William Shakespeare 's The Merchant Of Venice Essay

782 Words Feb 1st, 2016 4 Pages
Shylock is a man who is despised by many, and he certainly has moments of extreme irrationality and inflexible insistence that make him a rather unappealing and even deplorable character. In “The Merchant of Venice,” Shakespeare not only paints Shylock as what some might say is the typical Jew, but also as a man who yearns to be respected and treated just the same as the “good” Christians of Italy. Shakespeare displays Shylock’s multifaceted persona that is a combination of anger, power, and heartache and also, details the flaws within the Christian society.

Set during the Sixteenth Century, the Jewish race were banished from England and made their way to the greater part of Italy. They were not however, allowed to practice their Jewish faith and many converted to Christianity for their safety. Shakespeare’s main objective isn’t to display Shylock as the stereotypical money grubbing usurer, but to show how Christians treated him poorly in Venetian society. He is only made out to be the villain because he is Jewish and living in a society where he is not respected nor wanted. Therefore, the only way Shylock can have the upper hand in this anti-Semitic world is to invoke harsh consequences to a borrower like Antonio in the event the loan cannot be repaid: “In a merry sport, if you repay me not on such a day, in such a place… let the forfeit be nominated for an equal pound of your fair flesh to be cut off.” (1.3.143-151). An extreme repayment if Antonio defaults the loan and…

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