The Role Of Shylock In The Merchant Of Venice

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In 1596, the play The Merchant of Venice was published and displayed in theatres to the city of London. The play, which was written by the famous Playwright by the name of Shakespeare, was very popular for both its humor and its dramatic scenes and speeches. The play tells the story of a man named Antonio, who works as a merchant and lives in the city of Venice, Italy. One day, his good friend Bassanio, a poor yet very friendly man, comes to Antonio in need of money, which he needs to borrow in the form of a loan. Bassanio has fallen in love with a women named Portia, a wealthy heiress who lives in the town of Belmont, Italy. She has not yet been married, but only a wealthy man can be allowed to propose to her, which is why Bassanio needs this …show more content…
There are other characters in this play that portray some questionable qualities, but they all have one thing in common: they are not Jewish. Him being a Jew does not directly mean that he is villain, but the context and time period that this play is written is what proves it. During Shakespeare’s lifetime, the Jewish had been mostly banned from Europe in large parts of the continent, and were given different rights and respect from their peers. Even Shakespeare, who wrote all of Shylock’s lines, had never met a single Jew before this play, but based this character on what he had been taught. Thus, Europe had become very anti-semitic and harsh stereotypes had been created towards the Jewish population. This is proven in the play numerous times, as mentioned in the previous paragraph regarding his stubborn and snobby attitude towards others. Jews were also the only people allowed to lend money to others, thus sparking stereotypes about Jews and money, and Shakespeare making Shylock appear very protective about his money, even to the point of violence. On top of that, at the end of the court case, when the Judge allows Shylock to live, he gives his reasoning by saying that Christians are sympathetic and respect human life, which is contrary to how Shylock and Jews feel. Most of all, Shakespeare had a very anti-semitic outlook due to the society he lived in, thus making him Shylock look very unlikable and not a very popular character, which could prove that he is the worst character and even the villain of the

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