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Essay/Term paper: Shylock is the villian in shakespeare's merchant of venice

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Merchant of Venice

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Shylock is the Villian in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice

In Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice the antagonist of the play is
Shylock. Shylock is a wealthy Jewish moneylender. Shylock is probably the most
memorable character in the play because of Shakespeare's excellent
characterization of him. Shylock is the antagonist in the play because he
stands in the way of love, but this does not necessarily make him the villain of
the play. Shylock can be seen as both the villain of the play and as a man who
is very human.
The villain that we see in Shylock is the greedy moneylender. Shylock
charges high interest rates and when he is not repaid he insists on revenge. In
the play Shylock loans Antonio money, and out of jest he suggests that should
the loan not be repaid in time Shylock may cut off one pound of flesh from
Antonio's body. Soon after Shylock's daughter runs away from home with Lorenzo,
a Christian, and takes her father's ducats with her. When Antonio's ships do
not come in and he is not able to repay the loan Shylock is no longer interested
in getting his money back. Shylock want revenge for the loss of his daughter
through the fulfillment of the bond. In court Shylock is defeated because of
his selfishness.
Shakespeare also shows the human qualities of Shylock throughout the
play. Shakespeare brings out these human qualities by causing us to feel
sympathy for him. After the loss of his daughter Shylock ran through the
streets crying "My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter!" as children followed
him, mocking him. This causes us to feel sympathy for Shylock, even though we
may feel him to be a villain. Besides the loss of his daughter and his ducats,
after the trial Shylock also looses his property and his religion. The loss of
his property was certainly a blow to Shylock but it can hardly compare to his
loss of his religion. His forced conversion to Christianity brings out more
sympathy for him.
Shakespeare's manipulation of our feelings for Shylock show
Shakespeare's gift as a writer. He gave Shylock the ability to make us hate him
at times, and sympathize with him at others. This makes Shylock one of the most
vivid characters of the play.


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