William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Essays

1883 Words 8 Pages
CRAM Exclusive
Essay Sample
William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice William Shakespeare, having spent most of his youth in England, was influenced by England’s beliefs. England was going through a Christian reformation that had caused friction between Christians and Jews. Jews and Christians did not see eye to eye on almost everything and especially on usury, the practice of lending money with interest. Boyce, a Shakespearean critique, sums up the negative attitude that Christians had

middle of document…

Shylock’s slave Lancelot does not like his master either. The play
quotes him saying, “Certainly my conscience will serve me to run from
this Jew, my master. My master’s a very Jew: give him a present! Give
him a halter: I am famished in his service: you may tell every finger
I have, with my ribs (Shakespeare 65).”

Lancelot is justifying why he should leave his Jewish master. He
explains that his master does not deserve a present but a noose. He
condemns his master about being abusive by starving him. This paints a
vivid picture of how even the people close to Shylock do not like him.

Shakespeare goes on giving the audience more of a reason to hate this
Jewish man. Knowing that the majority of the audience were Christians,
Shakespeare has Shylock offending Christians by saying, “[…] gaze on
CHRISTIAN FOOLS with varnished face […]” (Merchant 80) (emphasis
added). William Hazlitt agrees by writing, “Shylock is a good hater;
‘a man no less sinned against than sinning.’ […] with the proud spirit
hid beneath his “Jewish gaberdine” by one lawful act of ‘lawful’
revenge […]” (Hazlitt 195) (sic). Bender describes Shylock, as “The
Jew is wicked, unhappy, usurious, greedy, vengeful. The Christians are
happy, generous, forgiving. This, it might be said, is the plain
meaning of the play” (Swisher 47).


Many agree with Bender that the play was supposed
CRAM Exclusive
Maple80077Sword

Related Documents

  • Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Essay

    grotesque belief of that time that Jews actually ate human flesh. I would now just like to give you a quote from a book that I have regarding, “The Merchant of Venice” which is, “although fear and, to some extent, sympathy are important considerations in any response to Shylock’s character, it is essential to Shakespeare’s purpose that a comic perspective be maintained. Because Shylock more often strikes us as a figure of fun, our misgivings are not allowed to affect the

    Words: 991 - Pages: 4
  • Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Essay

    The fact that he is a Jew means he is subjected to prejudice from the Christians that live in Venice giving him a very low status in society. It is very clear that the most important aspect of Shylock's life (apart from his wealth) is his religion. Throughout the book we see how proud Shylock is to be a Jew and is humiliated and ashamed by his daughter when she denounces her Jewish faith, 'she is dammed for it, my own flesh and blood to rebel'. We also know that Judaism

    Words: 1228 - Pages: 5
  • Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice Essay

    Next, he was bent on seeking revenge. Even when faced with money and the great merchants of Venice, he refused to budge. "Twenty merchants,/ The Duke himself, and the magnificoes/ Of greatest port have all persuaded with him,/ But none can drive him from the envious plea/ Of forfeiture, of justice, and his bond." (Solanio/3.2.280) "If every ducat in six thousand ducats/ Were in six parts, and every part a ducat,/ I would not draw them. I would have my bond." (Shylock/1

    Words: 1480 - Pages: 6
  • The Treatment of Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice

    disliked each other. I will be analysing the bond and will be studying the treatment of Shylock and if the treatment is justified, in this assignment. In the play "the merchant of Venice" the main two characters I am going to mention in my assignment are shylock and Antonio. Antonio is a rich merchant and has ships out at sea doing imports and export and he has all his money on the ships. Antonio is also a Christian. As for shylock who is a Jew, and who is a well-known

    Words: 2157 - Pages: 9
  • Essay about The Power of Words in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice

    By creating a world in which words alone can have such symbolically tragic impact, The Merchant of Venice refuses a pretense of realism and welcomes, instead, the supermundane possibilities that literature allows. The written word extends an inordinate influence over the events of the play and the actions—or inaction—of its characters. In his will, Portia’s father entrusts Portia’s conjugal happiness to the fortuitous outcome of a game, so that she herself “cannot choose one, nor refuse none” (I

    Words: 4092 - Pages: 17
  • William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Essay

    However, it is this devotion which leads him to accept the ill-considered death bond with Shylock later on in the play. He was confident that some of his investments would bear fruit before the appointed day for repayment of the loan though. No doubt his love for Bassanio and a desire to help him clouded his judgement in this matter. While some critics have argued that it is unnatural that Antonio has an unhealthy obsession for Bassanio, I truly admire the way he treats

    Words: 1180 - Pages: 5
  • The Merchant of Venice Essay

    However this shows us that The Merchant of Venice is about love. The play The Merchant of Venice is a play also about hate; this hatred is mostly evident through the characters Shylock and Antonio. After Antonio’s ships have been lost, he has no money to return to his owner Shylock. This brings him to the consequences that he personally agreed on. However after the big crisis of money that Shylock faced about his daughter’s theft, he wanted revenge. He refused to show mercy to his fellow enemy

    Words: 932 - Pages: 4
  • Compare and Contrast - Stereotypes in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice and Othello

    from "The Merchant Venice" by Shakespeare, “spit upon [his] Jewish gabardine” (I.iii.107–108). Although Antonio is the most guilt of throwing out the racist insults, there is always the background cacophony of these ideas being bandied about amongst the several minor characters. For example, when Shylock believes he is losing his daughter, the “throwaway” characters, Salerio and Solanio attempt to express Shylock’s feelings by exclaiming in one of the important quotes from "The Merchant of Venice"

    Words: 2058 - Pages: 9
  • Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Essay

    Antonio is therefore treated by Shylock with a sense of envy and Shylock's secret desire to have Antonio's money and influence. These facts separate him from the Christian cast, throughout both the play and his life. This I believe is one of Antonio's greatest punishments of Shylock, though rewarding him with thoughts of revenge, Antonio is sure of his boat's safe return. This first scene involving both Shylock and Antonio, two completely different characters can be seen

    Words: 1449 - Pages: 6
  • Shylock in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Essay

    "You call me misbeliever, cut throat dog. And spat upon my Jewish gabardine". Antonio rarely calls Shylock by his name, usually referring to him as "Jew" and "misbeliever". The effect this had on Shylock was it made him a lot more aggressive and bitter. It also made him hate all the Christians that he knew. Shylock seems to value his money and hatred of Christians more than the loss of Jessica, "I hate him for he is a Christian". This shows us that because of a few Christians

    Words: 1563 - Pages: 7