Essay about William Shakespeare 's The Merchant Of Venice

795 Words Apr 12th, 2016 4 Pages
Throughout William Shakespeare’s play, The Merchant of Venice, there is a powerful theme of prejudice. Portia has to deal with prejudice against her sex, the Prince of Morocco has to deal with prejudice against his race but the character that is most discriminated against is Shylock. He is despised for being a Jew and a moneylender, but Shakespeare has not made Shylock a character easy to sympathize with. He appears to be mean and cruel and it seems as though he shows his fondness of money above all things. However during the play there are moments when Shakespeare gives Shylock dialogue in which show his humanity. In these moments, the audience is made to feel sorry for Shylock. One of the main things, which make him seem mean and cruel, is his greed and love of money. His first words are “Three thousand ducats; well”, perhaps a method of Shakespeare’s to show the audience immediately what is most important to Shylock.
In the Elizabethan period Jews were despised for two main reasons. The first was fear; myths and legends told tales of brutal murders carried out for the Jewish faith. The second was dislike of anybody who was different, and religion gave the Christians an ample reason to persecute these foreigners who lived among them. Although the modern world is not thoroughly free of prejudice it is certainly less narrow-minded than before. Now the racism and anti-Semitism shown in the play would not be considered acceptable.
Shylock is a banker and a hateful, murderous…

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