merchant Of Venice

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Before I read Act 3, Shylock has always been portrayed as a villainous figure who is vengeful and evil, the antagonist of the play, someone for us to dislike and hate. Shylock also seemed like a pretty flat character. However, after reading this scene from Act 3, I realise that that is not necessarily the case. I feel that Shylock is also a victim who has suffered from much disgrace and prejudice from the Christians in silence, and his villainous actions are really just an accumulation of all the mistreatment and ostracization he has received from the Christians over something he has no control over – his race. He has been unjustly victimized and for that I feel empathetic towards him.

From a flat character, I feel that Shylock has deepened
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Shylock usually has a calm facade, however, in this scene, this calm façade of his cracks and in his monologue, Shylock reveals that Antonio, a Christian, had “laughed at [his] losses, mocked at [his] gains, scorned [his] nation, thwarted [his] bargains, cooled [his] friends, heated [his] enemies”, and this was all because he was a Jew, which was something he could not control. This outburst of Shylock’s shows his barely suppressed fury hidden beneath his cool outward behavior. This expresses a clear theme of Appearance vs Reality. This outburst of all his mistreatments by the Christians makes me sympathize with Shylock, as any human who gets treated like that would definitely feel angry and …show more content…
He loved Jessica. I feel that he said all those cruel words because of all the hurt he has been going through. He has been antagonized in Venice by the Christians because of his religion, which was something he could not control. He has been shunned by society for such a long time, and especially since he is of an old age, this has inevitably left him tired and lonely. Not only that, Jessica betrayed the Jews and chose to elope with a Christian instead of staying with him, her own flesh and blood. She also took with her all his money and even her mother, Leah’s, jewelry which held sentimental value to Shylock. All of this left Shylock devastated and in despair, hence his harsh words.

There is also evidence that Shylock is not heartless. When Tubal informs his of the news that his daughter had sold Leah’s ring away, there is a hint of sadness and longing in his voice for his deceased wife. This reveals more of his human compassion and love for those he

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